Erectile Dysfunction In Teens: What You Must Know


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Being a teenage boy is hard, and if you think your teen is free from stress, we’d really hate to burst your bubble. Consider all those awkward questions he has, like the one about suspicious hair sprouting up in places that were earlier barren. Or, when all his friends are sporting their first facial hair, and he doesn’t even have a strand on his chin. While, it may sound silly to you, but for your teen, it’s scary and weird. Erectile dysfunction is one such problem that a teen boy may not talk about too readily. So, the best thing to do is to read this post and learn all you can about the problem.

Puberty Is Tough For Your Boy:

The thought of sex is always on his mind, driving him crazy. All of a sudden, it seems like the most fascinating thing in the world, and he has to know everything about it. Worst of all, the awkward and uncontrollable stiffy that he cannot hide seems wanting to make a grand entrance at the most undesired of moments. Whew! The thought of that is exhausting in itself, and you think only being a mom was hard. Being a confused teenage boy is worse, especially if you have erectile dysfunction, and you don’t know how to tell your mom about it.

[ Read: Puberty In Boys ]

Teenage Erectile Dysfunction:

Until the last few decades, health experts believed that erectile dysfunction (ED) occurred only in older men and that it was because the poor old man who was unfortunate enough to get it had psychological issues that he couldn’t deal with. There was another misconception about erectile dysfunction – marital problems caused ED. Yes, unhappy women were considered to be the reason for erectile dysfunction. Blame the woman for everything!

You can’t find fault with some of these beliefs because psychological problems do affect some patients and cause ED. But, not in all cases.

How does your child know if he even has erectile dysfunction? If that’s what you’re thinking, then here it goes. Boys talk about their conquests with each other, maybe he compared his exploits with the others and realized he wasn’t experiencing the same thing. Maybe he wasn’t getting morning wood. If you say he isn’t sexually active then maybe he noticed it while masturbating. Don’t be shocked. Teens masturbate quite a lot, and it’s healthy. Erectile dysfunction may be one of the many things that a teen notices about himself over a period.

Erectile dysfunction in teenagers was never even considered, but doctors have started researching ED in teens recently. So. there isn’t much data available concerning ED and teens, but research is on the rise because more and more teens are coming forward for treatment daily.

Can Teenagers Experience Erectile Dysfunction?

There are very few studies on the problem of erectile dysfunction in teenagers, and so very little data exists. Also, it is a very age-dependent disorder. So many health specialists and parents don’t think teens can suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Here are a few stats, because all moms love statistics. However, there isn’t specific data on erectile dysfunction cases under the age of 18. Usually, erectile dysfunction is more prevalent in older men, over the age of 70 [1]. Around 59 percent get it at that age, and the rate decreases with decrease in age. At age 40, the rate is 22 percent. So if you follow the trend then at 19 and below there shouldn’t be any case of ED, but there are, and the rate is probably higher than we imagine.

The body is a strange network. It is made up of complex pieces, with each one acting as a unit in itself but working simultaneously with the other units which helps the body function smoothly at different levels. And, if something goes wrong in one part in the body, there are always other effects. There could be many reasons teenagers develop erectile dysfunction. It could be vascular or psychological, but the bottom line is they do get it. So suck it up and accept it as a mom.

Remember it is tough for your teen son to broach the topic. If you think to talk about sex, birth control and erections was tough for you, think what your adolescent must be feeling.

“You can imagine what a young boy, what a young man has to go through to raise this with his parents and come in and see us,” says Dr. John P. Mulhall of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“No 35-year-olds like to think of their parents having sex, nor do they like to think about their kids having sex. The more open we are with these teenagers, the more likely they are to make better decisions,” he says.

Teenage Erectile Dysfunction Causes:

If you have ever seen those commercials about erectile dysfunction drugs, they usually cast men who are in their late 40s or 50s. This has led to a belief that only older men have a problem “getting it up”. But, it may come as a shock to you, even teenage boys can have erectile dysfunction.

