Even though erectile dysfunction happens to an estimated 30 million American men each year, it is an uncomfortable topic for many people to discuss. However, the inability for a man to get or keep a penile erection can be a psychologically and socially damaging problem. In some cases, the erectile dysfunction could indicate a more serious medical condition.
Many people believe that problems with erections only happen to older men or men who drank too much alcohol. While the aging process or the overindulgence of alcohol are two key causes of erectile dysfunction, they are far from the only causes. However, the risk of having sexual dysfunction issues does indeed increase with age. About 47 percent of men over the age of 75 cannot have or keep an erection; this incidence is reduced to about 4 percent of men in their 50s, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Young men especially those experiencing stress, depression, or a serious medical condition such as diabetes could suffer erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone levels, which could be a genetic condition or caused by the use of recreational drugs such as marijuana, could also cause any man problems in acquiring or maintaining an erection.
Men who are overweight, do not regularly exercise, or smoke cigarettes are much more likely to experience erectile dysfunction regardless of their age. Also, prescription drugs such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, appetite suppressants, high blood pressure treatments, and antihistamines can cause temporary or long-term erectile dysfunction in some men. Surgeries to the region surrounding the prostate or the bladder, especially for cancer, can hamper penile function in regards to sexual performance.