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The Most Common Sexual Problem Among Men and What to Do About It

3 minutes to read


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection, and it affects around 30 million men in the United States, making it the most common sexual problem for men. ED can have a devastating effect on your quality of life. It can complicate your relationship with your partner, and it can affect your mental health, potentially leading to anxiety and depression.

Sad man with girlfriend

While sexual function typically declines with age, more than half of older adults say that sex is an important part of their lives. If you're struggling with erectile dysfunction, don't give up hope. ED is treatable, and determining the cause is the first step to restoring a robust sex life.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

There is no single cause of erectile dysfunction. In fact, ED is considered to be a symptom of an underlying psychological or physiological problem, and addressing the underlying cause is the best way to treat it. Underlying causes of ED include a variety of physical and mental problems.


Men with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing ED, according to a meta-analysis published in the journal Diabetic Medicine . Nearly 53 percent of men with diabetes struggle with erectile dysfunction.

Older man with diabetes

High blood pressure.

High blood pressure and erectile dysfunction often occur together, with around 30 percent of men with hypertension complaining of erectile dysfunction. In fact, erectile dysfunction may be one of the first signs of high blood pressure and is a good reason to visit your doctor. Some medications used to treat high blood pressure can also contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Lower urinary tract problems.

Lower urinary tract problems are common as men age, and they can contribute to ED. These include increased urgency to urinate, problems emptying the bladder fully, and an increased frequency of urination.

Man with urinary tract problems


Obesity often leads to hormonal imbalances, psychological problems, and other issues that contribute to erectile dysfunction. Research shows that men who have a BMI of 25 to 30 have a 1.5x increase in the risk for ED. Men with a BMI of over 30 have a 3x the risk of ED.

Sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise is essential for staving off disease, and it can make a big difference in your level of sexual functioning. A lack of physical activity leads to inflammation and reduced blood circulation, which are associated with ED.

Older man lounging on couch


Cigarette smoking damages the endothelium, or the cells that line the inside of blood vessels. This can contribute to erectile dysfunction, but quitting smoking can undo the damage and improve symptoms of ED.


Some medications can contribute to ED, including SSRIs, beta-blockers, and medications used to treat prostate problems and insomnia.

Open bottle of medication

Stress and other mental problems.

Achieving an erection is partly psychological, and chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can affect the ability to get and maintain one. Although psychological causes of ED are more common among younger men, they can have a profound effect on an older man's erections.

What You Can Do About ED

The better your overall health, the better your chances of recovering from erectile dysfunction. Here are some things you can do to improve the quality and longevity of your erections.

Lose weight.

A study published in JAMA found that 30 percent of men who lost at least 10 percent of their body weight enjoyed improvements in their erectile function.

Male weight loss


Regular physical activity improves overall blood flow, and it reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Reduce your stress.

Lowering your stress may improve your erections. Exercises like deep breathing meditation and yoga are known to reduce stress on the spot, and meditation can help your body learn to respond better to stress.

Older man meditating

Quit smoking.

Quitting smoking now will do more than improve your erections--it can extend your life and dramatically improve your quality of life--and the quality of your sex life.


Although research is limited, some studies suggest that acupuncture can help treat erectile dysfunction and a number of health problems associated with it.

Supplement Support.

A supplement like Prostavol's Male Enhancement can help improve erectile function with research-based ingredients like saw palmetto and L-arginine, proven to improve blood flow, stimulate your libido, and support natural hormone levels.


Erectile dysfunction doesn't have to be permanent. Examine your physical and mental health, and take steps to improve both to reduce your risk for erectile dysfunction and improve symptoms of ED.

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27188339 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28722225 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22240443 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24720114 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC48373... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27707739

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