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Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men: Why It Happens & How to Deal With It

by Dr Don Grant (MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip Orth Med)

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

As a young man, ED is the last thing you want to get; it’s something you don’t normally expect to worry about until you’re long into your retirement, if at all...

However, erectile dysfunction is not something that only old men experience; a young man like yourself is also susceptible to erectile dysfunction. Below we run through the causes and treatments for erectile dysfunction in young men. 


What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is where a man is unable to achieve and maintain an erection that allows him to experience fulfilment during sexual intercourse. 


What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

There are three main symptoms of erectile dysfunction:

  • Being unable to get an erection
  • Being unable to achieve an erection for long enough to engage in sexual intercourse
  • An erection that is too soft to be able to perform sexual intercourse in a ‘normal’ way.


What causes erectile dysfunction in young men?

Erectile dysfunction is something you probably associate with older men, with many young males often believing that the risk of experiencing ED increases with age.   

However, erectile dysfunction doesn’t ask for age verification and can strike you at any time of your life. 

The most common causes of erectile dysfunction in younger men are:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Illegal drugs
  • Performance anxiety – nerves cause you to experience problems sustain an erection
  • Stress
  • Smoking

The other possible causes of erectile dysfunction are:

  • Abnormalities of the penis – issues with your foreskin, or the curvature of your penis
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Hormone problems
  • Hypogonadism – where the sexual hormones produced by your body are insufficient
  • Increased/heightened blood pressure
  • Medicinal – some medications may cause erectile dysfunction
  • Microvascular disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Narrowing of your penis’ blood vessels
  • Nerve injuries
  • Psychological – stress, schizophrenia, depression, tiredness
  • Spinal cord injuries.

There is also some anecdotal evidence that Internet porn addiction/overuse may lead to ED in men. ED cases in younger men are actually on the rise.


Smoking can be a cause of ED


What treatments are available for erectile dysfunction?

Changes in lifestyle

There is a lot you can do in your day-to-day life that can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction: 

  • Exercising
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing your alcohol consumption
  • Stopping smoking


Non-medicinal treatments 

While there is medication available to address erectile dysfunction, there are also plenty of non-medical treatments for it: 

  • Counselling
  • Penis pumps
  • Penile implant or prosthesis
  • Testosterone replacement therapy
  • Vascular reconstructive surgery



There are a number of medications available to treat erectile dysfunction:

  • Cialis – tablets that work by increasing the flow of blood to your penis
  • Levitra – shown to be more effective in treating erectile dysfunction in men over 50
  • Sildenafil – these tablets relax and widen the muscles that send blood to your penis
  • Spedra – can take effect as little as 20 minutes after you take the tablets
  • Tadalafil – remains effective up to 36 hours in helping you achieve an erection
  • Viagra – the most well-known medication for treating erectile dysfunction
  • Vitaros – cream which can begin working after just 5 minutes 

**You may also reduce the risk and effects of erectile dysfunction if you stop taking any medication which is known to cause it**


If you're experiencing ED for the first time, it's always a good diea to check with your Doctor


You may be young, fit, and healthy, but that doesn’t mean that you’re immune from erectile dysfunction. It can strike men at any age and there may be things that you are doing as part of your lifestyle that are making your symptoms worse.

If you believe that you have any of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction then get in contact with your GP and discuss with them which course of treatment will be suitable for you. We also offer a wide range of discreet ED pills and treatments here at The Independent Pharmacy.

Authored By:

A photo of Dr Donald Grant

Dr Donald Grant

MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.med

Published on: 29-11-2017

Last modified on: 29-11-2019

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan


Reviewed on: 29-11-2019

Next review date: 29-11-2021

Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

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