On this page

    Key facts on erectile dysfunction

    On this page

      It is not surprising that many men have questions about erectile dysfunction (ED), but sometimes it can be hard to know the truth behind some of the ED myths floating around the web and truly understand the condition. But don’t worry, our team of highly qualified clinicians with their wealth of experience working in the NHS, in GP surgeries and hospitals, are here to help.

      If you’re concerned you might have ED, why not take our 60 Second Erection Check? Or read on for some of the questions our clinicians are often asked about ED and key erectile dysfunction facts you can rely on.

      What causes ED?

      There are a number of causes of erectile dysfunction in men. It can be influenced by physical, psychological and medical factors. It is worth trying to establish if your ED problems are arising from an underlying health condition, anxiety issues, side effects of medication or a particular lifestyle habit.

      Does Viagra affect fertility?

      There have been reports by the media and in the medical press that Viagra can cause sperm damage, but these are exceedingly rare. Equally, clinical studies have found the active ingredient in Viagra (sildenafil) to have no adverse effect on sperm.

      Viagra can improve your ability to get and maintain an erection, in turn improving your sex life and the chances of you getting your partner pregnant. It won't increase your sex drive. Similarly, Viagra will only be effective if you go through the process of sexual arousal and will not generate an erection automatically.

      Can I take Viagra if I have diabetes?

      Yes, living with diabetes can mean that erectile dysfunction is more common, but you should still be able to take medication for your ED. You’ll also need to check that you’re not on any medicines that can interact with Viagra and other similar drugs.

      When you request ED medicine via LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, the questionnaire you complete will ask about your medical history, including instances of heart disease and diabetes.

      Looking for erectile dysfunction treatment?

      Use our online service

      Can I take Viagra if I have a heart condition?

      Yes, in most cases you can take ED medications if you have a heart condition. If you have had a heart attack or stroke in the past six months, or are taking nitrates for a heart condition such as angina, you will not be prescribed most ED medications. In these instances a vacuum pump might help you manage your ED. 

      What age does erectile dysfunction start?

      Erectile dysfunction tends to be more common in men over the age of 40. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity are common causes for erection problems and tend to be more common in men of this age. However, ED is not just an 'older man's problem' and can affect men as young as 18.

      Does erectile dysfunction mean I'm not attracted to my partner anymore?

      Erectile dysfunction can be a result of not being attracted to your partner anymore. Even with medication, sexual attraction and arousal is generally required to achieve and maintain an erection.

      However, it is important to realise that there are many possible causes of erectile dysfunction besides this. These can include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. If you think these may be factors in your experience, we advise you to see your GP to have a health check.

      Can masturbation cause erectile dysfunction?

      It depends what your definition of ‘excessive’ is. If you’re masturbating several times in an hour, then you may get some problems getting an erection due to exhaustion. If, however, you’re masturbating once or twice a day, then this is quite normal, and is highly unlikely to be a cause of erectile dysfunction.

      Can tiredness cause erectile dysfunction?

      Your sex drive (libido) and ability to get an erection will be affected by being too tired, making it more difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. A lack of fitness, alcohol and drug consumption can also increase your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction.

      Do tight jeans and underwear lead to erectile dysfunction?

      Not in the short term. Long-term compression of the testicles can lead to impaired fertility. Give yourself a rest every now and again with looser fitting trousers and underwear.

      Can using a bad saddle on a bicycle cause erectile dysfunction?

      Yes, excessive cycling can cause erectile dysfunction, although it doesn't always. This is due to pressure on the nerves at the base of the penis (the perineum). Use a good saddle suited to your riding style – some bike shops will let you try saddles out for a week or so. Alternate sitting in the saddle with standing to relieve pressure every now and again.
      If you experience numbness or discomfort during or after your ride, it’s worth speaking to your GP.

      Is ED permanent?

      Some men experience erectile dysfunction for a short period of time, especially if it is caused by stress or anxiety, whereas others will experience impotence more regularly. It is important not to ignore it as it won’t just go away on its own. If you can establish what causes ED, then there is more than likely a way to fix it.

      Is there a cure for ED?

      This really depends on the cause of erectile dysfunction. There are treatments available for both psychological and physical causes which should improve your symptoms and allow you to have full intercourse again. If your ED is an ongoing problem, consult with your GP to discuss ways in which to reverse it.

      For more information about treatments, visit our ED clinic.

      VideoGP by LloydsPharmacy



      LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

      This service operates in the United Kingdom only

      LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

      This service operates in the United Kingdom only

      Visit IE Online Doctor Continue with UK service