If you're like many in your twenties and thirties, you may snicker or roll your eyes at commercials for erectile dysfunction medication featuring retirement-age couples. However, if this condition begins to affect you during a younger stage of your life, it quickly becomes no laughing matter—and the more you concentrate on it and worry about it impacting you, the more likely it is to continue to impede your sexual performance. How can you determine what is causing these issues, and what can you do to treat this condition for the long term? Read on to learn more about the potential causes and best treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED).
What can cause erectile dysfunction at a young age?
ED is more common among older individuals due to a convergence of symptoms of aging—reduced blood flow to the extremities, a decrease in testosterone, and potential heart, lung, or joint issues that can make sex more painful or difficult. However, ED can strike at just about any age and can have physical or psychological causes (and sometimes a combination of both).
One potential cause of ED that can be ruled out by a physical exam is reduced blood flow. If you have an unhealthy diet or a family history of high cholesterol, this condition may already be having an impact in your twenties and thirties as cholesterol clogs the capillaries and small veins that supply blood to your fingers, toes, and genitals. Untreated diabetes can also cause ED, as can heavy use of cigarettes, alcohol, or sometimes even caffeine.
Another potential cause of ED can be psychological. If you've ruled out any physical issues that may cause ED yet find you can achieve erection only by using medication, you may want to consider a visit or two with a psychologist who can examine the roots of your recent ED and any mental or emotional trauma that may be manifesting itself in your sex life. In some cases, talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can help eliminate your ED.
What are the best long-term treatment options for your ED?
If you're young and desire an active sex life, the idea of being dependent upon medication to have sex can be an unsatisfying one. Fortunately, many of the physical issues that may be causing ED can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes themselves, allowing your ED to naturally resolve itself and improving your health without resorting to alternative means to achieve an erection. In the interim, you may want to use erectile dysfunction medication or a manual pump to help during the times you can't do it on your own.
For more information, contact experts on the subject, like those from Advanced Urology Associates.