Even Young Guys Have Erection Issues

Erectile dysfunction affecting more men under 40

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Troubles with getting or keeping an erection have often been linked with older gentlemen. But the condition is happening more often to younger guys as well.

More than 1 in 4 men who were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED) were under 40 years old, a recently published study found. Researchers said their findings outlined the importance of conducting a thorough medical examination in men with ED.

Dr. Kavoussi, a dailyRx News Contributing Expert said. "This study's results mean that ED in younger men may be a predictor of other medical problems, specifically heart disease."

"Talk to your doctor about ED."

The study, led by Paolo Capogross, MD, from the Department of Urology at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, was conducted to see who was being diagnosed with ED and to evaluate the patients' sociodemographic characteristics.

The study included 439 adult men who sought treatment for new cases of ED, or who had trouble maintaining an erection during sex.

The men were surveyed on their erectile dysfunction symptoms and related illnesses between January 2010 and June 2012.

Participants were categorized into groups based on their relationship status, education level and age. The researchers looked at the differences between patients who were under 40 years of age and patients who were older.

Each of the patients had blood pressure, cholesterol level and body mass index, which is a calculation of height and weight together, measured.

In total, 114 men or 26 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of ED were in men under 40 years old.

The younger men with ED averaged about 32 years of age, with cases affecting men between 17 and 40 years of age.

At the same time, fewer patients under 40 years old had illnesses related to ED compared to patients over 40. Specifically, 58 percent of patients under 40 had related illnesses compared to 90 percent of patients over 40.

The researchers also found that men under 40 also had a lower BMI and a higher level of testosterone circulating in the body on average compared to men over 40.

Smoking and illicit drug use were more common among young men with ED than older men.

The younger men also had premature ejaculations more often than older men, though older men more often had Peyronie's disease. In the disease, the penis curves because of fibrous scar tissue and can cause painful erections.

The authors said that the findings emphasize the importance of "taking a comprehensive medical and sexual history and performing a thorough physical examination in all men with ED, irrespective of their age."

"Moreover, almost half of the young men suffered from severe ED, being this proportion comparable with that observed in older individuals," the researchers wrote in their report.

Parviz Kavoussi, MD, a reproductive urologist at the Austin Center for Men's Health and dailyRx Contributing Expert, says that more cases of ED are appearing in younger and younger men as the men are becoming more comfortable seeking medical help.

"It is understood now that ED is not due to aging, but due to co-morbidities of aging," Dr. Kavoussi said. "This mean that ED in younger men may be a predictor of other medical problems, specifically heart disease." Dr. Kavoussi was not involved with this study.

The authors noted the results might not be generalized to a larger population since their study was small.

The study was published online May 7 in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The researchers do not report any conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
June 5, 2013
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013