The top most common causes of erectile dysfunction, according to experts

Erectile dysfunction is more common than you might think.

Despite the fact that it affects 26% of men under 40 and a whopping half of men over 40, there’s still a lot of shame surrounding it.

Indeed, half of men with erectile dysfunction report feeling a sense of failure, and 15% feel so bad about it, they avoid sex altogether.

But before we get into the common reasons why these bedroom problems can occur, our advice is to visit a GP if you start experiencing repeated issues getting and/or maintaining your erection.

They’ll be best placed to help you get a diagnosis and help you get things in your bedroom back on track.

Mental health

Your mental health can play an absolutely gigantic role in your sex life.

Dr Catherine Hood, a sexual medicine expert, tells ‘In younger men, ED is often rooted in psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, and sexual inhibitions.’

If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are resources out there that can help you.

For instance, there’s Hub of Hope, run by the charity Chasing the Stigma, NHS talking therapies, and Samaritans Self-Help.


While being a plus-sized king doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have problems maintaining your erections, it sadly does increase your chances.

Dr Catherine, who’s also an advisor to Eroxon, an over-the-counter erectile dysfunction treatment gel, says: ‘Four out of five men who experience erectile issues are overweight or obese, and having a BMI of 30 or more triples the risk of ED.

‘When you consider that two-thirds of men are now overweight or obese, it is easy to see why the number of men having difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection continues to rise so relentlessly.

‘It’s important to try and take steps to lose weight to reduce the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.’

That’s not to say you need to go on a diet if you start having issues in the bedroom – losing weight is a serious business that’s not to be undertaken lightly.

If that’s something you’re concerned, it’s best to get a healthcare professional’s opinion first.

Testosterone deficiency

‘Testosterone deficiency is estimated to affect at least 8% of men aged 50 to 79,’ says Dr Janine David, an erectile dysfunction specialist who also works closely with Eroxon.

‘Plus, testosterone deficiency is linked to several other conditions including obesity, osteoporosis and cognitive decline. It can often go by undetected and untreated as symptoms such as poor concentration, tiredness, and depression are often put down to signs of ageing.

‘Only a third of adults with experience of ED are aware of testosterone deficiency being a risk, according to Eroxon’s new research.’

If your doctor finds that you do have a testosterone deficiency – which can be determined with a blood test – you may get a prescription for HRT to help.

A deeper health problem

Erectile dysfunction can, in some cases, be a sign that something more complex is wrong – from Parkinson’s to alcoholism.

Dr Janine says: ‘In older men, the most common reason for erectile problems is lack of blood flow to the penis.

‘The penis is often an indicator of men’s cardiovascular health and ED can be an early sign of more serious problems, such as a hardening of the arteries or diabetes.

‘If you’re finding that ED is a recurring problem, please do visit your GP to unearth what may be causing it.’

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