Department that Urology, facility for sex-related Health, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA
Michael Phillips, MD

George Washington University

Ross Hall, 2300 Eye Street, NW

Washington, DC 20037 (USA)

E-Mail mphillips

Keywords: Erectile dysfunctionPeyronie’s diseaseSexual dysfunctionTraumaYoung menOrganic etiology


There are a far-reaching number of males under 40 who endure erectile dysfunction (ED). In the past, the vast bulk of cases were assumed to be psychogenic in nature. Research studies have established organic etiologies in 15-72% of men with ED under 40. Essential etiologies encompass vascular, neurogenic, Peyronie"s condition (PD), medication next effects and also endocrinologic sources. Vascular reasons are typically due come focal arterial occlusive disease. Young men with lot of sclerosis, epilepsy and trauma in close proximity to the spinal cord are at boosted risk of ED. It is estimated that 8% of men with PD space under 40, v 21% the these individuals experiencing ED. Medications leading to ED incorporate antidepressants, NSAIDs and finasteride (Propecia), antiepileptics and neuroleptics. Hormonal sources are uncommon in the young population, however feasible etiologies encompass Klinefelter"s syndrome, congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. The workup of young men with ED should encompass a thorough background and physics examination. The far-ranging prevalence that vascular etiologies of ED in young guys should prompt factor to consider of nocturnal penile tumescence testing and also penile Doppler ultrasound. Treatment options that may improve ED include exercise and also oral PDE-5 inhibitors.

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Our understanding of erectile dysfunction (ED), characterized as the i can not qualify to accomplish or keep an erection sufficient for sex-related performance, has changed drastically end the last 50 years <1>. When assumed to it is in a difficulty primarily rooted in the psyche, ED is now taken to commonly have a physiological communication <2>. Organic sources including vascular, neurologic and also hormonal abnormalities, through occasional psychogenic overlay, are often the reasons attributed to ED in enlarge men, while men under the age of 40 are often thought to have actually only psychogenic factors contributing to their ED. However, a review of the literary works reveals the many instances of ED are organic in origin, including vascular, neurogenic, hormone or because of medication next effects. Assuming that ED is psychogenic might miss far-reaching underlying disease, a correction of which might lead to considerable improvement in many men"s lives.


52% of men aged 40-70 have actually some level of ED and also moderate come severe situations increase high solution with age <2>. The percentage of guys under 40 with ED varies significantly according come the study and also methods provided to identify the reason of ED, as presented in table 1. A Turkish research of 948 men with one IIEF5 score 3>.

Prevalence the ED discovered in males under 40 in a range of studies looking at men within different age ranges


Another Turkish study, in i beg your pardon ED to be diagnosed through a thorough physics examination, work a more extensive diagnostic workup, including color Doppler ultrasound, dynamic pharmacocavernosometry, selective pudendal pharmacoarteriography and also NPT v RigiScan and also found one organic reason in 45% of cases <4>. In an American study, 100 men with ED under 40 were evaluated, 72 were uncovered to have actually vasculogenic ED, 12 neurogenic ED and only 13% had actually psychogenic ED <5>.

Honeymoon impotence has actually long been related to as psychogenic in nature, yet of 90 men presenting v honeymoon impotence and also evaluated v intracavernous injection of papaverine and also self-stimulation (CIS), NPT and also color Doppler ultrasound, sequentially with negative CIS response, 27.7 to be vascular and 4.4% were neurogenic in etiology.

Etiology that Erectile Dysfunction

An summary of feasible etiologies the ED in males under 40 is presented in table 2.


Vascular Disorders

There has been a good deal of speculation the young men with vascular ED may be due to subclinical perineal trauma. This was supported by a study that looked in ~ 91 men with ED and also without a history of perineal trauma that underwent penile angiography - younger men were uncovered to much more frequently have actually focal arterial occlusive an illness and exposure to subclinical trauma <6>. This principle has been supported by the association between bicycling and ED. This relationship was an initial noted in a variety of case reports, yet later cross-sectional studies found that young males who bicycle much more than 3 hours a week have an increased risk of developing ED <7>. Bicycling has been presented to alleviate the optimal cavernosal artery systolic velocity to 0 as result of perineal pressure from bicycle seats, and is assumed to in the interim occlude penile vessels and also lead come focal arterial occlusive condition <7>.

Interestingly, young males with no identifiable reason of ED have evidence of subclinical endothelial dysfunction, as figured out by blood pressure, C-reactive protein level, full cholesterol and also triglyceride levels, and carotid intima-media thickness. Once young men at low danger for coronary artery condition with ED were contrasted to young males without ED, castle were uncovered to have actually lower flow-mediated brachial vasodilatation, higher systolic blood pressures, C-reactive protein levels, cholesterol and triglycerides, carotid intima-media thickness and also Framingham risk scores, however every one of these worths were in ~ the normal selection <8>. This study suggests that many situations of ED with no identifiable resource are associated with subclinical cardiovascular factors.

