Sex as a topic remains a taboo in India and this is why most sexual health problems go unnoticed and untreated both among men and women. Erectile Dysfunction is a common type of male sexual dysfunction. It affects about 30 per cent of men above the age of 40 years and 20 per cent across age groups experience difficulties in getting/maintaining an erection. If an individual is diagnosed with ED, the first step is to reach out to a doctor as it can be a sign of underlying health problem. In this article, Dr Pramod Krishnappa MBBS, MS (Surg), DNB (Urology), Andrology Fellow (Spain, Chicago), Consultant Andrologist, Dept of Urology, NU Hospitals & NU Fertility, Bangalore, shares an understanding of erectile dysfunction in men, and what can be done to deal with the problem.
First step is to get educated
Heart diseases, clogged blood vessels, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, stress, depression and lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol consumption are few of the main causes of erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure and diabetes can impair blood flow to the penis. Changes in the endocrine system, such as reduced testosterone production due to age, genetics, or obesity, can also play a role. Sometimes ED can indicate that the blood vessels are clogged. If you don’t see a doctor, these problems will go untreated.
One of the best ways to prevent ED is by living a healthy lifestyle and managing existing health conditions that one might possibly have. Exercising regularly can be helpful. Excessive smoking and alcohol intake should also be controlled. While the condition also leads to stress, anxiety, or depression, in this case, you may consult a psychiatrist or psychologist or counselor if there is a need.
In most cases, treatments like oral medications, penile injections and penile implants are available depending on the severity of the condition. Oral medications are usually the first line of treatment for erectile dysfunction.
However, when there is no response to oral or injectable medications, then penile prosthesis (implants) is a practical and long-term option especially in severe cases of ED. While penile implants are the lesser-known treatment, it is important to know that penile implants are easy to use and men report high satisfaction rate following the treatment.
Say no to products without consulting an expert
Most often people shy away from consulting an expert and instead opt for products like supplements, creams etc. available in the online and offline market, but this might not be safe. Therefore, before using any such products check with your Andrologist to make sure it’s safe for you- especially if you have chronic health conditions.
Talking about erectile dysfunction doesn’t make you less of a man, but this is all that’s needed to diagnose this condition and manage it. So, open and honest communication is the foundation to a good sexual relationship.