Sexual health is an important aspect of life, with benefits to our physical and emotional well-being. Sexual dysfunctions can be a great source of frustration and affect our intimate relationships.
For men, erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual health problem that doctors see. More than 50 percent of men above 30 years old reported some degree of ED in Singapore, with increasing prevalence as they age.
Here are the 3 most common causes of ED, and the treatment options available.
common causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Some medication can cause erectile dysfunction as a known side effect. Such medication includes beta-blockers which are used to treat high blood pressure, antidepressants, and antihistamines.
Recommendation: If you are currently on any medication and are experiencing low libido and/or erectile dysfunction, speak to your doctor to switch or adjust medication or load. Never stop medication on your own without a doctor’s advice as it may be life-threatening to do so!
#2: Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol can damage the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. When that happens, the blood vessels are unable to dilate to bring in a strong flow of blood to maintain an erection.
Recommendation: There are a few ways to approach this. Your doctor may recommend you to treat the underlying chronic illness to prevent ED from worsening or even reverse it. Another is through the prescription of medications like Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra, which can be effective whether the cause of ED is physical or related to anxiety.
#3: Mental Stressors
Stress can arise from various sources, such as work, relationships, financial worry, loss of a loved one. When the body is under stress, cortisol, also known as “stress hormone”, is produced in favour of testosterone. The drop in the level of testosterone results in the lack of sexual desire. Put simply, having a head full of worries does not allow one to have good sex.
Stress can also lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, overeating which can lower the libido. For example, the tobacco in cigarettes has been linked to a decrease in the production of testosterone.
Recommendation: Overcoming mental stressors may not be straightforward. Make time for self-care activities and incorporate good habits to better manage your stress. Speak to someone who might be able to help. For example, a superior at work who might be able to reassign job roles, or find someone trusted to talk it out, be it to share the burden or to discuss solutions.
Breathing exercise and meditation can also help reduce the inflammation response caused by stress. If you find that you are overwhelmed and unable to cope, consider speaking to a a psychologist or counsellor on the DA app for non-judgmental and objective support.