Neurogenic Disorders

There space a variety of known neurogenic risk determinants for ED in young men. A research of men with many sclerosis, of whom 28.4% to be younger than 40, confirmed multiple sclerosis boosts the hazard of ED through 2.2 time <9>. There is a high ubiquity of ED amongst men v epilepsy - in a study of 80 men in between the ages of 22 and also 50, 42.5% had ED <10>. Young men with epilepsy space 1.8-3 times much more likely to have actually ED than males without epilepsy <11>.

Trauma can reason both vascular and also neurogenic ED. While usually resulted in by perineal trauma, the can likewise be because of trauma to surrounding structures, such as femoral fractures. When males under 40 experienced femoral shaft fractures treated with intramedullary nailing, there to be an raised risk of ED contrasted to guys with tibial fractures. This is believed to be as result of pudendal nerve damage caused by countertraction top top the femoral head. Adhering to intramedullary nailing that the femoral head, 40.5% of guys experienced mild come moderate ED <12>. A case collection of 4 men with one age selection of 19-37 endured from ED ~ a femoral fracture was corrected through femoral nailing. In every 4 cases the ED resolved after 1-2 years of treatment with a PDE-5 inhibitor <13>.

Neurological damages can be sustained during surgical actions of the lumbar spine. 34.3% of men under 50 who underwent operation decompression of the lumbar spine knowledgeable ED after surgery <14>.

Peyronie"s Disease

The an exact mechanism the ED in males with Peyronie"s disease (PD) is unclear. PD is assumed to to happen from repeated trauma come the tunica albuginea with the ultimate formation of a plaque that causes penile curvature and also concomitant ED. Plaque formation is thought to need a far-reaching amount of time and thus the ubiquity of PD rises as males age. However, 8.2% the patients through PD room under the period of 40, and also 21% of this men have ED. The start of PD in guys under 40 is frequently much much more acute and also can commonly be treated efficiently with intracavernosal injections <15>. Occasionally, PD occurs in teenaged individuals. A examine of 32 teenagers with PD verified that 37% of these individuals had actually ED, none had hemodynamic abnormalities and they were an ext likely than older guys with PD to have actually multiple plaques <16>.

Medication side Effects

A selection of medications generally taken by young individuals are linked with ED consisting of antidepressants, finasteride, anxiolytics, neuroleptics, NSAIDs and muscle relaxants.

SSRIs have actually been notoriously linked with sexual dysfunction but they might not cause ED specifically. In a randomized, double-blinded study of guys using citalopram (Celexa) or fluoxetine (Prozac) contrasted to placebo, there was no effect on erectile role as measure up objectively through RigiScan, while subjective steps of erectile function were negatively affected <17>. 5-HT may impact and be a predictor the other aspects of sex-related dysfunction in young men, such together premature ejaculation <18>.

Finasteride is commonly used in the young male population to prevent and reverse male pattern baldness. 1.4% of men taking finasteride, v an average age of 31, competent ED, contrasted to.9% of males taking placebo <19>. A recent instance report that 71 individuals aged 21-46 have displayed that finasteride usage for MPB brought about irreversible sexual side effects, including 92% that reported ED <20>. Consistent NSAID consumption is connected with one odds ratio of 2.4 for ED <21>.

Neuroleptics the all ranges are renowned to reason ED, because of increased prolactin levels <22>. Antiepileptic medicines are linked with ED and also may be because of vasogenic effects <23>.

Endocrine Disorders

Hormonal sources of ED are uncommon in the young population. ED because of low testosterone is mainly seen in larger men. When men with ED under 50 had testosterone and also prolactin levels measured, 4% the men had actually low testosterone, yet it is unclear that this was a contributor to ED in this population. There are populations of young men, such together those infected v HIV that endure a premature birth decrease in testosterone <24>.

When present, hormone etiologies that ED can include Klinefelter"s syndrome (KS), congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH), gained hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (AHH) and also cryptorchidism. KS has actually a prevalence of 1:500-1,000. Importantly, many men with KS execute not have the textbook appearance of a eunuchoid human body habitus, micropenis and also microorchidism, however there is a wide phenotypic spectrum with countless men appearing essentially normal. Men with KS often current to urologists v infertility, ED or poor libido. People with KS will have low testosterone and also elevated LH, FSH and also often estradiol <25>. Many recently, a 2010 research looked in ~ 1,386 consecutive patient presenting with sex-related dysfunction. Karyotype analysis was perform on all guys with a testis volume 26>. In a prior research on guys with KS through a mean age of 32.2 years, serious ED was found in 2.5% <27>.

