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Temporary Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men: Factors, Causes & Treatments

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Written by

Science&Humans

Medically approved by

Medically approved by

Maria Jacob

Last updated

Monday, February 26, 2024

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Erectile Dysfunction is a sexual hindrance in men where they are unable to have an erection. This may be temporary, short-term ed, long-term, situational or chronic. It is affected by several risk factors like vascular factors, neurological factors, hormonal factors, etc. Temporary Erectile Dysfunction reasons include physiological or psychological ones. In some cases, it is possible to cure ED, but in some cases, men have to deal with it lifelong. ED treatment is decided by the doctors post-tests that determine the causes. To avoid ED, men must have a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, avoid drugs, smoking and alcohol, and regulate stress. 

Erectile Dysfunction, or impotency, is a type of sexual dysfunction in men where they are unable to achieve or maintain a penile erection. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction involves hinderance in satisfaction of sexual activities, and harmed self-image. Even though it is one of the most common sexual problems faced by men, it is difficult to deal with. It could be chronic or temporary in nature. 

While age is a well-known factor in erectile dysfunction, young men often face temporary ED or short-term ED. This could be due to several reasons, like psychological or poor lifestyle, and ED treatment methods vary for each causation. 

ED is multifaceted, and dealing with it can become complicated. Two main components affect erectile dysfunction: physiologic and psychologic. There are several types of ED, and they are affected by multiple factors.

Short-term and Long-term ED

Many people face this issue for a short period. This isn’t necessarily a cause of concern and is called short-term ED. On the other hand, if the issue is prolonged, it is termed long-term ED. This may be caused by physical conditions like blocked arteries, nerve damage, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. 

ED caused by the aforementioned problems can be managed with medications, injections, or other therapies.

Situational ED

Temporary ED can mean that a person faces such problems only temporarily, and can be improved when brought in lifestyle changes. 

Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, consuming a healthier diet, engaging in routine physical activity, undertaking relaxing activities (to reduce stress), improving metabolism, etc. have been proven to help reduce short-term ED tendencies. Apart from these, people can undertake medication for erectile dysfunction. 

What is Temporary Erectile Dysfunction?

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Factors of ED

There are several changes that your body goes through which could act as an indicator to predict ED. Majority of such cases are associated with physical risk and predictive factors. The factors can be vascular, neurological, local penile, hormonal and drug-induced. The prevalence of ED increases with age (52% of men aged 40-70 face this).

Vascular factors

Amongst the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, smoking, eating a poor diet, and obesity cause chronic inflammation that hinders the function of blood vessels. This can decrease the availability of nitric oxide (NO) which is an essential molecule to get an erection. NO is a vasodilator, which helps relax blood vessels. 

Vascular diseases include those that damage blood vessels like atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). Cardiovascular diseases are high in the list of risk factors for ED. This may happen due to the fact that coronary arteries (ones that supply blood to the heart muscle) and penile cavernosal arteries (provide blood supply to the penis) tend to develop similar atherosclerotic problems.

Neurological factors

This includes co-morbidities like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s 

Such diseases can hinder the individual’s experience of stimulating and engaging in sexual intercourse. Neurological conditions can alter the way sexual stimuli are perceived and processed (can limit/prevent arousal).

Hormonal factors

Stress causes an increase in the production of the hormone epinephrine. That makes it difficult for the muscles and blood vessels in the penis to relax. Metabolic syndrome is proven to lead to ED. Low testosterone levels can result in a low sex drive, thus creating the problem. Hyperprolactinemia causes disruptions in sexual activities as it decreases testosterone levels. This can be corrected by leveling prolactin. 

Thyroid hormone disorders (hyper and hypothyroidism) are associated with erectile dysfunction as well. ED treatment for this can be done along with the particular thyroid disorder itself.

Drug-induced

Alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and other drugs are also known to cause ED.

Causes of Temporary Erectile Dysfunction

Poor health in general leads to lower sexual desires or interests. Apart from health, age has been categorised under significant risk factors for ED. Even if only one cause is recognised at the beginning, it is often observed that soon other conditions follow. Erectile dysfunction reasons include the following:

Psychological causes

Depression, poor body image, and performance anxiety are some of the causes that can affect erectile functions. People with anxiety and chronic stress also face problems during sexual intercourse. 

