Bottom line: it’s all too common, and we need to start talking about it. Figuring out why you’re suffering could maybe even save your life.
What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), is defined as the inability to maintain an erection firm enough for satisfying sexual activity, is a common problem which is, according to the Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, experienced by a third of men over the age of 40.
While ED itself is not a life-threatening disorder, it can be a sign of a more serious medical condition, including heart disease. This is because coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries. This reduces the blood flow to the heart and affects the functioning of blood vessels, which tends to affect the blood vessels of the penis first.
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What Causes ED?
“We encourage men to see their doctor if they experience ED so that they can be screened for underlying disease and potentially prevent a serious cardiac event in the future,” says Dr Heather Blaylock, a medical doctor with a special interest in sexual health. She adds that social habits such as smoking and alcohol use also contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Because ED can be the first symptom of underlying heart disease, it’s important to speak to your doctor about this condition and to address what the underlying cause might be. Occasionally struggling to get or maintain an erection—well, that’s normal. But ongoing untreated erectile dysfunction can also have a profound psychological effect on your self-esteem and relationships.
“ED has negative psychological outcomes for men. They see it as humiliating or something that lessens their status as a man, not to mention the many myths about ED,” says Blaylock. “Their partners may feel unattractive, unwanted or guilty. Partner support during treatment is also very important for better outcomes.” She adds that men visiting her practice often feel embarrassed and not worthy of attention and think that their ED was just part of the normal ageing process.
According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a quarter of new diagnoses of ED are for men under the age of 40. So, seeing your doc ASAP is vital. The good news is that ED medications have evolved and improved and that there are many options available.
You’re Experiencing ED, Now What?
“Treatment options include the group of drugs known as PDE5-inhibitors and include tadalafil, sildenafil and vardenafil. Options for use now include lower dose daily dosing as well as on-demand single doses, with some lasting up to 36 hours,” says Blaylock, adding that as with any medication, there are side effects, and these can include flushing, headache, nasal congestion and indigestion.
“It is also important for men to know that normal sexual stimulation is still required for arousal.” Some meds might also interact with food and alcohol while others do not, which might be an important consideration when discussing treatment with a healthcare practitioner. Blaylock says the use of a PDE5 medication not only improves sexual function and satisfaction but can also improve your relationship with your partner. “Everyone wants a cure, but there is no magic cure. Men should not suffer as there are many safe options available,” says Blaylock. With these current medications as well as more novel and experimental treatments becoming available, men who suffer from erectile dysfunction should really not suffer in silence.
There are also newer generic medications that have made the treatment of ED more accessible and affordable to more South African men. Speak to your doctor about the possible causes of ED and what the most suitable medication for you might be. It could be the most important doctor’s visit of your life.
Find out more at www.getturnedon.co.za