Am I Too Young for Erectile Dysfunction?

May 21, 2024
Erectile dysfunction (ED) has a reputation as a problem that only affects older men. It can be a real shock when the problem hits way earlier than that — but it’s happening with increasing frequency. Learn more here.  

You’re not alone. An estimated 20 to 30 million American men experience erectile dysfunction (ED) today and the ages of those men might just surprise you. Because ED has various contributing factors, men can develop this problem at almost any age. So, if you’re wondering how young is too young for ED, the truth is that it can happen as early as your twenties. 

At David B. Samadi, MD, our urology and surgical oncology practice in Midtown Manhattan, New York, board-certified urologist Dr. Samadi offers comprehensive support for ED, tailored to your unique situation. Read on as we cover typical ages for ED, explain why it happens, and explore some effective solutions. 

The average age for erectile dysfunction 

There isn’t a single average age for ED, but frequency does rise with age. According to studies published in Translational Andrology and Urology, a man in his forties has about a 40% chance of developing ED. With every decade of life, the risk increases by a further 10%. So, by the time you reach your 80s, you have a roughly 80% risk of developing ED. 

It’s already pretty well known that middle aged and older men are more likely to struggle with ED. But what about men under the age of 40? Many studies show that they’re not too young for erectile dysfunction. 

A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows a prevalence of ED in about one in four (26%) men under the age of 40, and some multinational studies show that closer to one in three men in this age group have ED. 

While there are few ED studies broken down by specific age groups, prevalence appears to mimic the pattern in older men: ED affects more men in their forties than men in their thirties, more men in their thirties than men in their twenties, and so on. However, evidence suggests that the prevalence of ED is rapidly rising, especially in younger men. 

Factors that raise your risk of erectile dysfunction

ED is usually caused by multiple factors, including neurological, hormonal, psychological, and vascular causes. Of these, vascular issues problems within the vessels that deliver blood to the penis — are the most common. 

In many cases, vascular problems, like blood vessel narrowing, are connected to peripheral artery disease (PAD) or coronary artery disease (CAD). Essentially, these diseases happen when plaque (a sticky substance including cholesterol) accumulates in your blood vessels. This causes narrowing and restricts blood flow, ultimately making it harder to get an erection. 

Fortunately, you have some control over vascular disease in most cases. Managing your weight, eating healthy foods, avoiding smoking, and getting more exercise can help you make great strides in preventing or alleviating these problems. In addition, these tactics reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems. 

Effective solutions for erectile dysfunction

Dr. Samadi is a seasoned urologist who offers customized solutions for ED. He works with you, evaluating your health, lifestyle, and medical history, to determine the contributing causes of your ED. Then, he suggests a personalized solution. Many men start out with medication, such as Viagra®, Stendra®, Cialis®, or Levitra®, that work by increasing blood flow to the penis. 

Of course, lifestyle choices can play a big role in your treatment too. If you have ED due to vascular disease, you may need a noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment to break up the plaque and clear the way for healthy blood flow. If anxiety is found to be a contributing cause, it’s important to address mental health and stress levels.   

Dr. Samadi discusses all these options with you, and helps you find your way back to a healthy, enjoyable, and active sex life. 

Dr. Samadi sees patients in our Central Midtown Manhattan office on weekdays, and in East Hill, New York (Long Island) at St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center once a week. If you’re struggling with ED, call our office to make an appointment, or contact us online today.