Possible Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction

Friday 21 May 2021
Erectile Dysfunction

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jubil Tom, MD
on 1 June 2021

Table of Contents


I. Who Gets ED?

II. Atherosclerosis

III. Low Testosterone

IV. Anxiety & Stress

V. Sports & Activities


Who Gets ED?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur for a variety of different reasons. Many men may feel embarrassed to bring up their sexual problems with their doctor, but your doctor likely helps hundreds of men with your same issue every year. 

Every man may have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection at some point in their life. This is typically normal, but if you struggle to get an erection 50 percent of the time, you should seek a medical professional's advice. ED can be a sign of several serious accompanying conditions like an enlarged prostate, diabetes or even cardiovascular disease. Because of this, receiving a proper diagnosis can improve your sex life and ensure your health and happiness. 

It is a common misconception that ED only occurs in older men. ED can affect men of all ages, and it is important to be aware of risk factors that may influence the development of male sexual dysfunction. Read on to learn more about possible risk factors for ED and the medications available, including brand name and generic Viagra and Cialis. [1]

a group of guys sitting together on a hill

Atherosclerosis 

Atherosclerosis is one condition that may cause several conditions that can cause ED. Atherosclerosis is a serious medical problem that occurs silently over time, causing plaque to build up in the body's arteries. Arteries are an essential pathway through the body that carries oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body. This arterial plaque is made up of fats, cholesterol, and calcium. 

A diet high in fats and sugar can cause this build-up and narrow the arteries over time. If the arteries are obstructed by plaque, blood cannot flow easily to and from the heart. Atherosclerosis most commonly occurs around the heart but may affect the legs and kidneys. [2] These narrowed vessels may also affect blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. If blood cannot enter the penis properly, ED may develop.

High cholesterol can cause this plaque build-up which is often tied to ED. The connection between these two conditions is known as hypercholesterolemia. If you have a high cholesterol diet (organ meats, eggs, and high-fat dairy products) and develop ED, you may need to contact your doctor for diet recommendations. [3] 

Low Testosterone

As people age, hormone levels may dip and cause changes in the body. Low testosterone can occur in older men and cause erectile dysfunction. Erections rely on testosterone, but the connection is complex, and scientists do not fully understand the relationship.

an older couple walking together

Men experiencing Low T may feel less interested in sex and have a lower sex drive. These feelings may spur on anxiety or depression around sex, which may enhance the effects of Low T and worsen ED. 

You will have to get your testosterone levels checked by your doctor before hormone replacement therapy is prescribed. If your ED improves with this therapy, you are in the clear, but you may need to explore other treatment options. In this case, you may want to buy tadalafil or sildenafil to begin a medication plan. [4]

Anxiety & Stress

Physical causes are common in older men, but many younger men experience ED due to mental or psychological factors. This type of ED risk factor may be hard to diagnose because men may develop stress and anxiety around their ED, so it may be difficult to determine which symptoms occurred first. 

If you have erectile dysfunction due to mental associations, it can disrupt bodily systems and processes. If you frequently experience anxiety or chronic stress, it can affect the body's physical response to sexual stimulation. These emotions can also affect how the brain sends messages to the penis. The following events can create ED symptoms in some men: 

  • Financial burdens
  • Changes in health
  • Job problems
  • Relationship problems or difficulties
  • Illness or loss of a loved one [5]

If you have psychologically related ED, you may want to seek a mental health professional's help. Talking over your issues can reduce the stress in your life. Your psychiatrist or doctor may also prescribe ED medication to help with ED symptoms. You can find Cialis online for sale at Canada Med Pharmacy. 

a group work setting

Sports & Activities

The above-mentioned risk factors are the most common ED causes, but some sports and activities may cause temporary ED. Many people choose bicycle riding as a great low-impact exercise, especially if you are an older man who wants to remain active. 

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that bike riding can damage and compress arteries in the penis. The compression of these arteries and nerves may cause erectile dysfunction symptoms. This is not a problem for men who bike casually, but you may be at risk for erectile problems if you bike for more than three hours a week. Bicycle seats put continuous pressure on the perineum (area between genitals and anus), and this pressure can harm nerves and slow blood flow. If you are an avid biker, you may want to make the following changes to your bike habits: 

Saddle shape: Studies have found that narrow bike saddles (those with a V-shape) can decrease oxygen to the penis by 82 percent. You will want to get a well-padded saddle to absorb the impact of your bike ride. 

Bike type: Recumbent bikes can put less pressure on your groin area and improve blood flow through the penis. You may want to alternate between traditional bikes and recumbent bikes if you are worried about ED symptoms. [6] 

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.