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How Common is Erectile Dysfunction? Top 9 ED Statistics

Do you have questions about erectile dysfunction? You're not alone. In fact, approximately 3 million Canadians are affected by ED even though we don't talk about it nearly enough.

This can be a difficult topic to talk about, but it's important that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your health.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common erectile dysfunction statistics and provide you with resources so that you can get help if you are struggling with this condition.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to attain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

As we mentioned before, erectile dysfunction is quite common. In fact, according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 will experience some form of ED.

While this number may seem high, it's important to remember that not all men will experience erectile dysfunction to the same degree. For some men, it may be an occasional problem. For others, it may be a more persistent issue.

What is the main cause of erectile dysfunction?

The primary causes of erectile dysfunction are nerve damage or limited blood flow to the penis. This can result in trouble getting or maintaining an erection that is firm enough for sex. 

The risk of erectile dysfunction can be increased by a variety of factors, including:

  • Age - As men age, they are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. This is due in part to the changes that occur in the body with age. These changes can include things like a decrease in testosterone levels and circulation problems.
  • Obesity - Obesity is a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction. This is because obesity is often comorbid with a variety of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Both of these conditions can cause erectile dysfunction.
  • Diabetes - Diabetes is a common risk factors erectile dysfunction. This is because diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that are needed for an erection.
  • High blood pressure - High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels and nerves that are needed for an erection.
  • Heart disease - Heart disease is one of the most common risk factors of erectile dysfunction. This is because heart disease can impact the blood flow that is needed for an erection.
  • Sleep disorders - Sleep disorders are another risk factor for erectile dysfunction. This is because a lack of sleep can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications.

In many cases, erectile dysfunction is a result of a combination of physical and psychological factors.

Psychological risk factors of erectile dysfunction can include:

  • Anxiety - Men who are anxious about their sexual performance, or suffering from generalized anxiety, may develop erectile dysfunction. This is because anxiety can interfere with the brain's ability to send signals to the penis that are needed for an erection.
  • Depression - Depression is another psychological risk factor for erectile dysfunction. 
  • Stress - Stress is also a risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
  • Relationship issues - Relationship issues are also a risk factor for erectile dysfunction as they are an added element of stress that can impede sexual performance.

Treating erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or keep an erection. It can be caused by physical problems, psychological issues, or a combination of both.

While there is no cure for erectile dysfunction, there are treatments available that can help. The most common treatment options are oral medications and penile injections.

Oral medications, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra), work by inhibiting the action of the enzyme phosphodiesterase (PDE5). During sexual stimulation, the body releases nitric oxide which then stimulates the production of cyclic GMP, which allows for increased blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection.

Cyclic GMP is broken down by phosphodiesterase, which can lead to a loss of erection. PDE5 inhibitors, like Viagra, work by slowing the breakdown of cGMP by PDE, thus helping to maintain an erection.

Penile injections, such as alprostadil (Caverject, Edex), papaverine (Pavabid), and phentolamine (Regitine), work by widening the blood vessels in the penis.

Erectile dysfunction statistics

Unfortunately, there is a significant stigma surrounding erectile dysfunction, which means that many men are reluctant to talk about it, even with their doctor.

This can make it difficult to get accurate information and statistics about the condition.

To help address this, we've compiled a list of important and stigma-shedding erectile dysfunction statistics.

1. A cross-sectional study of 3921 Canadian men, age 40 to 88, found the overall prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) was 49.4%, and therefore erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 3 million Canadian men over the age of 40. (Source: bcmj.org)

As you can see, erectile dysfunction is far from uncommon and affects a significant portion of the population.

If you're experiencing erectile dysfunction, know that you're not alone, and there are treatment options available to you.

2. 1 in 10 men is estimated to have erectile dysfunction at some point in their lifetime. (Source: The Cleveland Clinic)

As we've already discussed, there are a range of causes for erectile dysfunction, many of which are highly treatable. So, if you think you may be experiencing erectile dysfunction, don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare practitioner.

Treating erectile dysfunction can have a profound impact on a man's quality of life, and it can also be an important step in managing other health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating erectile dysfunction, there are a number of effective treatments available.

3. Men older than 40 are three times as likely to experience complete ED than younger men. (Source: Journal of Urology

Age is one of the most common causes of ED. As men get older, they may experience a decline in testosterone levels, which can lead to ED.

However, unlike many other age-related conditions, ED is not inevitable. There are a range of treatments available that can help men overcome ED and enjoy a healthy sex life.

4. Men with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ED and retrograde ejaculation. (Source: bcmj.org)

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. About five percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes usually appears in childhood or adolescence. Men with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ED and retrograde ejaculation than men with type 2 diabetes, probably because of the greater degree of autonomic nervous system involvement in type 1 diabetes.

There are a number of studies that suggest erectile dysfunction is more common in men with type 1 diabetes, with one study suggesting that up to 35% of men may be affected.

5. Epidemiological studies of ED suggest approximately 5% to 20% of men have moderate to severe ED. (Source: bcmj.org)

This means that out of every 100 men, anywhere from five to 20 will experience ED symptoms severe enough to impact their quality of life.

6. Erectile dysfunction is not as common for younger men to experience; it affects about a quarter (26%) of men under the age of 40. (Source: singlecare.com)

Erectile dysfunction isn’t just restricted to older men. It can affect young men as well.  This statistic just goes on to show that even young men are not spared from this problem.

Treatment for ED is easily available and you should not hesitate to seek help if you think you have ED.

Do not let erectile dysfunction get in the way of a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship with your partner.

7. People with depression have a 39% higher chance of developing ED than those without depression. (Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine)

Clinical depression and its treatments have been linked to erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, common antidepressants, such as SSRIs have been linked to erectile dysfunction. If you’re on one of these medications and struggling with ED, speak to your healthcare practitioner.

8. 1 in 6 infertile men is affected by ED or premature ejaculation. (Source: Nature Reviews Urology)

There is some evidence that erectile dysfunction in infertile men might be an early marker of poor general health and that, in infertile men, an investigation of sexual, general, and psychological health status is advisable to improve reproductive problems and general health

9. By 2025, the prevalence of ED is predicted to be approximately 322 million worldwide. (Source: hopkinsmedicine.org)

With 322 million men suffering from ED worldwide, it is predicted to be a leading cause of sexual disability in men by 2025. This number does not include the millions of men who suffer from undiagnosed ED, which means the actual number is likely much higher.

This statistic only highlights how many men are impacted by ED. If you’re one of the 322 million men suffering from ED, know that you are not alone and there are treatments available to help you regain your confidence and enjoy a healthy sex life.

Key Takeaways

It’s also important to remember that erectile dysfunction is not your fault. You are not alone, and there is help available. If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, don’t suffer in silence. Want to discuss your treatment options? Connect with one of Felix's healthcare practitioners today.

WRITTEN BY
Felix Team
Updated on:
June 21, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sarah Peltz
Urologist, MD, FRCSC
Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Active Ingredients, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.

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