A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop erectile dysfunction with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing erectile dysfunction. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors include:


The incidence of erectile dysfunction rises with age, with about 5% at age 40, to 15%-25% at age 65 and older.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arteriosclerosis—hardening of the arteries
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Prostatitis
  • Peyronie's disease (bending of the penis caused by scar tissue)
  • Endocrine disorders (hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism , hypothyroidism , hyperprolactinemia, Cushing syndrome )
  • Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis , peripheral neuropathy , and stroke
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • High blood pressure
  • Psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety , depression , schizophrenia
  • Psychological problems (stress, personal relationships, new partners)
  • Traumatic Conditions

    Trauma, whether through an accident or surgery, can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction. Trauma includes:

  • Vascular surgery
  • Urologic surgery, such as prostate surgery
  • Pelvic surgeries (particularly for prostate cancer)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Behaviors

    Certain behaviors can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Alcohol use
  • Illegal drug use, such as heroin and marijuana
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • Heavy smoking
  • Medications

    Certain medications can increase your risk of erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Antihypertensives
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Histamine blockers
  • Nicotine
  • If you suspect a medication may be affecting your sexual functioning, talk with your doctor. Do not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.