This week, a reader asks our medical experts why, at 53, he's finding it hard to get it up 

Dear Doctor

Finding it hard to get an erection not sure if this is normal for my age (53) and is affecting how I feel when having sex.

What can I do to make sure I can get hard and stay hard?


Dr Nitin Shori is Medical Director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service answers:

Hi John,

Let me first reassure that you are not alone in suffering in this way and that help is available. It’s estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 have some form of erectile dysfunction.

It’s often referred to as impotence and it is a very common, treatable condition.

To understand the reasons for erectile dysfunction, it’s important to know how an erection occurs. When aroused, your brain sends signals to the blood vessels in your penis, relaxing the arteries and allowing blood to flow in. The veins then close to trap the blood in your penis, causing it to expand and harden.

Anything that interferes with this process can lead to erectile dysfunction. Causes of the condition can be broken down into two categories: physical and psychological.

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction can include low testosterone and diabetes as well as prostate problems.

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Psychological factors can include stress or being unhappy, anxiety or depression. If psychological problems are interfering with your ability to get or maintain an erection, a psychotherapist specialising in sexual difficulties may also be able to help you.

A consultation with your own GP or the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service will establish whether you could be prescribed one of a range of effective erectile dysfunction treatments that are available on prescription.

They all work in slightly different ways to significantly improve a man’s ability to obtain a hard erect penis suitable for sexual activity.

The advice listed above is not intended to replace or take the place of that of your own doctor, GP or medical professional who knows your full medical history. If in any doubt make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

Do you have a sexual or emotional question for our experts? Click here

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This article was first published September 2017 and has been updated

About the author: Pharmacy2U

Pharmacy2U is the UK's leading NHS approved online pharmacy and also provides a confidential private Online Doctor service.

Its discrete service means you can order and have delivered to your home, or any UK address, everything from hair loss and acne treatments to sexual health and beauty products.

Pharmacy2U also offers a free NHS repeat prescription service, with additional services such as reminders for when you’re running low.