A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggested that problems getting and maintaining an erection are now more common in younger men than previously thought. Research found that erections problems affected 26 percent of young males under 40 years old and nearly half of these young men had severe issues with erections.
What are erectile problems?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man cannot achieve an erection or sustain one long enough during sex. Penis health can be a very complex issue that has both physical and mental health elements.
Why are erection problems usually more common in men over 40?
Erectile problems can occur at any age, but it is more common in older men, this can be due to a number of factors. Older men are more likely to have health conditions that require medication that have side effects that can impact on erections.
Also, erections primarily involve blood vessels, some medical conditions such as atherosclerosis or diabetes can block blood flow to the penis, there may also be vascular faults with veins, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis. Lifestyle also plays a huge part in erectile dysfunction, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and limited physical activity can have significant effects on improvement of erectile function as well as levels of testosterone.
Not being able to ‘get it up’ is not just an older man’s problem
Nowadays ED is not unusual for young men in their twenties or even in their teens, up to a quarter of ED patients are now under 40. According to online health forums an alarming increase of young men are seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. The good news is unless the root cause of the ED is physiological nerve damage or psychological issues, the condition is usually temporary in younger men, but it is still a problem that needs addressing.
If left untreated erection problems can lead to depression, psychological issues and even the breakdown of relationships.
Can we blame porn and lifestyle choices for increased erection issues in younger men?
Doctors and urologists have their theories as to why ED is more prevalent in young men today. Some research suggests that an overconsumption of pornography can result erection problems. Research in support of the link between pornography and erectile dysfunction argues that porn can desensitise sexual response. A 2016 article argues that pornography had a desensitising effect, men who view pornography regularly may need to continuously increase sexual stimulation to feel and remain aroused.
It’s not just porn that’s to blame, other lifestyle choices are too. Obesity is a factor and a poor diet with a large consumption of fast food increases blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which restricts circulation and hardens arteries.
Drugs are another possible cause of erection trouble, the UK has the highest rate of cocaine use among young adults in the whole of Europe and this coupled with heavy drinking, can cause blood vessels to narrow, preventing adequate blood flow to the penis. According to Dr Justin Lehmiller, assistant professor of social psychology in Indiana, daily cannabis smokers are three times more likely to suffer from ED too.
What effective treatments are there for erection problems?
Traditional erection treatments range from medications to vacuum pumps, healthy lifestyle changes and counselling. The trouble with medications is they tend to mask the symptoms. Medication also has a number of side effects and eventually becomes ineffective. Thankfully there is a safe drug-free alternative – Focused Shockwave Therapy, not as scary as it sounds, in fact, this is a comfortable and quick treatment.
Focused Shockwave Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for erectile dysfunction, male pelvic pain and Peyronie’s disease (which causes the penis to curve like a banana). There are many trials supporting its efficacy with no side-effects. The treatments are quick with over a 70% success rate.
The Storz Medical Focused Shockwave Device passes sound waves deep into the damaged tissue to increase blood flow, this stimulates your body’s natural repair and regeneration processes.