Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to develop or maintain a strong enough erection to engage in sexual activity. Healthcare professionals still refer to it occasionally as “impotence,” but they do so less frequently these days to avoid confusing it with other, non-medical uses of the word. Erectile dysfunction is extremely typical. In the US, it affects roughly 30 million males.

causes of erectile dysfunction

The odd erection problem is not usually cause for concern. However, if erectile dysfunction persists, it may hurt your relationships, make you feel insecure, and cause stress. In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, difficulties getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated. Here, in this article, we will see the causes of erectile dysfunction in the 30s, causes of painful erections.

Table of Contents

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Your chances of developing  Erectile dysfunction may be increased due to the following causes.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in 30's

You may believe that erectile dysfunction (ED) exclusively affects older men as a man in his 30s. But ED can strike anyone at any age, and it can be caused by several different things. We’ll look at some of the unexpected causes of erectile dysfunction in your 30s in this blog post, along with possible solutions.

1. Anxiety and stress

Anxiety & stress are also causes of erectile dysfunction. Your sexual health may be significantly impacted by stress and anxiety. Your body releases hormones during times of stress or anxiety that may prevent you from achieving and keeping an erection. It’s crucial to seek support from a mental health expert if you’re dealing with severe stress or anxiety.

2. Bad Sleep Practices

Your general health, which includes your sexual health, depends on getting adequate sleep. Fatigue brought on by a lack of sleep might make it challenging to achieve and sustain an erection. Discuss how to improve your sleep habits with your doctor if you’re having difficulties falling asleep.

3. Drinking and smoking

Smoking and Drinking are also causes of erectile dysfunction. Your sexual health can be negatively impacted by both smoking and drinking. Smoking can harm blood vessels and restrict blood flow to the penis, and consuming too much alcohol can make it difficult to achieve and sustain an erection. Quitting or reducing your drinking or smoking can benefit your sexual health.

4. Health Conditions

Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are just a few of the illnesses that can aggravate ED. It’s crucial to collaborate with your doctor if you have any of these illnesses to successfully manage them.

5. Medications

Antidepressants, blood pressure pills, and antihistamines are a few drugs that can also cause erectile dysfunction. If you have ED and are on any drugs, discuss whether they might be a factor in the issue with your doctor.

Causes of Painful Erections

Erections that hurt are never normal, and occasionally the pain could indicate a serious medical condition. Pain may be sporadic and go away once the penis is soft or it may be severe and require immediate medical attention.

When sexual desire or stimulation causes two tube-shaped structures within the penis to swell with blood, an erection results. A recent or old injury, a blood circulation issue, drug usage, or a neurological condition could all be to blame for the discomfort.

Painful erections can have both common and uncommon reasons, some of which are easier to treat than others.

1. Peyronie's Disease

Older persons are frequently affected by Peyronie’s disease (PD), in which the penis abruptly assumes an aberrant curve. It is believed to be brought on by the accumulation of scar tissue following previous mild sexual trauma or injury to the penis.

The thick membrane enclosing the sponge-like columns of tissues within the penis, known as the corpora cavernosa, may become scarred as a result. This may cause the membranes near the scar tissue to rapidly contract, resulting in an unusual curve.

Due to the shorter membranes being stretched during PD, discomfort may be experienced during erections. Depending on the degree of PD, the discomfort may be experienced both before and during sexual activity. When the penis is flaccid (soft), some people with PD could experience pain as well.

PD is at risk for the following:

2. Priapism

An erection that lasts for hours without sexual stimulation is called priapism. A person may suffer one of three types of priapism:

3. Penile Fracture

The tunica albuginea, a fibrous membrane enclosing the corpora cavernosa, ruptures in a penile fracture. During sexual contact or violent masturbation, the penis sustains blunt force injuries. Other veins, nerves, or blood vessels, including the urethra (the tube via which urine leaves the body), may also get affected in some circumstances.

A significant medical illness known as a penile fracture can alter a person’s penis’ form, impede their capacity to maintain an erection, and make it challenging to urinate.

While pain is typically felt at the moment of the fracture, it is possible on rare occasions for a person to only feel discomfort after having an erection or having sex.

By rubbing the erect penis against the bony elements of the pelvis, some sexual positions might break the penis. Some injectable medications used to treat Peyronie’s can raise the risk of penile fracture by weakening the tunica albuginea and eroding scar tissue.

4. Sleep-Related Painful Erection

A person with sleep-related painful erections (SRPE) has normal, pain-free erections when they are awake but painful erections during deep rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Although the exact origin of SRPE is unknown, the majority of research indicates that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a major factor. Gaps in breathing caused by OSA are believed to increase blood flow to the penis and trigger the creation of neurotransmitters, which may increase a person’s sensitivity to pain.

Additionally, intermittent (“stuttering”) priapism, which usually occurs more at night than during the day, might cause SRPE.

5. Penile Tumours

Sometimes the development of a benign (non-cancerous) tumour on a blood vessel or nerve of the penis results in painful erections.

A rare tumour known as an epithelioid hemangioma, which normally causes a painless tumour around the head or neck, is one such case. There have been cases reported to happen inside the penis’ blood vessels. The tumour may suddenly press against a neighbouring nerve during an erection, resulting in severe pain or discomfort.

Another illustration is the schwannoma, a rare, painless tumour that typically arises on nerves in the head, neck, or limbs. A schwannoma in the penis can induce uncomfortable erections during the day, but this happens more frequently at night. Erectile dysfunction and pain during ejaculation are also frequent.

6. Penile Lichen Sclerosus

The foreskin and glans tissues gradually get harder as a result of the unusual ailment known as penile lichen sclerosus, which is most common in adults with an uncircumcised penis. If untreated, it can result in scarring that compromises both sexual and urine function.

By increasing vascular pressure on rigid, rigid tissues, penile lichen sclerosus can result in painful erections. Additionally typical are stinging, soreness, redness, and swelling.

Although the exact etiology of penile lichen sclerosus is unknown, some people believe it to be an instance of autoimmunity, a condition in which the immune system destroys the body’s tissues. Long-term tissue damage brought on by pee dribbling under the foreskin may potentially be a factor.

Causes of erectile dysfunction are somewhat different from causes of painful erection.