When you should talk to your doctor about ED

Written by Agatha Bordonaro

It's common and curable, but could be indicating health problems, so it's a good idea to talk to your doc!

When it comes to ED, you’re not alone. More than 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have experienced erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives. And it affects younger men, too: WebMD reports that the Grey Clinic, which specializes in erectile dysfunction, found that 17 percent of men between 18 and 55 experience occasional ED. In fact, up to 20 million Americans are dealing with it any time.

So what is ED? And at what point should you talk to your doctor about it?

What Counts as ED?

Simply put, erectile dysfunction is the inability to have or maintain an erection. Related symptoms or conditions may include reduced sexual desire, premature ejaculation or the inability to ejaculate.

What’s Causing My ED?

Nearly 75 percent of Ed cases have a physical cause, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
  • Sleep disorders
  • Certain prescription medications

It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you are experiencing ED to rule out possible physical causes. If you’ve ruled those out, keep in mind that your sexual arousal is a complex system that involves both the mind and body. Psychological factors—such as performance anxiety, stress, depression, or mixed feelings about a particular place, time or partner—can also play a role.

When should I see my doctor?

If ED happens occasionally, it’s probably no biggie - sporadic bouts can be caused by anxiety, stress or lack of sleep. Or it could be a side effect of alcohol or a medication you’re taking (always check the labels!)

If you notice that you’re having trouble getting or staying hard more regularly, or any related symptoms are popping up, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.