What are the risk factors for erectile dysfunction?

Answers from Carl F. Anderson, M.D.
Various risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including:
• Medical conditions. Examples include diabetes and heart conditions.
• Tobacco use. Smoking restricts blood flow to blood vessels. Over time tobacco use can cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction.
• Being overweight. This can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
• Certain medical treatments. Examples include prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer.
• Certain injuries. An injury that damages the nerves that control erections can lead to erectile dysfunction.
• Certain medications. Examples include antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure or prostate cancer.
• Psychological conditions. Stress, anxiety or depression can play a role.
• Drug and alcohol use. Drinking too much or taking certain illegal drugs can worsen erectile dysfunction directly or by causing long-term health problems.
• Prolonged bicycling. This can compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis, leading to temporary erectile dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction symptoms might include persistent:
• Trouble getting an erection
• Trouble keeping an erection
• Reduced sexual desire
A family doctor is a good place to start when you have erectile problems. See your doctor if:
• You have concerns about your erections or you’re experiencing other sexual problems
• You have diabetes, heart disease or another known health condition that might be linked to erectile dysfunction
• You have other symptoms along with erectile dysfunction.

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