Can Young Adults Be Affected by Erectile Dysfunction?

Young Adult Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is largely age-dependent and is most common in men 40 and older. However, recently, there has been a steady increase in the number of affected young men, as 5% to 10% of reported ED cases are in men below the age of 40. This can be in connection with the high prevalence of some of the more common physical and psychological causes of ED in the younger demographics.

Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Young Men

In the past, most erectile disorder cases were attributed to emotional or psychological issues. However, new discoveries have shown that in about 70% of cases, the underlying cause can be traced to physical conditions. The most common among them are:

Heart Problems

To get and sustain an erection sufficient enough for intercourse, your heart health must be in good shape. Blood flow is crucial to sexual performance and having clogged arteries has the potential of inhibiting the circulation of blood in the heart and around the body, creating a possible cause of ED.


Erectile dysfunction can be an early sign of diabetes in young men. Young men with high blood sugar levels are more susceptible to have damaged blood vessels, which will impact the arteries supplying blood to the penis to stimulate an erection. It is estimated that 35% to 75% of diabetic men will experience some level of ED in their lifetime.


Another physical cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is fatigue. Working too hard, not having enough rest, or over-resting can result in chronic fatigue. And the end result will be a dip in your energy levels, lowering the desire for sex.


Aside from the hypertensive and diabetic risks associated with being obese, young men who are overweight stand the chance of not being able to maintain an erection. Research shows that 79% of men reporting erectile dysfunction have body mass index (BMI) of 25kg/m2 or higher. In the United States, obesity and diabetes are responsible for up to 8 million cases of ED.

Hormonal disorders

Low testosterone is a major hormonal disorder with the capacity to cause ED in young men. The production of prolactin might not overtly affect your erection if it is minimal, but if it is on the higher end, it is capable of causing damage to your system and could result in ED.

Another hormonal disorder that may cause erectile dysfunction is when the thyroid hormone levels are abnormally high or low. According to Harvard Health, men who have ED who also test low for testosterone may benefit from a hormone boost which can be applied in the form of a rub-on gel in addition to an ED medication.

Psychological Causes of ED in Young Men

Psychological factors can also be responsible for sexual disorders in young men. Some of the common issues are:


Depression is a common psychological cause of ED. Aside from the mental effects, it also affects the physical state of the person involved. At this point, the man is not sexually stimulated enough to maintain an erection even after being aroused. In the past few years, there has been a growing rate of young people reporting depression. Researchers found an increased rate of 63% and 52% in young adults and adolescents, respectively. According to the American Psychological Association, this may be linked to a significant change in cultural trends over the last ten years.

Low Self-Esteem and Stress

The feeling of unworthiness is a significant indicator of poor sexual performance. This can be due to guilt associated with being unable to satisfy your partner or emotional reactions from your other social and career engagements. Whatever the underlying cause may be, your sex life is one of the aspects that could be negatively affected.

Performance Anxiety

Simply put, you can only have an erection when your body can balance its parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. It is a way of equalizing your subjective and objective mind to focus on having intercourse. However, when anxiety comes into the picture, it can be quite challenging to maintain an erection.

Lifestyle Choice and ED in Young Men

An unhealthy lifestyle affects your sex life. It might not be immediate but can become debilitating over time. Not eating a balanced diet, not getting enough physical activity or exercise, overeating, smoking, and alcohol consumption are some of the unhealthy lifestyles that can lead to ED.

Also, living a sedentary lifestyle causes the body to convert testosterone into estrogen, thereby leading to obesity or other health complications. This might result in erectile dysfunction if not adequately addressed.

The best way to treat ED is by avoiding the causes. However, there are other available solutions to help you deal with an already existing ED case. Purposeful changes in lifestyle choices and natural remedies can also make a positive difference. Other possible solutions include counseling, medications, surgeries, and much more.

Treatments Options for Erectile Dysfunction

According to medical research carried out on ED for young men, treatment strategies differ in different people. While some may require a form of evaluation or specialized testing, others simply have to adjust their lifestyle choices. Nevertheless, ED remains a severe ailment that needs to be addressed with an immediate solution, as it could be an indication of other health issues. Here are some ways to deal with ED:

Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy eating, adequate exercising, and reasonable weight loss amongst other healthy lifestyle choices can be influential in minimizing ED problems. Aside from the general havoc caused by drinking excessive alcohol or smoking, it also can lead to erectile dysfunction. Quitting damaging habits can help you make great strides toward handling ED.


As previously mentioned, not every kind of ED requires medication or surgery. For some, a counselor is required to help them handle their depression, performance anxiety, or stress. Although medications might be required to bolster performance, you may not need to take a substantial amount of medication or be subjected to surgery. Additionally, communication among partners is essential to ensuring that both parties are mentally prepared before, during, and after sex.

Oral Medications

An excellent oral drug for treating ED is the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. Most of the time, physicians recommend it for treating mild cases of erectile dysfunction before administering more comprehensive treatments.

In reality, PDE5 is not like other medications. Instead, it is an enzyme capable of interfering with the action of nitric oxide (NO). NO opens up and stabilizes the pumping of blood from the blood vessel, causing an erection.

However, PDE5 solutions are not without side effects such as vision changes, headaches, upset stomach, and flushing. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before administering any medication.

Intracavernosal injections

Another means of treating erectile dysfunction is through injecting Alprostadil (Caverject, Edex) solution into the base of the penis about 10 minutes before sex. Individuals utilizing this method can, however, make use of it for about three times a week. More importantly, there should be a 24-hour duration in between uses.


One major cause of ED could be low testosterone. To solve this, men with this issue can undergo testosterone therapy. Fortunately, there are various forms of available testosterone. It can come in patches, gels, injectable solutions, and oral tablets. You can also choose to use any method depending on your doctor’s prescription and your choice.


Surgery is another option for men suffering ED is the implantation of a penile prosthesis through surgery. However, the surgical operation is not without complications and risks. Simple prototypes help the phallus bend downwards when urinating and erect for intercourse. More advanced prototypes give room for fluid to fill an implant and cause an erection. Most of the time, this strategy is only employed when other methods have been tried and have not been effective.

Shockwave Therapy for ED

Shockwave therapy is one of the newest and most effective treatment options for erectile disorders. Its long-lasting effectiveness makes it more favored than other options. Unlike most other medications that require being readministered for every sexual encounter, shockwave therapy addresses the root cause of your ED and leaves you with a healthy sex life. Though relatively new, the science behind it is very promising.

The treatment is a non-invasive procedure with the use of low-energy impulses to improve blood flow to your penis. It unclogs the blockages in your arteries and opens them up for healthy and unhindered blood circulation to your penile area. This will result in frequent reflexogenic, psychogenic, and nocturnal erections.

How Shockwave Therapy MD Can Help

Here at Shockwave Therapy, we are a team of highly qualified medical professionals dedicated to helping men regain and enjoy their sex lives. Whether you are experiencing ED or would just like to improve your sex life, we’re here to help. To get in touch and book an appointment with our doctors today, simply fill out this contact form.

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