Quick answers to common questions

Here are some answers to questions you may have about ED.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

ED is a medical condition in which a man has problems with getting or keeping an erection.(1) For some men, ED is mild, resulting in occasional erection problems, but for others, it’s a more severe condition in which erection problems happen often—or always.

Other erection problems may include (2, 3):

  • You can't get an erection at all
  • You get an erection, but it's not hard enough to enter your partner
  • You get an erection, but you can't keep it until sex is over

What causes ED?

ED can be caused by physical and psychological factors. It may also be the result of an underlying medical issue such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or the side effect of a medication you’re taking.(4)Your doctor can determine what’s causing your ED and help you get the treatment you need.

Is ED an unavoidable part of aging?

Your chances of experiencing ED increase as you age but it’s definitely not unavoidable.(1) And there are effective treatments available, so talk to your doctor today and get it out of the way.

Am I alone with ED?

Not at all. In fact, about 52% of men 40 to 70 years old have ED.(1)

Are there other conditions that may exist along with ED?

Men with ED may also have conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate.(5)

How is ED treated?

There are several types of treatment options that your doctor may recommend. Talk to your Dr. about ED.

How do I talk to my doctor about ED?

It can be a difficult subject to talk about, but remember your doctor is there to help—and he or she is required to keep all of your medical information confidential. ED is an issue doctors deal with on a regular basis, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed.

How do I talk to my partner about ED?

If you’re experiencing ED, one of the most important things you can do is talk to your partner about what’s going on. Start the conversation by letting your partner know that you're aware of the issue. Share your feelings and don't forget to recognize your partner's feelings as well.


  1. Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, Krane RJ, McKinlay JB. Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Urol. 1994;151:54-61.
  2. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Erectile dysfunction. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/ED/index.html.
  3. Rosen RC, Cappelleri JC, Smith MD, Lipsky J, Peña BM. Development and evaluation of an abridged, 5-item version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) as a diagnostic tool for erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res. 1999;11:319-326.
  4. Lue TF. Drug therapy: erectile dysfunction. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:1802-1813.
  5. Cameron A, Sun P, Lage M. Comorbid conditions in men with ED before and after ED diagnosis: a retrospective database study. Int J Impot Res. 2006;18:375-381.