A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood 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 likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors include:

Age

The incidence of erectile dysfunction rises with age:

  • One in four for men in their 60s
  • Nine in ten for men in their 80s

Medical Conditions

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

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 (eg, heroin, 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.