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Posted by James Ryan

Erectile dysfunction FAQs

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4 minute read

Questions about ED? We’ve got you. 

What causes erectile dysfunction?


Erectile dysfunction is very common in men, especially over the age of 40. The biggest causes are: 


  • Psychological problems like stress, anxiety or depression. 
  • Being inactive, or not getting enough sleep.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, or eating an unhealthy diet.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Low testosterone.
  • Side effects of medication. 
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Surgery on the prostate or bladder.


There are several different treatments, depending on what’s causing the dysfunction. Most treatments are highly effective. 


Find out more about how to treat erectile dysfunction here


Can erectile dysfunction be psychological?


Your mental state can have a powerful effect on your sexual response. Psychological factors that might impact your ability to achieve an erection include: 


  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Losing confidence in your ability to satisfy your partner.
  • Worries that prevent you getting adequate (between 6-9 hours) sleep. 


Learn how erectile dysfunction can impact your mental state.


Are erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation related?


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Premature Ejaculation (PE) can be related if they are both caused by performance anxiety, stress or relationship problems. But they can also create a vicious circle: a man suffering from ED might rush through sex because he’s scared of losing his erection, which can lead to him ejaculating too fast everytime. 

Can erectile dysfunction be permanent?


Some physical problems can cause long-term (also known as end-stage) erectile dysfunction. These include: · 


  • Spinal damage.
  • Diabetes.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Treatment for Bladder or Prostate cancer. 


If the causes are psychological (such as anxiety or stress) or as a side effect of a medication, then the erectile dysfunction can usually be treated or even reversed. 


Can you get erectile dysfunction treatment over the counter?


In Ireland, erectile dysfunction medications (like the classic little blue pill) are available only by prescription. We offer a discreet online service where you can have erectile dysfunction treatment sent to your home. It costs 25. Your request will be reviewed by an Irish registered GP and, once approved, your medication will be delivered to your home in discreet packaging. 


Other methods of treating erectile dysfunction – like penis pumps, penis rings, and counselling– are available without prescription. 


Buy erectile dysfunction medication here.


Does cholesterol medicine cause erectile dysfunction? 


Any medical condition that restricts blood flow around the body – like high cholesterol or heart disease – could cause erectile dysfunction. Statins (the most common form of treatment for high cholesterol) have actually been found to improve erectile dysfunction. A meta-analysis of randomised trials, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2014, revealed that statins improved erectile function in most men, as measured on the International Inventory of Erectile Function. 


Read more about high cholesterol here.


Can erectile dysfunction be a sign of prostate cancer? 


Prostate Cancer is when a malignant tumour grows on the prostate gland, situated near the rectum in men. Symptoms usually appear only when the cancer is advanced, which is why prostate screening is recommended for men over 50. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of prostate cancer, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor if you develop ED, especially if it starts suddenly. The other most common early symptoms of prostate cancer are: 


  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain when you ejaculate or pass urine.
  • Back ache.
  • Bone pain (if the cancer has spread). 


If you’re worried about prostate cancer, you can speak to a doctor online.


Does anxiety cause erectile dysfunction?


Anxiety can contribute to sexual problems. According to a 2022 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, men with anxiety disorders are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, especially if they suffer from PTSD, panic disorder or social anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety, talking to a counsellor can help. You can talk to a therapist online. 


Erectile dysfunction can also be a side effect of anxiety medication or anti-depressants. 


What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction? 


Erectile dysfunction is defined as not being able to achieve an erection, or to maintain it long enough to reach a climax. The main symptoms are:


  • Sometimes being able to get an erection, sometimes not.
  • Being able to get an erection on your own, but not with a partner (or vice versa).
  • Being able to get an erection, but not being able to keep it long enough to have sex.
  • Never being able to get an erection.
  • Reduced sexual desire. 


Find online treatment for erectile dysfunction here


Does masturbation cause erectile dysfunction? 


No. There’s no evidence to suggest that masturbation causes erectile dysfunction. However, a link has been suggested between erectile dysfunction and excessive use of pornography. If you find it harder to get an erection with a partner than you do when watching pornography, you could try avoiding pornography for a set period (like 90 days) to see if your symptoms improve.  


Buy erectile dysfunction treatment online.


This blog was written by Kate Taylor, a Sex Expert, Sex and Dating Features Writer, columnist and author of five books, for