New research has shown that 1 in 10 men experience erectile dysfunction (ED) and as many as 1 in 5 men suffer a loss of libido, as a result of work-related stress.

These latest figures suggest that 90% of men have shown at least one clinical feature of stress due to work but only 54% of men know that stress from work may be the cause of their ED. Stress, either at work or home, is a known cause of ED and prolonged stress is associated with low testosterone levels.

Unfortunately 44% of men would not go to their GP if they experience erection problems, and those who do go to their GP about their ED wait on average 17 months before going for a consultation. But there's no need to delay - oral treatments for ED (PDE5 inhibitors), such as Levitra, Viagra and Cialis, have revolutionised the treatment of men with ED and are now widely prescribed as a first option for treatment.

Dr David Edwards, an Oxfordshire GP comments: "Work-place stress clearly has a strong impact on the incidence of ED in men. Men should think about the underlying cause of their ED, including how to combat their stress levels; not staying too late at work, a balanced and healthy diet, and regular exercise. We know that oral treatments usually work well for men with ED, but 1 in 3 men with ED are not able to have satisfactory sex the first time they take a tablet and consequently a third of them do not return to their doctor. These men could still be successfully treated by simply switching to a different tablet or increasing the dose, and should be encouraged to return to their GP."

Men have recently ranked 'high success rate with first tablet' as one of the most desirable attributes that a treatment can have. It is important for men with ED not to give up on their treatment too soon and return to their GP to ensure that they have tried the range of treatments available.

Low testosterone levels (which may be stress-related) can cause ED and also prevent PDE5 inhibitors working properly. All men with ED should ask their GP to test their testosterone levels. If low, this can be treated successfully alongside treatments for ED.

The SortED in 10 Campaign supported the research and highlighted that erection problems are very common, affecting half of all men between the age of 40 and 70. Given the range of oral treatments now available men should waste no time in asking their GP or nurse about what help is available.