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There was a time when erectile dysfunction was considered an “old man’s” condition, affecting men over 40 and most typically men in their 60s and 70s. However, a 2013 article in The Journal of Sexual Medicine paints a different picture. An estimated one in four patients who are newly diagnosed with ED are “young” (under 40, many in their 20s), leaving doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists wondering why.

Shrouded in speculation

The truth is, there are many reasons this could be happening and just as with older patients, ED in young men must be addressed on a case by case basis. There is no single cause so doctors must look at both physical and psychological issues that could be the origin of the problem.

Of course, speculation abounds. Some rooted in fact, others with no scientific basis whatsoever. This can both harm and help patients who are looking for answers. As with most conditions that have no single cause, the speculation runs the gamut from processed foods to depression to porn to “hookup culture.” While some of these claims may have a certain degree of validity, they only scratch the surface in most cases. Often it goes much deeper.

The usual suspects.

By now it is well known that ED can be caused by physical and psychological factors – and that they often overlap or exacerbate each other. Medications are a very common culprit for ED and the National Center for Health Statistics reports that 6% of 12 to 19 year olds in the US are taking ADHD medication while 5% take antidepressants.

These types of drugs are notorious for impacting sexual function – and not in a good way. They not only interfere with the ability to get an erection and maintain it, they also decrease sensitivity both physically and emotionally which is the impetus for powerful, satisfying sex. What makes this so important is that these young men often continue the use of these medications into their 20s and 30s and even beyond.

Injury is another common cause which can occur outside of the bedroom as well as in it. Sexual injury is more common than most people realize, but it can be debilitating. Other common causes include depression, anxiety, pressure to procreate, performance anxiety, and more deep seated psychological issues like sexual abuse and fear or shame.

The stigma has to go!

The fact of the matter is erectile dysfunction can happen to anyone at any age. If it is an ongoing issue, then it is vital that you talk to your doctor about it to rule out any underlying health issues. From there you can begin exploring the possible causes and finding solutions.

But in order for that to happen, the self-imposed stigma that many men put on themselves when it comes to ED has to go. Erectile is not a taboo subject that you must whisper about or keep to yourself. It is a valid medical condition that can often be treated successfully.

At Arc Men’s Health we approach your concerns with compassion and care. We understand that erectile dysfunction goes far beyond just being able to get or maintain an erection. It is important to you, so it is important to us. Our Acoustic Wave Therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment that has helped so many men. Call today to schedule a discrete consultation to find out if it will work for you too.

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