The main causes of erectile dysfunction are hypertension, decreased HDL levels, diabetes mellitus, advanced atherosclerosis, and heart disease. These are all age-related risk factors and not really seen in young people. And, the medication for many of these conditions can cause ED as well. So when you think about erectile dysfunction in teens, you immediately associate it with psychological problems.

A study conducted by Dr. John P. Mulhall from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and published in 2009 in BJU International reveals a little bit about erectile dysfunction in teen boys. The objective of this study was to prove that most erectile dysfunction cases in teenage boys are due to psychological causes. But, after studying 40 teenagers, he came to a conclusion that that isn’t the case at all because 74 percent had physical problems, and most of them were because of blood flow issues which led to the disorder.

Here is why your adolescent could be suffering from erectile dysfunction:

1. Stress:

Stress about picking the right college, peer pressure, finding a job, money, can cause ED. Family issues can also cause erectile dysfunction. Anxiety and stress can cause a teenage boy to lose all interest in sex and that means erectile dysfunction. An unhealthy relationship where there isn’t proper communication can also be a cause of ED.

[ Read: Stress Management For Teens ]

2. Lifestyle Choices:

If your son enjoys a very active social life, which includes wild parties then he should know a few things. Excessive drinking or taking of drugs can cause ED. It doesn’t happen overnight so don’t panic and lock your son up. It is a slow process and occurs only in cases of excessive use. Though this does not mean party drugs are acceptable, they aren’t. Even smoking is a cause of ED, and let’s face it, most teenage boys will experiment with smoking without their parents’ knowledge. Excessive smoking causes erectile dysfunction.

Antidepressants also lead to ED, specifically medications belonging to the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) category. So, your son may need a different treatment for his depression because his current medication will not help matters if it is the cause of his impotence.

3. Hormones:

Those hormones again! Well, hormones are tricky. A high or low level of a hormone can cause problems. In this case, the thyroid hormone can cause ED if it is not present in the right amount. ED can also occur due to low testosterone levels in the body. So if your athletic teenager takes steroids to build up his muscles, he should know that it could lead to erectile dysfunction and sometimes even impotence. He needs to keep in mind his choices – muscles or libido. He is sure to make the right choice.

4. Sports And Injuries:

Erectile dysfunction can also develop due to trauma to the genital region which is possible if your teen likes to bicycle a lot. So make him aware of what bicycling can do and get him a checkup. You can review the type of bicycle he uses and get him one that doesn’t cause him an injury.

ED can also occur because of injuries to the pelvic region, mostly fractures in that area. Spinal cord injuries in the lower back can also lead to erectile dysfunction.

5. Psychological Reasons:

Sometimes if a child is brought up in a strict religious manner, he feels a sense of breaking those religious rules when he engages in sexual activity; whether it is only masturbation or with a partner. It is a feeling that resembles a combination of shame and guilt which leads to an inability to perform sexually.

[ Read: Emotional Problems In Teens ]

6. Structural Issues:

Peyronie’s Disease is a condition that causes a bend or curvature in the penis [2]. When the penis sustains an injury, it may bleed internally. This causes scar tissue formation inside the penis. The condition can lead to erectile dysfunction. However, it is rare in younger people [3].

Erect Teen Penis – How To Deal With Puberty?

Every kid in the world, be it a boy or girl, has to go through puberty. It is messy and confusing, and your sweet little baby boy will start to change and transform before your eyes, so be prepared. You know what puberty is because you went through it yourself, but it is a different experience as a mother. You will need to know the basics and keep them in mind.

Puberty in boys can hit anytime between the ages of nine and 15. You will notice puberty has hit when he starts developing hair around the genitals and underarms and eventually on his face. But what can freak a mom out is if her son develops breasts and they all do. So don’t worry. These so-called breasts will disappear once puberty ends. Just those hormones at play again!

There will be a growth spurt which will require you to buy him new clothes many times in a short span of time.

