Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop erectile dysfunction with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing erectile dysfunction. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors include:
The incidence of erectile dysfunction rises with age, with about 5% at age 40, to 15%-25% at age 65 and older.
Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hardening of the arteries—arteriosclerosis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Curvature of the penis caused by scar tissue—Peyronie disease
- Endocrine disorders such as hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hyperprolactinemia, or Cushing syndrome
- Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, or stroke
- Myotonic dystrophy
- High blood pressure
- Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia
- Psychological problems such as stress, relationship issues, or having a new partner
Trauma, whether through an accident or surgery, can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction. Trauma may result from:
- Vascular surgery
- Urologic surgery such as prostate surgery
- Pelvic surgeries, especially for prostate cancer
- Spinal cord injury
Certain behaviors can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:
Certain medications can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:
- Those to treat high blood pressure
- Histamine blockers
If you suspect a medication may be affecting your sexual functioning, talk with your doctor. Do not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.
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Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113875/Erectile-dysfunction. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Rew KT, Heidelbaugh JJ. Erectile dysfunction. Am Fam Physician. 2016;94(10):820-827.
What is erectile dysfunction? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 1/29/2021