Nowadays, I see more men of younger age consulting for the following reasons: they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection and they have reduced sexual desire. The fast-paced life and steep demands to provide for their families is taking its toll on physical and mental health of most men causing them to have these complaints. Unhealthy lifestyle also predispose to acquiring chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension at a younger age. I have seen construction workers, call center agents, and regular employees with these problems.
Erectile Dysfunction, although common in older age, does not necessarily come in your 40s or 60s. ED, also known as impotence, is defined as the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.
Most cases are due to narrowing of the arteries that take blood to the penis. This is due to a build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma) in these arteries in the same way that heart arteries are affected in people with heart disease.
The male sexual arousal is a complex process involving the brain, nerves, hormones, muscles and blood vessels. While in most cases, ED is caused by physical conditions, and it can also be psychological.
There is a long list of conditions which may cause ED, on top of these are hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, high cholesterol, obesity, degenerative diseases, some prescription medications, smoking, alcohol use and surgery or injuries that affect the pelvic area. Prolonged biking, which can compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis may also lead to temporary or permanent ED. Mental illness, depression, stress, marital problems and anxiety contribute to psychological risk factors.
Having trouble getting an erection from time to time may not be a problem but if it lingers, it can cause stress, affect self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. It can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment. It is imperative that one should seek consultation if he experiences sexual problems including premature or delayed ejaculation, is diabetic or hypertensive or is having any known disease that is linked to erectile dysfunction.
Aside from blood tests to rule out chronic diseases, there are invasive and non- invasive tests that patients with ED may undergo to confirm diagnosis. These include Color Duplex Doppler Ultrasound, Penile Arteriography MRI and Nocturnal Penile Erection Monitoring.
There are a lot of drugs in the market now, which are available to address erectile dysfunction. ED is usually treatable, most commonly by a tablet taken before sex. However, here are some helpful tips:
* Control your blood pressure and monitor your sugar. Control of chronic conditions is very important.
* If you are a smoker, best to quit. Seek counsel if you have difficulty quitting.
* Maintain a healthy body weight. Being obese may worsen ED.
* Follow an exercise regimen to increase well- being as well as blood supply flow.
* Ask the help of a counselor if you are having marital issues. Let your partner know what you are going through.
* If you feel like you are suffering from mental illness, go see your doctor.
* Get treatment for alcohol or drug problems.
* Feel good about yourself and believe that your condition is temporary. There are other means to satisfy bodily desires.
Men turning 40 undergo special transition stage, which is complex and multifactorial, but when one believes that everything is transitory, life becomes easier to live.