His penis will change in shape. It gets wider and longer. His testes will also become larger. And, here is what you really need to know to rule out erectile dysfunction – your little angel will start getting erections. It will happen all the time, every time without his control. It just means he is going through puberty and blood is filling up in his penis, making it hard. It’s a new experience for him so he cannot control it and you shouldn’t make him feel guilty or ridicule him for it.

Another very common fact is involuntary ejaculations in his sleep, in other words ‘wet dreams’. This happens when he gets an erection while asleep and ejaculates spontaneously. Keep in mind a teenage boy’s penis has a mind of its own; it does whatever it wants to, whenever it wants to; like a revolutionary, always outside the law but on a mission to bring about change.

Teenage boys going through puberty also have a lot of anxiety issues, and they express it through anger. It is hard getting through adolescence, and the process makes the child anxious about how his body looks and is probably confused about all the changes taking place at breakneck speed. Some may lose their tempers very easily while others may just get very emotional. It is all due to the hormones raging through his body. This too shall pass, thankfully.

At this time, there are a whole lot of questions about sex on their mind because all of a sudden they realize that girls don’t have ‘cooties’ anymore. And the new feelings are overwhelming. So be open with your boy,discuss his bodily changes and bodily functions and most importantly, discuss sex. It is best coming from you than a porn site, which he will definitely turn to if he is intimidated by you because theses curious questions won’t go anywhere and need to be answered. So brace yourself you have about nine years to prepare ‘the talk’.

Erection Problems In Teens:

As a parent, you may not want to believe your child is sexually active or enjoying self-pleasure. That is natural. However, a survey result from 2013 conducted by the US CDC shows that 47 percent adolescents have had sexual intercourse, and 15 percent have had a sexual relationship with four or more individuals [4]. Shocking, right? This brings us to the next issue – teen erection problems.

Your young teen may have erectile dysfunction. However, this doesn’t mean he is sexually active. He could be masturbating, which is normal and healthy. Remember, young adolescents are curious. They talk among themselves. So your teen may have found out that he could be facing erection issues. While this may not be a fact and he may be overly anxious about his erection, there is no harm in taking him seriously and seeking medical intervention. It will allay his fears and let him be a “normal” teenager, and you can sit down and be a parent of a teen – always worried what mischief the adolescent may be up to behind your back!

Remember, in a majority of cases, the most common cause of ED is anxiety. Your teen may be worried about getting his partner pregnant or revealing his inexperience during sexual intercourse. At other times, he may be worried about donning the condom without looking foolish or taking too long to put on the condom that his excitement wanes and his erection disappears.

[ Read: Testicular Pain In Teenagers ]

How to Cure Erectile Dysfunction in Teens?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that erectile dysfunction is very treatable and curable. And, the best time to treat it is right away, after you find out. So if your moody, teenage, drama king comes up to you and tells you he has a problem with his wiener, you take it seriously. It is probably the most difficult thing he has done in his life, and he is asking you to help him.

The earlier you get him to a doctor for a checkup, the better. Remember, no matter what the cause of the disorder the sooner you treat it, the better. Who knows how bad it can get later? It will probably bring in more problems if it is neglected for too long. Teenage boys in their late teens have a high sex drive. So, if they cannot perform, it is sure to lead to anxiety issues and then self-confidence issues which are very likely going to mess with his already-very-confused teenage brain.

The first thing to do is to get him to a clinic for a checkup. This checkup will determine what the cause of the disorder is and accordingly you can follow different methods of treatment. Psychological causes of ED are just as important as physical and should be duly taken care of.

1. Hormone Therapy:

Sometimes, an imbalance in hormones can cause ED. So if you find out the problem is hormone-related, it can be treated immediately. A good treatment plan with hormone therapy can cure this endocrine problem effectively. It is as simple as that.

2. Surgery:

In case there is an issue with the blood vessels which is causing less blood flow and in turn less penile function then the specialist can treat it very effectively with vascular surgery. Don’t be alarmed. Surgery only sounds like a serious matter and brings all sorts of bad images to your head. However, vascular surgery is an effective method. He will not be losing his penis and agreeing to surgery doesn’t mean he gets a new fake penis. It only means the surgeon will perform a procedure to increase blood flow. There may be different methods, so don’t fret.

