Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/27/2021
No one wants to get old any sooner than necessary. So when you experience old guy problems, it can be a slap in the face.
At age 30, erectile dysfunction can be particularly tough. No man wants to deal with any sort of decreased sexual function, but particularly not a young man. To say it can affect your quality of life is a massive understatement.
While ED at 30 is bad news, there is good news: You’re not alone and there are effective treatment options available.
Erectile dysfunction is commonly thought of as an old man’s problem, but that isn’t always the case. Yes, the likelihood you’re struggling with impotence increases with age — prevalence of ED among men in their 70s is four-times higher than men in their 20s — but that doesn’t mean having ED at 30 is unheard of.
An international study that looked at 27,000 men found that eight percent of men between 20 and 29 struggled with ED, and 11 percent between ages 30 and 39 did. That’s no small number. It means, if all of your friends are around age 30, too, roughly one-in-ten is dealing with impotence.
Of course, different studies have different conclusions, but research throughout Europe has put the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men under 40 at between one percent and 10 percent.
All that to say: You’re not in this alone.
There was a time when ED under age 40 was believed entirely psychological. So, people assumed it was due to performance anxiety or other stressors causing acute or chronic impotence. However, now we know better. The problems you’re experiencing with your sexual activity shouldn’t be chalked up to just being “all in your head.”
Psychological factors can cause impotence, and “psychogenic” ED is more common in young men than older men. That said, important physical factors could be causing your sexual dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is an important predictor of cardiovascular events. Yes, your ED at age 30 could be a sign that a heart attack is possible if you don’t address the underlying problems. This is particularly true for young men, in fact. Research has shown that when ED happens in younger men (under age 40) it is associated with an increased risk of cardiac event, but the same is less true for older men. It’s believed this is because both heart disease and ED can result from vascular (or blood flow) problems.
The first step in getting effective treatment for erectile dysfunction is determining its cause. A medical professional can help you do this.
Determining whether your difficulty with erectile function is caused by psychogenic factors or physical/organic may include a physical exam and a psychosocial exam. This simply means your doctor may ask about current stressors and your emotional health.
Signs that your ED may be psychological include: a sudden onset, major life stressors or events, decent erection quality during masturbation, and prior psychological problems. On the other hand, gradual onset, and difficulty getting an erection despite a normal libido may suggest a physical cause.
Regardless of cause, some lifestyle changes may help. Weight loss, regular exercise, quitting smoking, and managing stress can help.
For psychogenic ED, treating the underlying condition with antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, or talk therapy may be appropriate.
Your doctor may prescribe an ED medication to assist too. PDE-5 inhibitors are the first-line treatment for erectile dysfunction, even for men in their 30s. These include drugs like sildenafil (generic Viagra, or Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra), for example. They have varying dosages and timing, but all have been tested rigorously for safety and effectiveness.
In rare cases, surgery may be recommended for the treatment of ED.
Struggling with ED at age 30 isn’t all that common, but it’s not unheard of.
Yes, this is often a condition attributed to old guys, but young men occasionally deal with it too.
Fortunately, there are solutions available, and because ED can be a warning sign of bigger health problems, getting it solved is crucial.
Finding the right solution for your ED treatment first involves chatting with a doctor. They can help rule out serious medical conditions and determine if medication is a proper solution for you.
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