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
- Arteriosclerosis—hardening of the arteries
- Chronic kidney disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Peyronie's disease (bending of the penis caused by scar tissue)
Neurological disorders, such as
- Myotonic dystrophy
- High blood pressure
Psychiatric disorders, such as
- Psychological problems (stress, personal relationships, new partners)
Trauma, whether through an accident or surgery, can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction. Trauma includes:
- Vascular surgery
Urologic surgery, such as
- Pelvic surgeries (particularly for prostate cancer)
- Spinal cord injury
Certain behaviors can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:
- Alcohol use
- Illegal drug use, such as heroin and marijuana
- Anabolic steroid use
- Heavy smoking
Certain medications can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:
- 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. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
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Erectile dysfunction. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
Accessed March 8, 2016.
Guay AT, Spark RF, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: a couple’s problem. 2003 update.
Sivalingam S, Hashim H, et al. An overview of the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Webber R. Erectile dysfunction.
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