Erectile Dysfunction & Age: What You Need To Know

Andy Boysan
Andy BoysanBPharmDirector & Superintendent Pharmacist

As you enter your 40s, you may start to notice changes in your sexual function and performance. Erectile dysfunction becomes more common for men as they age, with studies indicating that about 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience some degree of ED.

However, ED isn't an inevitable result of ageing. By understanding what's happening and getting to the root causes, you can take steps to preserve sexual health.

Key Findings Covered Ahead

  • ED issues commonly emerge much earlier than expected - even impacting men in their 20s today
  • Though risk and severity rise with age, simple lifestyle adjustments help many men maintain sexual health into old age
  • Identifying the factors specifically causing YOUR erectile shifts is crucial - solutions differ person by person
  • Taboo for too long, compassionate support and proven treatments exist allowing men to safely reclaim confidence in the bedroom

Symptoms Of Age Related ED

As we get older, changes in the firmness or reliability of our erections can leave us feeling frustrated and concerned. But you're not alone - many men start dealing with ED symptoms like:

  • Inability to Get or Maintain an Erection - The hallmark sign of erectile dysfunction is when your penis struggles to become aroused or stay hard for completion of enjoyable sex, no matter how turned on you feel mentally. Instead of immediately rising to attention with stimulation, you may notice erections are sluggish, weak, brief or entirely absent - it can feel like your signals are "misfiring".
  • Changes in Erection Quality Over Time - Your erections may also start taking longer to achieve, seem less full, feel rubbery or lose hardness too quickly before sex concludes. More direct tactile stimulation may be required to attain partial erections where a light caress used to be enough.
  • Declining Sexual Desire - On top of disappointing physical response, your motivation for initiating intimacy and sense of mental arousal when presented with willing partners may also diminish, sometimes even causing you to avoid sexual encounters.

How Age Can Physically Affect Your Erections

Understanding what may be contributing to your erectile difficulties is an important first step toward finding solutions. Most cases of ED involve a combination of physical and psychological factors.

  • Hormonal changes
    • Declines in hormones like testosterone, thyroid and growth hormone as men age disrupt natural pathways for sexual signalling and genital arousal response. Replacement therapy helps for some.
  • Cardiovascular diseases that restrict healthy blood flow necessary for erections are very common. This may involve:
    • Plaque buildup and damage to blood vessels from causes like atherosclerosis
    • Vascular risk factors like diabetes, obesity, smoking, and sedentary lifestyles. Leading a more healthy lifestyle can help here.

Erectile dysfunction is often an early warning sign of coronary heart disease and is closely linked with Type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves responsible for erectile function

Nerve issues can also hamper erectile function for some men as pathways for sexual response signalling get interrupted by conditions like MS, Parkinson's, certain medications or even prolonged bicycle riding.

Finally, emotional issues are often a factor - it's not just "all in your head", but previous bouts of ED, performance anxiety, intimacy issues with your partner, depression, poor body image and everyday life stresses can definitely tie into loss of sexual desire and enjoyment

Which Of Your Medications Can Play A Part?

Many common prescription and over-the-counter meds can interfere with sexual functioning - I know it's frustrating when those pills meant to help your health end up causing bedroom problems. Let's talk about which medications might be contributing and some possible solutions.

  • Antidepressant SSRIs like Seroxat or fluoxetine
  • Anti-anxiety benzos such as Xanax, diazepam or clonazepam
  • Blood pressure meds like diuretics or beta blockers
  • Stomach drugs like Cimetedine or Zantac
  • Seizure medications such as Phenytoin or Tegretol
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Recreational substances like alcohol, marijuana or cocaine

Pay attention to any new meds and changes in your erections. We can discuss adjusting dosages or switching prescriptions to see if that helps counteract side effects.

What's the Best Way To Treat Age Related ED

Ultimately the right solutions for you depend on pinpointing the factors driving your erectile difficulties. But the good news is more ED treatment options exist now than ever before, ranging from tablets and injections to devices and lifestyle changes.

