Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem effecting men of all ages. In the US, about 35% of males aged 40-70 have moderate to severe erectile difficulties. ED is strongly related to both physical health and lifestyle factors. The most common risk factors for developing ED are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and advancing age. The prevalence in men with diabetes has been estimated to be as high as 50%. In addition, the chance of ED is greater among men who have undergone radiation or prostate surgery. Life style factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption and sedentary behavior are additional risk factors. The psychological correlates of erectile dysfunction include anxiety, depression and anger.
As men age, testicular tissue mass decreases and the level of the male sex hormone testosterone decreases. There may be problems with erectile function or decreasing libido. However, this is a general slowing, rather than a complete lack of function. The prostate gland enlarges with age as some of the prostate tissue is replaced with a scar like tissue. This condition, called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), affects about 50% of men. This may cause problems with slowed urination, as well as with ejaculation. Decreases in sex drive (libido) may occur in some men. Sexual responses may become slower and less intense. This may be related to decreased testosterone level, but it may also result from psychological or social changes related to aging (such as the lack of a willing partner), illness, chronic conditions, or medications.
Despite its increasing prevalence among older men, erectile dysfunction is not considered a normal or inevitable part of the aging process. You should seek help for this problem because many treatment options are available. The urologic specialists at the Pelvic Health Institute provide private consultation and individualized treatments that are based on your diagnosis. Treatment options include education on behavioral & lifestyle changes, medication management, and minimally invasive surgery.