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IntroAs many 30 million men in the United States experience erectile dysfunction (ED) the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse.
Age may be the most common denominator of men with ED. About four percent of men in their 50s experience erectile dysfunction, while nearly half of men older than 75 do, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Here are seven other surprising factors that may raise your risk of developing ED.
Taking drugs for hair loss or an enlarged prostateSlide 2 of 15
Taking drugs for hair loss or an enlarged prostate
Medications, such as finasteride (known by its brand names Propecia and Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), used to treat male pattern hair loss and enlarged prostate may produce side effects such as erectile dysfunction and loss of libido in some men, according to a January study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
"These drugs work by reducing the amount of dihydrotestosterone circulating in the blood," said Dr. Andrew Kramer, a surgeon and ED expert at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dihydrotestosterone is the male sex hormone that helps maintain sex drive.
While the drugs may help with hair loss and alleviate urinary tract symptoms due to an enlarged prostate, the hormonal changes can also lead to the inability to get an erection.Slide 3 of 15
Gum DiseaseSlide 4 of 15
What do the gums and the penis have in common? Having periodontitis chronically inflamed and infected gums may increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, according to a study published in June in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study, performed in mice, suggests a link between gum disease and ED , but the connection in humans and the mechanism by which periodontitis may lead to ED is still unclear.
Gum disease is an indicator of overall poor health, and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, another risk factor for erectile dysfunction, the researchers said.
"Gum disease may result from an underlying problem with blood flow in the gums. It's possible that someone with it also experiences problems with blood flow in other parts of the body such as the penis, as well," said Dr. Bruce Kava, acting chairman of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.Slide 5 of 15
Your Wife Befriending Your BuddiesSlide 6 of 15
Your Wife Befriending Your Buddies
It's well-known that psychological factors can play a major role in sexual performance, but here's a new one: your wife spending more time with your male friends than you do may put you at increased risk for erectile dysfunction, according to new research in the American Journal of Sociology.
The researchers, who surveyed more than 3,000 men ages 57 to 85, found that a man whose female partner got too close to his friends was 92 percent more likely to experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection than one whose partner didn't.
Researchers said this might be due to social perceptions of masculinity in younger and middle-aged men. In men in their 70s and 80s, the association all but disappeared, possibly because older men have different perceptions of masculinity.Slide 7 of 15
BicyclingSlide 8 of 15