Skip to content

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

Font Size

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

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction -- Symptoms

Being unable to have or keep an erection adequate for sexual activity is the defining mark of erectile dysfunction. The problem may manifest itself in several ways. If the dysfunction: Is transient or appearing only occasionally, the problem is not likely to be serious; all men experience problems with erections at some time in their lives. Develops gradually and persistently, there is probably a physical cause; this is generally the case with chronic impotence. Develops...

Read the Understanding Erectile Dysfunction -- Symptoms 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    handsome midadult man
    11 tips to protect your erection.
    man and woman on beach
    How much do you know about ED?
     
    stress in bed
    Things that can deflate erections.
    senior couple hugging
    How medications work.
     
    concerned man
    Article
    stress in bed
    Slideshow
     
    Life Cycle of a Penis
    Article
    Mens Body Problem
    Slideshow
     
    bored man
    Article
    Lamm Erections Over Life
    Video
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Article
    senior couple hugging
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections