Erectile dysfunction (ED) compromises male sexual function in many aging men, and although it is often linked to aging, you must first consider several points before even relating them.

It is not surprising that difficulties while getting an erection are considered ''an old man's thing''. However, you'd be surprised by how many men with erection problems are young and healthy. 

You should consult a health professional if you suspect you have ED because, although it may not directly indicate that you are aging, it may be a sign of other underlying conditions, whether psychological, hormonal, or cardiovascular origin. 

Aging issues

Aging is a natural process in all organisms, whether animal, plant, or human. We all age as part of the act of living, and almost everything that surrounds us leads us to age.

The sun lighting us up every morning, the environmental fumes, the processed foods, stress, and countless other things influence our aging.

The signs of male aging are even clearer: sleep problems, irritability, cognitive impairment, and physical deterioration, as well as hormonal deficiency. They are more marked in men after their 40s.

Aging, generally speaking, brings with it many changes to which you must adapt as they gradually become accepted. Hormonal failure and the onset of age-related diseases such as arthritis, cognitive impairment, diabetes, or high blood pressure are commonly responsible for these changes.

Your body may no longer produce as much testosterone as it used to, and this may influence your libido, as well as your capacity to get a firm erection. 

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the repeated inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

It must be separated from other sexual problems, such as lack of desire, ejaculation disorders (premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, absence of ejaculation), or orgasm disorders.

Erectile dysfunction affects about 50% of men aged 40 years or older and is considered a predictive symptom for other chronic conditions such as diabetes, renal or cardiovascular disease, and psychological problems.

Symptoms include:
  • You achieve just an unstable erection when you want to have sex.

  • Despite sexual stimulation, the erection does not last long enough.

  • Anxiety or avoidance due to fear of failure during sexual intercourse.

  • Low libido or decreased sexual desire.


Vascular causes

This is probably the most common cause in men over 40. The penis cannot receive enough blood for an erection, usually because it does not arrive how it is supposed to do. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, some heart diseases, and increased cholesterol blood levels can cause vascular damage that hinders erection.

Neurological causes

There is an interruption in transferring information from the brain to the penis because of nerves' injury. This occurs with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or after some pelvic surgery.

Hormonal causes

They are usually due to a lack of male sex hormones. Causes of low sex hormones range from side effects of medications, such as chemotherapy, to thyroid disease.

Pharmacological causes

Several medications decrease the ability to have an erection as a side effect. Among them are those for treating high blood pressure, heart disease, and psychiatric disorders.

Risk factors for erectile dysfunction

There are risk and causative factors in ED, and it is crucial to separate them. A risk factor increases the probability of a disease, while a cause determines the development.

Circumstances or situations that increase your risk for ED include:


As we mentioned above, aging is not a cause, so it does not mean that getting old is the same as erectile problems, but it is well known that the ED frequency is higher the older you are.

One of the are-related conditions linked with erectile dysfunction is vascular damage. The typical aging endothelial dysfunction limits blood inflow within the penile vessels, preventing erection.

Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney or liver damage, obstructive pulmonary disease, arterial hardening, among others, can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. Either because of the condition itself or because of the medications to treat it.


Some behaviors can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Alcohol consumption (drinking more than four drinks in a day)

  • Use of illegal drugs (e.g., heroin, marijuana)

  • Use of anabolic steroids

  • Heavy smoking

All of them can lead to blood vessels or nerves injury and low sexual desire that ultimately cause problems to achieve a satisfactory erection.

Lead a sedentary life

It is very well known that a sedentary life brings many negative effects on health, and of course, the sexual function could not be an exception.

Not exercising, or at least not doing any activity that involves some physical effort, can lower your body levels of testosterone and, in the long run, increase the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, which also lead to erectile dysfunction.

So the big question is, is erectile dysfunction related to aging?

The answer is yes, ED is related to aging, but it is not a direct cause. One of the most important changes during male aging is hormonal, decreasing total testosterone below the necessary level for sexual function.

Your body needs testosterone for sexual arousal and erection, but usually, with aging, these levels drop much more than expected. However, testosterone alone is not the most shocking change. Stiffer arteries, metabolic or simply psychological problems such as less sleep, greater stress, or anxiety also play a developing role.

Although erectile dysfunction is related to age, it is not an aging thing. All of the above can be prevented if early actions are taken, such as improving your lifestyle, eating better and healthier, giving up bad habits, exercising, and going for regular medical check-ups. If risk factors are avoided, you can have a normal sex life even when over 40.

If you think you have erectile dysfunction, seek help as soon as possible. You are not alone. There are many men like you who want to talk about it. Don't wait for the perfect moment because there isn't one. Schedule your appointment now and start improving your sex life.


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