How common is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

How common is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

You are deep in erectile dysfunction hell.

You’re self-aware enough to know you won’t be able to perform.

“Am I the worst she’s ever had?”

However, little do you know that millions of other men around the world also suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction or ED is more common than you think.

But just how common is erectile dysfunction?

Spoiler: You are not the only one.

Far from it.

Just how common is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) today?

Erectile dysfunctions or ED, refers to an inability of men to produce or maintain erected firm enough to have intercourse. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual disorders affecting men the others being premature ejaculation and low libido. 

The incidence of erectile dysfunction has increased drastically over the past few years. Even the age at which men can develop this problem has reduced. Men as young as 20 years are being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. 

Here is a brief discussion about how common is erectile dysfunction today and the various factors linked to the rising incidence of this disease. 

The incidence of erectile dysfunctions depending on causative factors  

Advancing age 

Advancing age is the single most important factor responsible for causing ED. The risk of this problem tends to increase with age. It is found that only 2% of apparently healthy men younger than 40 years develop ED while the incidence is as high as 86% in men above the age of 80 years. [1]

The University of Wisconsin has also reported an approximate correlation between the incidence of ED in men and their age. Approximately 50% of men in their 50s and 60% of men in their 60s suffer from mild ED. [2]

However, another research study that assessed the erectile functions of more than 400 men has shown that about 1 in 4 men below the age of 40 years suffer from erectile dysfunction. Also, more than 50% of young men showed signs of a severe form of ED. 

This study has indicated the possible role of unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and abuse of recreational substances in triggering abnormal changes responsible for causing ED.

Geographical variations

The incidence of ED varies in men depending on their geographical location as given below: 

  • North America: 20.7 to 57.8%
  • South America: 14 to 55.2%
  • Europe: 10 to 76.5%
  • Africa: 24 to 58.9%
  • Asia: 8 to 71.2%

Lifestyle factors 

Clinical research conducted by the American Medical Association has estimated that nearly 30 million men in the US alone experience ED. The incidence is expected to rise by 100% in the next 5 years. [3]

The sharp rise is believed to occur due to the unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits followed by the younger generation. 


ED is known to affect men over the age of 50 years. Disorders that affect the blood flow to various organs including the penis can contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction. 

An erection can occur when the penile tissue is filled with blood entering it through the arteries. At the same time, the amount of blood leaving the penis through the veins is reduced thus trapping blood into the organ making it harder and erect. 

Any disorder that affects the arteries and veins can interfere with these physiological processes causing an inability to get erected. 

Hypertension and heart diseases are the most common disorders that reduce blood flow into the penis and increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.  

Research studies have shown that erectile dysfunction is common in men with hypertension. About 89% of hypertensive men developed ED due to penile circulation disability, probably linked to atherosclerosis. [4]


Diabetes is another underlying disorder linked to a higher incidence of ED. The persistently elevated blood sugar level caused due to diabetes results in damage to the muscles, nerves, and other tissues in the penile region. [5]

As a result, the muscles fail to produce and maintain an erected . At the same time, the neuropathies caused due to diabetes alter the nerve signalling pathways involved in the process of getting erected.

These mechanisms can prevent men with diabetes from getting a hard erection. 

Clinical research studies have revealed that 69.9% of men with diabetes experience erectile difficulties. The risk is higher in men who have poor glycemic control. Also, the intensity of erectile dysfunction tends to be higher in men who have diabetes for a longer duration. 

Other disorders 

Some other disorders that are linked to a higher incidence of erectile dysfunction include:

  • History of myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Thyroid disorders 
  • Obesity
  • Mental stress and depression

The globally rising prevalence of erectile dysfunction represents the poor quality of life of men. Making appropriate changes in lifestyle such as avoiding smoking, alcohol intake, and the use of recreational drugs can reduce the risk of this condition. Exercising regularly, avoiding mental stress and eating healthy foods are also expected to control the rising incidence of erectile dysfunction. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction speak to the Men’s Health Clinic today.


  • Prins, J., Blanker, M., Bohnen, A. et al. Prevalence of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review of population-based studies. Int J Impot Res 14, 422–432 (2002) doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3900905 
  • Dr. Dan Williams. UW Health [online]. Available
  • Kenia Pedrosa Nunes. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2012 Mar; 21(2): 163–170. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e32835021bd
  • Valter Javaroni. International Journal of Hypertension [online]. Available at:
  • Awole Seid. BMC Endocrine Disorders [online]. Available at:

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