10 Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in Men Over Age 40

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Erectile dysfunction is a frustrating erection problem that affects nearly 30 million men.  The causes of erectile dysfunction in men are associated with the repeated or persistent difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.

It might happen occasionally, called temporary erectile dysfunction or it may be chronic, called chronic erectile dysfunction, which means it happens frequently  nearly every time a man attempts vaginal penetration.

There are several diseases and illnesses that can contribute to or even cause erectile dysfunction or erection problems.  The good news is that there are treatments that can help men regain normal sexual function.


What the the 10 Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in Men?

man in bed with erectile dysfunction

There are several different causes of erectile dysfunction in men over age 40.  In this article, we will discuss the 10 most common causes of organic erectile dysfunction symptoms in men.

Some causes of erectile dysfunction are physical.  These include:

1. • Type 2 Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

This is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction in men.  Type 2 Diabetes can result in nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy, caused by poor long-term blood sugar control.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is particularly insidious.  As it progresses and damages nerves in extremities, like the penis and other parts of the body, many men are unaware of it because pain sensors are numbed.

Many men only learn their ED symptoms are due to Type 2 Diabetes when they go to the doctor to discuss their erection problems.


2. • What is Heart disease

Heart disease impacts efficient blood flow in the body as plaque builds up inside and hardens arteries.  Since plaque build up in the arteries restricts blood circulation and the penis needs a large amount of blood, heart disease eventually lead to erectile dysfunction.

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3. • High blood pressure and ED in Men

Per the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction in men over age 40.  This condition can damage the lining of blood vessels, which results in hardening of the arteries, a condition  called  (atherosclerosis), or heart disease, which limits blood flow.

Ultimately, this means less blood is able to flow to the penis thus making it difficult to achieve  or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.


man having blood pressure checked


4. • Can High cholesterol Cause ED in Men

There are two types of cholesterol.  HDL (high-density lipoprotein) also called good cholesterol and the more devious LDL Cholsterol (Low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol.  You want good cholesterol and avoid LDL cholesterol. 

LDL Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that floats in the bloodstream.  Over time LDL cholesterol creates arterial plaque, that damages and blocks blood flow. Eventually if unaddressed, this will cause heart disease.  This condition is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction.


5. • Metabolic syndrome and Sex

Metabolic syndrome is comprised of metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  This condition, which is one of the prominent causes of erectile dysfunction affects up to 35% of men over age 40.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors

  • LDL-cholesterol
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Triglycerides
  • Elevated blood glucose levels
  • Increased belly fat
  • other warning signs

In a study of 1300 men with metabolic syndrome, and 380 men were classified as obese and had symptoms of erectile dysfunction.


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6. • Multiple sclerosis and Impotence in Men

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that causes your immune system to attack  myelin, a fatty material which wraps around your nerve fibers to protect them. Without this outer shell, your nerves become damaged, and can’t correctly send signals through your body.

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WebMD reports MS can lead to erectile dysfunction in men, as they lose genital sensation and numbness, thus preventing men from engaging in normal healthy sexual function.


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7. • Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction

Similar to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease affects the central nervous system.  This condition can lead to erectile dysfunction in men due to the loss of normal sexual function.

Men with Parkinson’s can have the following issues:

  • lack of sexual desire
  • low libido
  • difficulties with orgasmic functioning
  • physical pain can make sex painful or uncomfortable
  • Inability to achieve or maintain an erection


8. • Testosterone Deficiency

Per NIH, testosterone deficiency is associated with a decline in erectile function.  Low Testosterone levels are correlated with increasing severity of erectile dysfunction symptoms.  A study found a significant number of men who fail to respond to a PDE5 inhibitor, such as Viagra, are oftentimes found to be testosterone deficient.


9. • Atherosclerosis and Erectile Dysfunction

One of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction in men over 40 is atherosclerosis, which a clogging or narrowing of the blood vessels.  Heart disease can also cause heart attacks or even stroke. 

When arteries become hardened and narrow, blood flow is constricted.  An erection requires a large amount of blood flow.  The lack of blood flow due to atherosclerosis, leads to weak erection.


10. Affects of Prostate surgery

Men with prostate cancer often have surgery to remove the cancer.  Some prostate cancer treatments may affect the nerves, muscles, or blood vessels that let you have an erection.   When you have a radical prostatectomy, this is surgery to remove your prostate gland.

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These nerves, blood vessels, and muscles may be weakened or damaged when you have surgery for your prostate cancer.  This can lead to temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction, especially if the nerves are severed or damaged.

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