It’s the issue you’re running from even if erectile dysfunction is affecting your self-esteem and making you agonise about being the only person with the hitch in being hitched.
The naked truth? You are not alone. Erectile dysfunction may affect 25% of men under 40, and 52% of men aged 40 – 70.
Due to the stigma associated with ED, many men resort to taking supplements instead of seeking medical guidance - and we know how that turned out for basketball player Lamar Odom... he collapsed after taking a concoction of sexual supplements with unidentified ingredients. In his case, the cocaine didn’t help, but sexual supplements can react badly even with prescription meds. Before hunting down a natural fix - before climbing the Peruvian Andes in search of maca growing at high altitudes, or heading to China to chew on ‘horny goat weed’ (Epimedium) – it’s critical to mention that erectile dysfunction could be an early warning sign of another underlying health problem. Not getting medical guidance on erectile dysfunction means you could be putting yourself at risk for a heart attack or stroke. And without guidance, even all-natural sexual supplements can be harmful, either when taken alone or in conjunction with other medications.
However, it’s not panic levels we’re hoping to raise! Occasionally struggling to get an erection is nothing to be anxious about. It happens. And the ability to get and sustain an erection decreases with age. However, if you have ongoing problems with getting or keeping an erection, it’s important to book an appointment with your doctor to investigate whether the cause is organic, psychological or a symptom of a medical condition that requires attention.
While you’re weighing up chatting to a medical professional versus running another five kilometres from the problem, here is some information to consider…
Sexual arousal involves the brain, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, hormones and emotions. An issue with any single one of these areas can cause erectile dysfunction. The causes of erectile dysfunction can be broadly categorised as follows:
Heart diseases and other conditions like clogged blood vessels or atherosclerosis can impair blood flow to the heart and to the penis. Various other medical conditions can also result in erectile dysfunction, including thyroid problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, amongst others. Obesity, the long-term use of tobacco, drugs and / or alcohol are other risk factors. Injuries, especially those that damage the nerves or arteries that control erections, can also cause erectile dysfunction – and so do certain surgeries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord, along with some medical treatments, such as those for prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate.
Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions can cause erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, relationship troubles have the same effect. This can be compounded by a lack of communication and a resulting, growing distance between partners. Performance anxiety is another cause of ED, and this may be rooted in feelings of inadequacy, undesirable perceptions about one’s body or one’s masculinity, events in the past, or other issues. Speaking to a medical professional who is proficient at dealing with these matters, and who can assist you in finding new ways of thinking, can be highly beneficial.
Sometimes, a minor physical condition can cause a delay in the sexual response, during which time anxiety can kick in, resulting in the inability to get or maintain an erection.
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t exactly make for Sunday lunchtime banter but rest assured, it’s business as usual for your health care professionals. We talk ED daily! So, take the leap, book an appointment and make a difference to the quality of your life.