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A subject like erectile dysfunction is bound to be surrounded with as much legend as fact when it comes to causes and treatments. Check out these six common myths about ED and the facts to dispel the rumors.

Erectile Dysfunction and Age

Myth: ED is just a normal part of growing older and men just have to learn to live with it.

Fact: Although ED is more common among older men, that doesn’t make it “normal” -- or something you just have to live with. It’s not unusual for older men to need more stimulation to help get them aroused than they did when they were younger. But there’s no reason you should have to accept a lack of sexual function as one of the inevitable consequences of getting older. Many men are able to get erections and enjoy sex well into their senior years, and there’s very likely no reason that you can’t be one of them.

Myth: Erectile dysfunction doesn’t hit younger men. It’s only a problem for older guys.

Fact: Although erectile dysfunction is more common in men over 75, men of any age can develop erectile problems.

Erectile Dysfunction and Overall Health

Myth: ED may be upsetting, but there’s nothing dangerous about it.

Fact: Although the ED itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, ED is often one of the earliest warning signs of other underlying health conditions that can be quite serious. One of the most common underlying health conditions is diabetes. Erection problems can also be a symptom of heart problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or atherosclerosis, as well as hormone imbalances and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

That’s why it is essential to see your doctor if you have erectile dysfunction. Not only can a thorough medical examination help you identify the cause of the problem and find a treatment that can return you to a more active sex life, it may also alert you to a bigger health condition that needs immediate treatment.

So if you are experiencing erectile problems, it is important to see a qualified physician immediately for a complete physical examination and testing. You can find an urologist in your area by contacting the American Urological Association.

Myth: If you have trouble getting an erection, it’s because you’re not attracted to your partner.

Fact: There are many reasons why a man might experience erection problems. Although lack of sexual attraction to one’s partner might be one of them, it’s actually far more likely to be something else. ED can be caused by:

  • Heart problems, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes -- between 35% and 50% of men with diabetes experience ED
  • A variety of prescription drugs, including medications for blood pressure, anxiety, and depression
  • Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mood or emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Certain types of prostate and bladder surgery