Erectile problems are a common problem that affect countless men across the world. Also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), erectile problems are the inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual activity. It commonly affects men over the age of 40, but it can occur in men at any age due to physical or psychological conditions.

Erectile problems can greatly impact a man’s quality of life, leading to decreased self-esteem and confidence. While erectile problems are common, many men don’t seek treatment because of stigma or embarrassment.

What are erectile problems?

Erectile problems typically occur when there is reduced blood flow to the penis for an erection. It can occur due to physical and psychological factors, including hormonal imbalances, vascular irregularities, and pharmacogenetic factors. Erectile problems can be chronic or temporary, which can cause a reduced quality of life in terms of physical health and interpersonal relationships.

The cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) pathway is a key physiological process that is involved in the regulation of blood flow for an erection. During sexual arousal, the release of nitric oxide in the penis stimulates the production of cGMP. As a result, the smooth muscles in the blood vessels of the penis relax, causing increased blood flow.

How Common Are Erectile Problems?

Erectile problems are a common sexual health issue that affect men of all ages. It is estimated that over 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 years old are affected by erectile problems. However, it can occur at any age and is not necessarily a part of ageing.

The prevalence of erectile problems can be affected by various factors, including lifestyle, the presence of medical conditions, and overall health. Because of the stigma surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of erectile problems, the prevalence may be higher than estimated .

Erectile problems in Numbers in the UK

The prevalence of erectile problems can vary by region. Various studies have evaluated the prevalence of erectile problems across the world, with a wide variety in data estimates across different age groups. It can be difficult to pinpoint the prevalence and burden of erectile problems due to the number of men being undiagnosed or untreated.

A study evaluating the prevalence of self-reported erectile problems in the UK adult population found that the prevalence of ED is high. Over two in five men aged 18 years or older experience erectile problems. Researchers also found 1.6 times higher prevalence of erectile problems in men 40 years and over than in men younger than 40.

A Sign of Underlying Medical Conditions

Erectile problems can often be a sign or symptom of underlying conditions. Sufferers of erectile problems are advised to always seek the advice of a doctor to check for underlying conditions.

In particular, erectile problems can be an early sign of :

  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Diabetes*
  • Heart and Blood Vessel Disease
  • Liver disease or alcoholism
  • Kidney Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis

It is worth noting that men with diabetes are two to three times more likely to experience erectile problems.

In addition, psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may also play a role in men developing erectile problems.

Although erectile problems are common in men across the UK, there are different factors to consider when developing a personalised treatment plan. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to treat erectile problems.


1 David Ralph et al “MED3000, a clinically proven, fast-acting topical product for Erectile Dysfunction with the prospect of being the first globally available OTC treatment for ED” (MED3000 is the codename used when Eroxon® was in the research stage)

FM57 Clinical Investigation Report dated 6th April 2020 FM71 Clinical Investigation Report dated 14 September 2022

3 Nguyen Seks Med Rev. 2017 Oct, vol 5, 508-520; McKinlay JB. Int J Impot Res. 2000; 12 (suppl 4): S6-S11

4 Jim Z, Terence A, Kelly H, Lauren J, Shaantanu D, David G. Prevalence, Comorbidities, and Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction: Results from a Prospective Real-World Study in the United Kingdom. Int J Clin Pract. 2022. doi: 10.1155/2022/5229702.PMID: 35693549; PMCID: PMC9159135.