Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to a man’s recurrent inability to maintain an erection that is adequate for successful penetrative sex.

An erection is influenced by physiological, hormonal, and cognitive factors. Your brain and your blood vessels work together to achieve an erection. When your brain, body, and penis aren’t on the same page, that’s erectile dysfunction.

Though ED can result from any of a wide number of causes, the condition itself isn’t rare and can be a sign of major health issues, including cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, prostate issues or a hormonal imbalance.

How common is ED?

Researchers have found records of erectile dysfunction and its treatments dating as far back as 1550 BCE. Today, erectile dysfunction is the most common male sexual disorder, with more than 52 percent of men older than age 40 experiencing it, according to the years-long Massachusetts Male Aging Study.

According to Tracy B. Gapin, M.D., F.A.C.S., a urologist who founded the Gapin Institute in Sarasota, Florida, ED becomes