Erectile dysfunction (ED), as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), is the inability to attain and maintain and erection adequate for penetrative sex. Today in my clinical practice a female patient (about fifty years of age) said that she and her husband were very committed in their long term relationship and were not ready to “stop playing or having fun” in the bedroom. But there was one problem… her husband (54 years of age) was beginning to show signs of ED.
Jonathan was having difficulty maintaining his erection and it was beginning to impact their relationship. He was quite embarrassed and had not sought treatment despite his wife’s urging to speak to their family doctor. She was concerned that it may be a sign of other health problems.
Erectile Dysfunction is the canary in the coal mine and may be a sign of things to come.
ED is a common condition affecting about 50% of all Canadian men 40+ years of age (based on a Canadian survey of men seen by primary care physicians).* Men in their twenties and thirties may also experience ED.
It is not uncommon for men to feel embarrassed when they begin to have erection difficulties and want to ignore the issue. This can be a big mistake because it may in fact be a sign of an underlying health problem like heart disease or diabetes. It may also lead to anger, difficulties in a relationship, sleep problems, and even depression.
There are a number of different causes for erectile dysfunction which can include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor penile blood flow
- Chronic illness
Having occasional erection difficulties isn’t always a cause for concern; however, if persistent, it may cause stress, impact sexual self esteem, and negatively effect one’s relationship.
It is advisable to speak to your doctor about erectile dysfunction. It seems that most men are quite embarrassed when this arises (pun intended) because they feel it strikes at their manhood. In many cases ED can be reversed, so it’s important to open that discussion with your healthcare provider.
There are many treatment options for erectile dysfunction which can include:
- Healthy diet
- Medications that increase blood flow
- Vacuum pumps
- Pellets containing medication inserted into the urethra
Sex is intimately tied to health. People who are sexually active look younger, have better moods and sleep better. It is also the best and most natural pain medication ever. You’ll want to treat your erectile dysfunction so you can have more fun and get back to the bedroom!