Talking about the Taboo: Erectile Dysfunction in Men

A not so talked about reality around sex is the fact that many a times, a man might not be able to perform. The reasons are many, from stress to an underlying health issue, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a big, not so talked about truth of our bedrooms. The taboo around is so much that men try not not to openly talk about it even to their peers, leave an expert. Let’s get to know more about this sexual health disease. 

A scene where a male character is stereotypically shown macho, where he is the decision maker of the house, gets hyped by his peers about finally having that intimate night with his partner but ends up with not being able to perform. It might sound like the scene of a movie, but the truth be told can be the scene of many homes around the world.

The truth about ED is not so common. Just talking about this health issue is such a taboo that many men think it is something that only happens to ‘others’.

Men who are struggling with ED are generally unable to go through the experience of any sexual activity or enjoy the pleasure of it. They feel highly ashamed and embarrassed of themselves. Even though ED is treatable and seeking help for erectile dysfunction should be your first step if you are experiencing it. 

As many men have decided to stay silent about ED, we took the matter in our hands to guide you about it. Have a look below:

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

When a man is dealing with erectile dysfunction or impotence, getting an erection or keeping one is hard for him. Some men might get an erection but not last long during the sexual activity, while some might never get an erection even if they want to. In most of the cases, erectile dysfunction is the result of an underlying health problem. However, it is not considered normal at any age and has been associated with other sexual health issues such as low sex drive and problems in ejaculation. 

Erectile dysfunction is known to be a common sexual health problem and does not have to be associated with older age. The failure to get an erection less than 20% of the time is not unusual and typically does not require treatment. However, the failure to achieve an erection more than 50% of the time generally means that there is a problem and treatment is needed. 

Causes

There can be a range of factors affecting your vascular system, nervous system as well as endocrine system that can lead to erectile dysfunction in a man. Some of the following diseases may cause ED in a man:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart and Blood Vessel Disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High Blood pressure
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s Disease
  • Injury from treatments for prostate cancer, including radiation therapy and prostate surgery
  • Injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder, or pelvis
  • Surgery for Bladder Cancer 

Let’s not forget about the psychological factors that can put you at risk of erectile dysfunction: 

  • fear of sexual failure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • guilt about sexual performance or certain sexual activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress—about sexual performance, or stress in your life in general

Along with that, there are certain lifestyle factors that can lead to erectile dysfunction, such as:

  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • using illegal drugs
  • being overweight
  • not being physically active
Erectile Dysfunction in men can have underlying health causes.

Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction

The first step towards healing your erectile dysfunction would be to see a urologist and explain him your sexual health problem. Before you go for any tests, the doctor will review your medical history as well as perform a thorough physical exam. As there are a variety of causes of erectile dysfunction, the urologist will then make you go through a number of tests to find the cause of your problem. Some of these are:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Liver and kidney function tests
  • Lipid profile
  • Thyroid function test
  • Blood hormone studies
  • Urinalysis
  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Bulbocavernosus reflex
  • Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)
  • Penile biothesiometry
  • Vasoactive injection
  • Dynamic infusion cavernosometry
  • Cavernosography
  • Arteriography

Treatment

The very first step to treat ED is to take care of your heart and vascular health. You can also make some certain lifestyle changes like diet changes, quitting smoking, drugs, alcohol and engaging in exercising.

If you have been dealing with psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety, you will be referred to a mental health professional to talk it out and seek help as well. However, non-invasive treatments are tried first. Some of these treatment for erectile dysfunction are:

  • Oral drugs or pills known as phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors are most often prescribed in the U.S. for erectile dysfunction (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Stendra)
  • Testosterone Therapy (when low testosterone is detected in blood testing)
  • Penile Injections (ICI, intracavernosal Alprostadil)
  • Intraurethral medication (IU, Alprostadil)
  • Vacuum Erection Devices
  • Penile Implants
  • Surgery to bypass penile artery damage for some younger men with a history of severe pelvic trauma. Penile vascular surgery is not recommended for older men with hardened arteries.

You can always talk to your doctor about the side effects of the above given treatments.

Conclusion

As we said, going through an ED is considered taboo in our society and Men are too embarrassed to talk about it with a doctor, so they keep on dealing with it by themselves. However, it is high time that they seek help for it and get treated without feeling a tinge of shame or embarrassment. It is only a disease and sometimes just the normal fear of performance. All you need to do is open up to a urologist and find the right treatment.

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