CHH, which has Kallmann syndrome, is rare v a probable prevalence of 1/4,000-10,000. Patients typically present v pubertal failure <28>. In a research of 39 males with CHH treated v testosterone replacement treatment (TRT), before treatment, 100% experienced sexual dysfunction (erectile role was handle as component of the Arizona sex-related Experience scale questionnaire, however was not especially mentioned). TRT boosted sexual function in this cohort of men <29>. However, the visibility of micropenis is typically the major sexual impediment <30>.

AHH deserve to be as result of a selection of causes, such together head trauma, prolactinoma, sellar or infundibular cysts, pituitary surgery, alcohol and drug abuse, and infiltrative problems such together hemochromatosis and also sarcoidosis <31>. ED and loss that libido frequently accompany this condition. Diagnosis deserve to be made LH, FSH and also testosterone levels and an MRI of the sella can be considered in situations with high clinical apprehension <32>.

Cryptorchidism deserve to lead to low testosterone levels as well. A study of 49 patients v cryptorchidism that underwent orchiopexy between 10 months and 13 years were on average much less sexually active than controls <33>.

Although an extremely rare, a connection between high soybean beans diets and also ED has actually been postulated. The effects of daidzein, a soy isoflavone, have actually been learned in animal models. Relatively large amounts reason histological transforms in the penile framework of rats, including an increase in collagen and a palliation in smooth muscle and elastic fiber contents <34>. When juvenile rats were exposed come daidzein, erectile role was impaired once the rats matured right into adults in a dose-dependent way <35>. Personal from animal models, there has been a case report of one 18-year-old who occurred hypogonadal ED as result of a high soybean beans vegan diet the was reversible through diet cessation <36>.

Individuals v endocrine disorders, such together diabetes and also hyper- and also hypothyroidism, have significantly poorer erectile duty than disease-free men <37>. When metabolic syndrome is connected with ED in larger men, no association has actually been discovered in with males under 50 <38>.

Risk factors for ED in Young Men

Studies investigating risk components for ED have actually failed to discover an association between many determinants that are frequently related come ED in larger men. Interestingly, in men aged 18-40, reduced educational levels, psychosocial problems, absence of information about sex and also no background of masturbation were associated with ED, while smoking, alcoholism, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, CV disease, hyperlipidemia, depression and anxiety to be not found to be correlated to ED <39>. In men under 40 with recognized organic ED, only smoking and recreational drug usage were discovered to be associated with ED, and no combination was uncovered with obesity, dyslipidemia, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary heart an illness and chronic ache syndrome <40>.



For males under 40 through ED, the diversity that etiologies mentioned above should notice a thorough history. This should incorporate developmental history, psychosocial and relationship history, trauma, amount of time spent cycling, surgical actions to the spine or femur, penile curvature, review of medications, smoking cigarettes status, recreational medicine use, and past medical history including diabetes neurological disorders, and hyper- and hypothyroidism. A physics examination must be performed through special fist to eunuchoid body habitus, second sexual characteristics, anosmia, testicular volume, penile length, blood pressure and also a focused genital examination because that the existence of penile curvature.

The short incidence of hormonal abnormalities may lead a clinician to include testosterone in the initial evaluation just if second sexual features are abnormal. Frequently, a substantial metabolic workup is initiated because that older men, but as over there is no connected metabolic component in young guys with ED, a metabolic workup might not sell any additional information. The large percentage of vascular anomalies should encourage physicians to consider a workup with NPT and penile Doppler researches if no various other etiologies are plainly identified. The mix of intracavernous injection and also audiovisual sexual stimulation may improve the recording of physiologic erectile solution during the Doppler examine <41>.


For guys with essential ED, there are a number of behavioral adjustments that may be considered before pursuing clinical or operation treatments. Return obesity shows up not to be a risk variable for ED in young men, weight loss has actually been found to boost erectile duty in males aged 35-55 <42>. Interestingly, exercise additionally is associated with much better erectile role in guys under 40 <43>. Smoking and also recreational drug use need to be discontinued, as they are modifiable behaviors connected with ED in younger men. Because that ED early out a medication side effect, the offending medication need to be discontinued. For men taking one SSRI, 20 mg that tadalafil has been displayed to significantly improve erectile function, with tolerable side impacts <44>. Trazodone has additionally proven to be effective in dealing with ED in men taking SSRIs <45>.

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Regardless that etiology, treatment practically always begins with oral PDE-5 inhibitors. For ED because of KS, CHH, AHH hypogonadism, TRT will regularly lead to improvements in EF. Fail of PDE-5 need to prompt a trial of treatments of enhancing invasiveness, alprostadil urethral suppositories, intracavernosal injections the papaverine, Bimix or Trimix, and finally penile prosthesis. In general, ahead attempts in ~ the usage of surgery to enhance EF in males with vasculogenic ED has actually not achieved great long-term outcomes and also has not been argued for program use <46>. However, for men with who are discovered to have actually focal arterial occlusive disease, penile microvascular arterial surgery is a opportunity <47>.