Tried And Tested Medications

I know it can be frustrating struggling with ED, but the good news is we have many effective, proven treatment options to help you regain sexual functioning and confidence!

Known as PDE5 inhibitors, these work by relaxing the muscles and widening the blood vessels in the penis, which helps to produce an erection when a man is sexually aroused. Options include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra)

These are considered very safe medications when used properly under medical supervision. While side effects like facial flushing or headaches are possible, they typically go away quickly on their own. The table below compares key features of each ED drug class:

Drug

Onset

Duration

Food Interactions

Viagra

30-60 min

Up to 5 hours

No effect

Cialis

30-60 min

Up to 36 hours

No effect

Levitra

30-60 min

Up to 8 hours

Take on empty stomach

Discuss your needs and preferences to determine if ED meds could help restore your sexual health and stamina.

Generic Viagra®/Sildenafil

Generic sildenafil performs virtually identically to the brand name Viagra® in terms of the active ingredient, effectiveness, dosage strengths, safety, and intended use. The only real difference is it tends to be considerably more affordable – especially helpful for patients whose NHS or private insurance fails to cover branded ED drugs.

Just like Viagra®, generic sildenafil is used for treating erectile dysfunction among men unable to get or sustain a penile erection hard enough for satisfying sex. It should be taken only as needed approx. 1 hour prior to sexual intercourse, not more than once daily. The starting dose is typically 50mg for most men.

Tadalafil Daily

Unlike “as needed” ED meds, low-dose 2.5mg or 5mg tadalafil taken once daily provides continuous long-term erectile support without dependence on planning around intimacy. Helpful for men who regularly engage in spontaneous sex, clinical studies found daily tadalafil increased successful penetration and intercourse completion over 80% of the time.

Daily regimens may also help strengthen long-term erectile function, with over half of daily Cialis® users reporting improved ability even after discontinued use in trials.

Generic Cialis®/Tadalafil

Men not wanting daily Cialis® preparation will find generic tadalafil an affordable option that functions essentially equivalent to the brand name prescription. 20mg as-needed tablets work up to 36 hours, which allows more spontaneity compared to traditional ED meds.

Tadalafil tablets ordered online from reputable UK sources like us provide the branded Cialis® active ingredient (sans fancy packaging) for 40-70% less cost. Ideal for patients paying out of pocket. Efficacy, contraindications, side effects and usage guidelines are identical to Cialis®, serving as a suitable lower-cost substitution.

Daily Generic Cialis®/Tadalafil

Combines cost savings of generic ED drugs with the convenience of daily dosing for steady erectile support. Both 2.5mg and 5mg tablets must be taken at the same time each morning without respect to sexual activity. Gradual accumulation in the system builds sufficient tadalafil plasma concentrations for on-demand firm erections 24/7.

The NHS does not offer this daily generic Cialis® option, but legitimate UK online pharmacies provide substantial discounts over daily brand name Cialis® for patients paying privately. Potential side effects are generally mild with long-term daily use after the initial adjustment period.

Viagra Connect®

As an over-the-counter medication, Viagra Connect® offers a more convenient, inexpensive way to access the ED treatment benefits of sildenafil without visiting your GP for an exam or prescription.

Of course OTC status means a 50mg max dose and some usage precautions apply. You still shouldn’t take Viagra Connect® alongside certain medications or if you have severe cardiovascular/liver conditions. But for many men, it provides an accessible option for boosting erection quality without needing a prescription..

The difference between men and women

When it comes to maintaining an enjoyable sex life as we age, men and women face some similarities but also key differences. For women, menopausal hormonal shifts often trigger the more abrupt changes, while men's sexual performance tends to decline more gradually with age.

Men's sex life in their 20s

  • Testosterone levels peak during a man's 20s, fueling sex drive, sexual stamina, and firm erectile response. However, ED issues are surprisingly common even for young men today, with 1 in 2 Australian males dealing with some degree of erectile difficulty. Stress, health issues, porn addiction, poor sleep and diet habits can all impair function.
  • There's significant variation among individuals based on health status, genetics, lifestyle factors and more. Some men in their 20s may start noticing periodic issues achieving erections, while others have no problems yet. Open communication with your doctor helps identify and address changes.

