erection troubles

1 in 10 men have significant erection problems.

All about Erection Troubles

Having occasional trouble getting an erection or keeping an erection hard is nothing to worry about. Sometimes our trouble is caused by tiredness, alcohol, or mood.

But having erection troubles more than 50% of the time is a sign there’s a problem that needs treatment.

The most common reason for erection trouble is poor blood flow to the penis. This is most often a result of damaged arteries caused by heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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  • Being unable to get an erection
  • Only getting soft erections or partial erections
  • Losing hardness sooner than normal
  • No morning erections

Having these symptoms more than 50% of the time may be a sign of the following illnesses:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Low testosterone or high estrogen
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Erection trouble may also be a side effect of:

  • Medications such as antidepressants, pain killers, blood pressure pills
  • Drinking too much
  • Smoking
  • Prostate or bladder surgery
  • Radiation treatment on testicles
  • Brain or spinal injury

If you have erection trouble when having sex with a partner, and not when masturbating, then the cause is more likely to be psychological. If you don’t get erections when masturbating, and you don’t get morning erections, then the cause is more likely to be physical.

Men with HEART DISEASE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, and DIABETES often have erection troubles. These conditions restrict the flow of blood to the penis, and you need good blood flow to get an erection.

Men who SMOKE. Smoking also damages your blood vessels and restricts blood flow to the penis.

Men who DRINK TOO MUCH. Alcohol abuse leads to liver damage which causes an increase in estrogen, resulting in erection troubles.

Men on MEDICATION. Some medicines such as antidepressants, pain killers, and blood pressure pills can cause erection trouble as a side effect.

Men with BRAIN & NERVE DAMAGE. This may be a result of injury or illness such as STROKE, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, or PARKINSON’S DISEASE.

Men recovering from PROSTATE or TESTICULAR surgery. Erection trouble after these operations may last a few months or it may be permanent.

YOUNG MEN: The most common cause of erection trouble in young men is psychological. Anxiety, worry, and depression can all cause erection troubles.

MIDDLE AGED MEN: We estimate 20% of men over 40 have significant erection trouble. The likelihood of having erection trouble increases as we get older, mainly because we develop other illnesses and conditions that cause erection trouble, such as those listed above.

OLDER MEN: We estimate 45% of men over 75 have significant erection trouble.

It is important for your health, and for the health of your relationship that you seek help and advice from a doctor. Doctors deal with this stuff every day, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. Just tell it how it is.

Your doctor will take your blood pressure and check your heart rate, and they might do a physical examination of your man bits. They’ll ask what medication you’re on, and talk to you about your stress and anxiety levels. You may be sent for tests to check your hormone, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

The longer you let it go on, the more strain it will place on you and your partner. Talk openly with your doctor about it so they can identify what’s causing your erection troubles and prescribe the correct treatment.

Treatment options for erection trouble will depend on what’s causing it. It’s important to treat the underlying cause, and not just the symptom.

Treatment options may include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as drinking less, eating healthy, exercise, stopping smoking, losing weight
  • Strengthening your pelvic floor. Talk to a physiotherapist (specifically a pelvic health specialist if you can find one in your area) about a pelvic floor exercise prescription.
  • Medication to treat the physical or psychological cause (find out about causes in the “Who Gets It?” section above)
  • Changing your current medications
  • Counseling for you as an individual, or with your partner
  • Erection pills, injections, penis pumps

If you’re still having significant erection trouble after following your doctor’s advice, you can ask to be referred to a specialist.

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Causes of Erection Troubles



Here are some useful brochures and resources that you can download for more information on erection troubles.


If you would like to share your story about how you overcame your erection troubles we’d love to hear from you. Fill in the form and we’ll get in touch.