With an increase in workload and competition in work space, stress has been on an all-time rise too. If not dealt with regularly, this can become chronic stress which, as discussed, can cause ED. 

Even if men don’t face such issues prior to ED, being diagnosed with it may lead to a lot of mental pressure, may damage relationships and self-esteem, increase stress and create anxiety. In a lot of such cases, medication for erectile dysfunction is not necessary and can be resolved by regular counseling sessions.

Lifestyle causes

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Health conditions

Depression, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, Peyronie’s disease, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, any complication during the treatment of prostate cancer, injuries to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder or pelvis, etc. can become co-morbidities or erectile dysfunction reasons.  

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is shown to be a significant risk factor for ED. It is theorised that metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors are more severe for young men than older men. The symptoms suggesting CVD, if left unrecognised at an early age could potentially be more harmful as they grow older. 

Hormonal imbalances are often observed in young men, which could inevitably lead to temporary if not chronic erectile dysfunction. For example, if there exist endocrine disorders, like adrenal insufficiency, it is highly likely that the individual will face at least some intensity of ED. Treating this with glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement is shown to improve erectile function.

Medications

There are several medications for physical conditions that may cause or affect the erection negatively. Antidepressants like clorazepate, oxazepam, etc., high blood pressure medicines like thiazides, and several medicines that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease are present in chemotherapy and painkillers are all proven to cause erectile dysfunction. 

This can be dealt with either avoiding such medicines or taking specific medication for erectile dysfunction’s treatment after consulting the doctors.

Diagnosing temporary ED

Occasionally, men face ED and it isn’t a point of concern. Although, if faced often, consulting a doctor as a precaution is always okay. They can accurately diagnose and pinpoint the cause of the issue, which helps in resolving it. Without knowing exactly what is causing an erectile dysfunction, it is not possible to treat it properly. 

There are a couple of symptoms of erectile dysfunction. If the penis is not able to achieve a complete erection at any point of time, it is advised to go for a check-up soon. If there is an erection in the mornings or during masturbation, but not in front of your partner, the cause is likely psychological, which necessitates a visit to a therapist. There are always normal reasons for men to not get an erection in the mornings, which is why it becomes essential to get it clarified with a doctor, but there is no reason to panic.

ED treatment: can Temporary erectile dysfunction be cured?

Depending on the cause, symptoms of erectile dysfunction can be cured/managed or has to be dealt with throughout life. A study found that 29% of men (from a sample of 810 men) with erectile dysfunction improve their condition post 5 years. The cause becomes clear only once men consult their doctors. This is important and must be done as soon as symptoms are noticed. 

Usually, people with a poor lifestyle can correct it with dedication and a couple of right choices. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying away from addictive drugs and alcohol are all good and necessary actions to be taken. 

Natural therapies like aromatherapy might help relax the mind and reduce stress, but it is advisable to consult with doctors before engaging. Quitting smoking as it can cause damage to blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis is an essential step. 

First-line therapy is phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil. Mental health care for psychogenic ED. Communicating with your partner, and respecting each other are important. Injections, surgery, and shockwave therapy are all options that can treat ED. 

Intracavernosal Injection (ICI) of stem cells has been seen as a way to rescue damaged cavernous nerves. Cells derived from the human placenta, bone marrow and adipose tissue can be used for the treatment of ED. Regenerative therapies with stem cells are proven to help men who have undergone prostate cancer treatment or those who face diabetes mellitus. 

Taking medication for erectile dysfuntion like Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, yohimbe, and L-arginine may help, provided the doctor clears them. Testosterone replacement therapy is an option if ED is caused by a hormonal imbalance. This increases muscle mass and strength along with improved sexual function.

FAQs

Q. What if my ED is caused due to stress?

A. People who face Erectile Dysfunction due to psychological issues like stress, depression, anxiety, etc. must visit a therapist and receive psychosexual counselling.

Q. How long does ED last?

A. The duration of facing this problem differs per individual and the causes. If you face ED due to anxiety, some time with a therapist might resolve this problem. But at the same time, if you face ED due to hormonal imbalance, you may need to undergo treatments like Testosterone Replacement Treatment. Best to consult a doctor for specific advice.

Q.  How do I tell my partner that I can’t get an erection?

A. It is advised that you talk this through with your therapist. It can be difficult, but communication is required to minimise the adverse effects.

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