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Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction) - What Increases Your Risk

Your risk of having an erection problem increases with age. Other things that increase your risk include:

  • Diseases that affect blood vessels, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. About half of men with diabetes develop erection problems.
  • Diseases that affect nerves. These include multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
  • Medicines.
  • Smoking or using tobacco.
  • Other health problems, such as low testosterone levels.
  • Injuries to the pelvic area, a spinal cord injury, or treatment such as pelvic surgery or radiation in the pelvic area.
  • Using substances, such as long-term (chronic) alcohol abuse.
  • Psychological risk factors, such as depression or a recent life change.

Activities that constrict blood flow to the penis may increase the risk for erection problems. For example, frequent long-distance bicycle riding on a hard, narrow saddle may increase risk. But the possible link between bike riding and erection problems has not been proved. Experts continue to debate this issue.

Recommended Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction Treatments for Men With Diabetes

Diabetes is a common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED). Erections depend on blood supply, and diabetes affects the blood vessels and blood supply to all organs -- heart, brain, kidneys, and penis. In fact, a man with ED is at risk for heart disease. Clinical experience and numerous studies suggest that at least half of all male diabetes patients will experience difficulties with erections. Men with diabetes are up to three times more likely to have ED and appear to get it earlier in life. The significance...

Read the Erectile Dysfunction Treatments for Men With Diabetes article > >

A vasectomy usually doesn't cause erection problems. But pain after the operation may affect sexual performance for a time. And if a man wasn't comfortable with his decision to have a vasectomy, or if he's having second thoughts, it could affect him psychologically.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 27, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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