Every man dreads it – and the more he does, the more likely he is to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
Almost every man faces an issue getting an erection, or maintaining one, at some point in time. It happens occasionally and could be the result of a lack of sexual desire for the partner, or physical exhaustion or simply stress. If you are a healthy male with no known sexual health problems, then you need not worry if you recently had a performance issue in the bedroom–especially if there have been no problems since. However, if it is a repeated occurrence and causing turmoil, it may be time to see if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can happen due to physiological and psychological issues or a combination of both.
Contrary to popular belief, men are not always as physically attuned to the demands of sex as popular culture makes them out to be. Though you may wish to have sex, your body might not respond like you would expect it to, i.e. with an erect penis that sustains the erection and ejaculates at the end of it.
Rest, combined with stress-relieving exercises like meditation, can help you get over this occasional ‘slump’.
If it happens often, you need to see your doctor
You need to seek expert advice if you are experiencing repeated episodes of erectile dysfunction. This is when you should consult your physician:
- If there is a sudden difference in your sexual response to the same stimuli that normally gave you an erection. For example, if you do not get an erection even with enough foreplay
- If you notice physiological changes. For example, an ascended testicle, or a difference in the penis or testicles’ appearance, size or texture
- If you experience pain during intercourse.
- If you ejaculate within seconds of getting an erection
- If you are unable to sustain the erection like you used to
- If you are aware that stress and anxiety impact your sexual performance, and want a remedy for them
- If you are otherwise healthy with no dip in fitness levels
The causes of erectile dysfunction
Too often, the phenomenon of erectile dysfunction is viewed at–and sometimes treated–only through the prism of a malfunctioning penis. However, the problem does not exist in isolation and your sex organs certainly do not stop behaving like they normally do without other contributing factors. These factors could be:
- Underlying medical conditions that impact sexual health, like diabetes, elevated blood pressure, certain types of mental illness like Parkinson’s Disease, obesity, high levels of cholesterol, clogged arteries, etc.
- Certain medications that impact blood flow or change neurological responses to stimuli
- Hormonal changes
- Sleep disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies like zinc
- Substance abuse, alcoholism, use of tobacco, smoking
- Injuries to the pelvic region or post-surgical complications
- An enlarged prostate
- Fear of not being able to perform sexually – this can prevent an erection
- Relationship problems, or lack of sexual desire for your partner, or knowledge that your partner is not physically attracted to you
How is erectile dysfunction treated?
Any doctor or specifically an andrologist will tell you that lifestyle and mental health management are keys to eliminating erectile dysfunction aside from the management of the underlying diseases or medications.
- In terms of lifestyle changes, you can try managing your weight, keeping blood sugar levels and blood pressure under control, and exercising regularly.
- A diet rich in leafy vegetables, seasonal fruit, fibre, and good fats is essential for good blood circulation. Avoid smoking, consuming alcohol and drugs.
- Meanwhile, try meditation or get professional help to reduce anxiety and depression.
Non-medical ways of managing erectile dysfunction may include conversations with your partner, professional counseling and increasing foreplay. Aside from lifestyle management techniques, when physiological causes are involved, erectile dysfunction may require management of the underlying diseases, discontinuation of the medications involved, and the addition of other drugs to help with erections. These management methods, however, require the consultation of an andrologist. Hence, if you find yourself suffering from ED do not hesitate to consult with a doctor.