Erectile Dysfunction: A condition that frustrates men

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Some would call it men’s ego, and others name it machoism or male chauvinism; regardless, one of the most embarrassing moments for many men is when they cannot perform in the bedroom with a lady. Poor sex performance on the part of men can be demoralizing, resulting in low-esteem and embarrassment, unworthiness, and sometimes unattractiveness. On the other hand, most women hardly take it kindly if a man cannot satisfy them sexually. Available research has shown that in the case of bad performance in the bedroom, most women would try and look for alternative ways to satisfy their sexual desires by either leaving the relationship or cheating.

Photo: www.wikipedia.org


What is ED?

One of the leading causes of nasty sex is Erectile Dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough during sexual intercourse as defined by Mayo Clinic. Erectile Dysfunction is also known as impotence. 

Who are at risk?

Both young and older men are at risk of being affected by ED. Still, older ones are more likely to experience it than the younger generation, according to the Journal of Urology, 1994. However, a study by Boston University in 2002 states that ED is increasing among young men due to their luxurious lifestyle characterized by smoking and drug substances.

Data

Erectile Dysfunction is a global problem that affects almost 15 per cent of men annually, and its prevalence varies from one country to another (World Health Organization). For instance, studies indicate that approximately 30 million men in the United States have ED. Similarly, Cleveland Clinic, 2019, found out that in every ten men in the US, one has suffered from the disease at some point in their lifetime. Also, Canada and Hong Kong have reported a high prevalence rate of 41.4 and 63.6 per cent, respectively. This menace did not start recently. By 1995, more than 150 million men worldwide had ED, and recent research shows that the problem will skyrocket to 320 million by 2025 (International Journal of Impotence Research, 2000).

Causes

ED occurs in men when they experience low blood flow to the penis. When any man experiences sexual arousal, the penis’ muscles relax to increase blood flow via penile arteries to two chambers in the penis. As a result, the penis becomes rigid and ready for sexual intercourse. Nevertheless, when the muscles contract, and the blood in the two chambers flows through the veins, an erection ends, and the desire for sex immediately stops. Erectile Dysfunction is linked to underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Etc. or emotional distress.  

The causes of ED have been grouped into two categories: physical and psychological issues. Common physical causes of ED include low testosterone, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, surgeries or injuries that interfere with the pelvic area, Peyronie’s, tissue development inside the penis, and clogged blood vessels. 

Other physical factors are metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, specific medical prescriptions, tobacco use, treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate, alcoholism and sleep disorders. 

Depression, anxiety and stress are among the psychological problems. Social problems like the death of loved ones, unemployment, etc., may reduce a man’s appetite for sex. Likewise, people suffering from depression are at risk of developing ED (The Journal of Medicine, 2018). The research further discovered that those with ED are three times more likely to experience depression. 

Experts have noted that Medical-related issues are the major causes of Erectile Dysfunction, with blood pressure medication being on top of the list (Boston University School of Medicine, 2002). Equally, the Boston University research linked 64 and 57 per cent cases of ED to heart attacks and bypass surgery, respectively. In addition, obesity and diabetes have caused ED in 8 million men worldwide (Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski, 2014). 

Effects

Erectile dysfunction may lead to stress and a lack of self-confidence in men. The inability to get or maintain an erection may cause enormous problems in a relationship; it may equally lead to cheating. It is little wonder why medical experts, relation therapists or even sociologists would often advise those with ED problems to seek medical help. 

Treatment

Unlike some sickness such as HIV/AIDS, which have no cure, Erectile Dysfunction is treatable. After your doctor diagnosed you with ED, they will administer the appropriate type of treatment, which can be medication or talk therapy. Sometimes you will be required to take several medicines until you find the best drug for the symptoms. Oral medicines like Avanafil, Viagra, tadalafil and vardenafil can stimulate blood flow to the penis. The total yearly spending on Viagra, Vardenafil and Cialis is $1 billion worldwide, according to a study conducted by Clinical Pharmacology&Therapeautics in 2011. In some cases, Alprostadil, also known as Caverject, can be administered as a penile suppository or as a self-injection at the base or side of the penis to treat ED, said experts. Doctors also recommend testosterone therapy to people with low testosterone.

Photo: www.brisbaneurologyclinic.com.au/erectile-dysfunction


Another necessary treatment is the use of a vacuum pump to stimulate an erection. The pump draws blood into the penis, and as a result, an erection occurs. 

Finally, there is talk therapy, which works well when one is experiencing psychological ED. Book an appointment with a relationship counsellor and share your challenges to get solutions.

If treatment fails to work, surgery might be the best option. There are two types of ED surgery: implants and vascular. Implants, also known as the prosthesis, are placed in the penis to allow you to use a pump to make your penis larger (inflatable implant) or enable you to resize your penis manually (malleable implant). On the other hand, vascular surgery opens blocked arteries to allow adequate blood flow to the penis.

Cost and Ego

Despite various treatment methods available for Erectile Dysfunction, only a handful of men with ED seek treatment (The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2014). The high cost of the therapy plays a significant part in a low number of men who seek medical treatment for their ED-related problems. According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2018, expensive treatment like penile prosthesis can scare many men. Furthermore, ego and sometimes cultural taboos and expectations discourage many men from discussing their ED problems. That prevents the patients from seeking medical treatments. 

A healthy lifestyle can prevent Erectile Dysfunction. Engage in regular physical exercising, quit smoking, seek help for anxiety, stress or depression, visit your physician regularly. Furthermore, eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits, moderating red meat, full-fat dairy, and processed sugars will go a long way in preventing Erectile Dysfunction – and helping you avoid unnecessary embarrassment in bed and emotional stress.

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