What are the risk factors for erectile dysfunction?

Answers from Carl F. Anderson, M.D.

Various risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Medical conditions. Examples include diabetes and heart conditions.
  • Tobacco use. Smoking restricts blood flow to blood vessels. Over time tobacco use can cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Being overweight. This can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
  • Certain medical treatments. Examples include prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer.
  • Certain injuries. An injury that damages the nerves that control erections can lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Certain medications. Examples include antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure or prostate cancer.
  • Psychological conditions. Stress, anxiety or depression can play a role.
  • Drug and alcohol use. Drinking too much or taking certain illegal drugs can worsen erectile dysfunction directly or by causing long-term health problems.
  • Prolonged bicycling. This can compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis, leading to temporary erectile dysfunction.
Jun. 20, 2014 See more Expert Answers