If your teen doesn’t respond to the first-line treatment protocols, the specialist may suggest penile prosthesis. This is an outpatient treatment, and it takes about 90 minutes to insert the prosthesis. Don’t worry; the specialist will perform the procedure under anesthesia.

[ Read: Gynecomastia In Teens ]

3. Psychotherapy:

If your child is suffering from ED because of a psychological problem, it is best to consult a trained and experienced therapist. You may not want to believe that your son could have something serious enough on his mind to cause him a problem but think about it. His stress is already causing a physical reaction, so he really needs treatment fast. Also, since it isn’t physical, you might shrug it off as something that may pass with time. Well, sometimes it can, but other times it could get worse. So why take a chance?

This treatment may involve some medication along with psychotherapy. For all you know, the kid probably just needs to vent and let something out so that he can get back on track. Psychological problems can get very serious if you don’t get it treated. So keep aside your reservations if you have any regarding physiological problems and therapy. If your kid needs therapy, get it for him. It will help him get better.

If you neglect it for too long, he could develop a serious problem of low sexual confidence and start having issues in school which also could lead to depression.

Just make sure the psychotherapist you pick is a professional who specializes in teenagers because as we have established, teenagers are altogether a different breed. They usually don’t trust easily. So an experienced therapist who can encourage and make him comfortable enough to open up is very important.

4. Medication:

ED drugs are for older men, and a teenager can be quite disheartened if the doctor prescribes him Cialis, Levitra or Viagra [5]. Well, maybe not with Viagra, as he will be excited about using it after the misinformation that he has! Also, parents are usually unsure and reluctant to get their child to use such drugs because the companies that make them don’t test them on children. So it would be like entering a clinical trial. However, keep in mind there have been cases of doctors prescribing Viagra to babies and curing lung conditions. So if the doctor prescribes the drug to your teenager, don’t be skeptical or start panicking. Your teen’s specialist knows what he is doing.

Also, the specialist will always prescribe medication in small dosages. So you shouldn’t be worried. But make sure that your son does not take ecstasy or crystal methamphetamine because the results can be deadly. No mom wants to believe or accept that her son could be stupid enough to take such drugs. But you have to believe us when we tell you that even the most brilliant-minded teenager has his moments of stupidity. So make sure he understands the consequences [6].

Everything about ED is taboo in society, and nobody wants to admit that they have erectile dysfunction. It is quite ridiculous really; prejudices shouldn’t matter because the only one to suffer will be the kid. So moms, put your thoughts aside and think only about your boy, he needs you, and he needs the treatment. It may not be a life-threatening disorder but it is an important one because it is very closely connected to self-confidence and if that confidence is lost, it is very difficult to get it back.

In Conclusion:

Erectile dysfunction is not fatal or life threatening, but it is a life-altering condition. It is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection, and that is the most important thing for a man. From a teenager’s point of view, the inability is something akin to devastating and earth-shattering. ED can crush a grown man’s spirit, so imagine the effects it can have on a growing boy?

Erectile dysfunction impacts everything from self-esteem to interpersonal relationships and disrupts the life of the child. It doesn’t matter how or what caused the disorder. If it is not a physical cause, “the answer isn’t going home, relax, you’re fine,” as Dr. John P. Mulhall says, you have got to get it treated somehow or the other.

Talking about sex and sexual functions and a teenage boy’s penis is not what parents want to talk with their teenage boy. It applies to teenagers too. No parent or child wants to imagine the other ever engaging in any sexual activity. But it is important to talk about such things with each other and keep an open mind.

It is even more awkward being a mom. Similarly, it is not easy for your teen boy to approach you and tell her that he has problems with his wiener. So it is your duty, moms, to make your teenage boy comfortable enough to discuss anything with you. If he doesn’t and keeps the issue hidden for years, then he will develop sexual self-confidence issues.

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