Men's sex life in their 30s and 40s

  • As testosterone starts decreasing, many men notice subtle changes like slower arousal, weaker erections requiring more stimulation, and longer refractory period between ejaculations.
  • Blood vessel health also starts declining, setting the stage for future ED without proper diet, exercise and medication management of conditions like diabetes and heart disease. 1 in 5 cases of erectile dysfunction occur before age 40.
  • Staying sexually active through self-pleasure and couples intimacy helps maintain penile health and catch issues early. Tracking changes and discussing concerns with your doctor is key.

Men's sex life in their 50s and 60s

It's common to begin facing more noticeable changes in your 50s and 60s:

  • Testosterone and growth hormone levels continue falling, slowing recovery time between erections/ejaculations and muting arousal signals from the brain
  • The vascular system further deteriorates, reducing penile blood flow necessary for firm erections
  • Chronic illnesses like diabetes or neurological conditions can exacerbate erectile difficulties

Don't just assume sexual issues are an inevitable result of your age. Identifying contributing lifestyle habits or health conditions through check-ups, bloodwork and honest conversations with your GP makes reviving your sex life easier.

Men's sex life in their 70s and beyond

While declining erectile function and sex drive is common for men entering their later decades of life, remaining sexually active into your 70s, 80s and beyond is certainly possible, especially with an engaged, understanding partner and the right support.

  • A shocking ~75% of 70+ year old men struggle with ED on some level, but surveys show at least 1/3 of octogenarians (people between 80-89 years old) report still engaging in regular intimate relations.
  • Support options range from medications and injections to vacuum erection devices and creative intimacy solutions. A sex therapist can offer guidance tailored to your needs and relationship dynamics.
  • The most important things are prioritising intimacy with your partner through continual conversation and creative sexual exploration to maintain a fulfilling connection.

Seeking Help for Sexual Changes

Addressing erectile changes proactively allows more men to regain sexual confidence and continue enjoying intimacy. The Independent Pharmacy offers confidential support and treatment including:

Custom ED Medication Plans

  • Prescriptions for sildenafil, tadalafil and all prominent oral ED treatments.
  • Licensed UK prescribers and pharmacists

Private Online Consultations

  • Embarrassment-free consultations with experienced physicians specialising in sexual dysfunction
  • Medications discreetly shipped to your home

Connecting with compassionate experts makes all the difference in overcoming ED. Contact The Independent Pharmacy today to explore science-backed solutions that help you successfully resume sexual activity.

FAQs

Does walking improve erectile dysfunction?

Walking is indeed beneficial for managing erectile dysfunction (ED). Regular walking, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can significantly improve cardiovascular health, which is closely linked to erectile function. A daily walk enhances blood circulation, contributing positively to erectile health.

What can a wife do to help her husband with erectile dysfunction?

Support and understanding from a partner are key in managing ED. Encouraging open communication, showing empathy, and being patient can make a significant difference. Exploring treatment options together and consulting healthcare professionals as a couple can also be very helpful in addressing this condition.

At what age does a man stop ejaculating?

Ejaculation patterns vary widely among individuals and don’t necessarily cease at a specific age. It's normal for ejaculation volume and force to decrease as men age, but many continue to ejaculate throughout their lives. These changes are a natural part of ageing and differ from person to person.

Can a 70 year old man still get hard?

Yes, it is possible for men in their 70s to achieve erections and enjoy an active sex life. Erectile function can be influenced by several factors including health, lifestyle choices, and emotional well-being. With modern treatments and lifestyle adjustments, age alone is not a definitive barrier to maintaining erectile function.

Sources

Erectile dysfunction - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Erectile Dysfunction in the Elderly: An Old Widespread Issue with Novel Treatment Perspectives - PMC (nih.gov)

Erectile dysfunction - Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform

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