Although the condition is usually associated with older men, research indicates that erectile dysfunction in young men is far more common than you would think. According to a 2006 study conducted by Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, nearly 13% of college-aged men experience occasional erectile dysfunction symptoms, with the percentage skyrocketing to an estimated 25% among those who drink alcohol on a regular basis.

These findings also led researchers to another surprising revelation – the unexpectedly-high percentage of young men who use erectile dysfunction drugs. As part of the study, a survey was conducted which revealed that 6% of respondents had used Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra at some point to counteract their episodes of erectile dysfunction.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

The majority of young men surveyed in the aforementioned study attributed their ED to the abuse of drugs (with marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine being the most-prevalent) and alcohol. While this disclosure came as no surprise given the demographic involved, the fact that the remaining 33% of respondents believed their erectile dysfunction to have a psychological cause was somewhat unexpected.

1. Psychological Factors

As is the case with older men, psychological factors are the most-common cause of erectile dysfunction in young men. Performance anxiety was identified as the leading culprit of ED in this group (and the primary motivation for using drugs like Viagra), but stress-related factors and depression were also mentioned with increasing frequency proportional to the respondent’s age.

2. Vascular Diseases

The second-leading cause of erectile dysfunction in young men was identified as the group of circulatory problems collectively identified as “vascular diseases”. Foremost among these is diabetes which, according to Dr. Tony Sliwinski of the Virginia Urology Center, causes erectile dysfunction in as much as 75% of its reported cases.

3. Behavioral Causes

The third-most common cause of ED among the test subjects was behavioral. Smoking and inactivity (i.e., lack of regular exercise) were identified as the most-common among these, with the percentage of young men reporting episodes of erectile dysfunction mirroring those of older men with the same behavioral issues.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

The prescribed treatments of erectile dysfunction in young men are identical to those used for older ED sufferers. The only major difference is that an increased emphasis is generally placed on counseling since erection problems that develop at a young age often lead to significant psychological complications, regardless of their root cause. This phenomenon is even more prevalent in younger men, because of the fact that ED is so commonly (albeit, incorrectly) labeled as an “old man’s problem”.

The Importance of Seeking Treatment

A final finding provided by the Chicago group study was that younger men are far-less likely to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction than their older counterparts. Due to the aforementioned stigma associated with ED in youth, shame often prevents those who struggle with the problem from coming forward for, in many cases, years. As is the case with most other health issues, erectile dysfunction in young men is treatable – but only after the affected individual seeks treatment. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction in young men, make an appointment with a physician to discuss your problem and undergo a diagnosis.

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