Have you ever encountered a hoarding or wall poster with ‘Gupt Rog’ written on it? Or do you frequently see advertisements that treat men’s intimate health as a taboo subject? Men’s intimate issues are a broad topic that only a few consider important enough to discuss openly. Though today’s woke media has busted many stereotypes about men’s health, there is still much work to be done in this field. Erectile Dysfunction occurs when a man is unable to obtain or maintain a firm enough erection for intercourse. It can indicate a physical or psychological problem. It can also lead to stress, relationship strain, and low self-esteem. Patients with erectile dysfunction should be evaluated for underlying physical and psychological conditions first.
According to The Print, a study in 2021 discovered observable viral particles and RNA in the blood vessels of the penis in a small sample size of just two infected men and two healthy men as controls.
It discovered that during the COVID-19 epidemic, a certain proportion of adult men had decreased sexual function, and the risk factors included increased anxiety and depression, as well as a decreased frequency of sexual life.
According to the Financial Express, a study published in the Journal of Andrology found that men who had COVID were 5.6 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Let’s have a look at some of the main leading causes of Erectile Dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction, like many other health issues, becomes more common as you get older. According to research, approximately 2% to 12% of men in their forties have some form of ED, this percentage rises with each decade of life. In fact, more than half of men over the age of 70 have some form of ED.
Obesity and Inactive Lifestyle
We are all aware that being overweight is harmful to our health. Did you know, however, that being overweight causes your body to convert testosterone into estrogen? This is one of the reasons scientists believe obesity and sedentary lifestyles (little to no exercise, unhealthy food choices, etc.) can lead to erectile dysfunction problems.
Fortunately, this is a treatable issue. You can lose weight and start exercising more if you have the right support. Your erections will most likely improve and last longer as you progress. However, before beginning any diet or exercise program, always consult with your healthcare provider.
Diabetes is a difficult diagnosis for many reasons, and unfortunately, erectile dysfunction is one of the medical issues that many diabetic men must deal with. The longer you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), the more likely it is that you will develop ED.
The good news is that how well you control your blood sugar levels has a real impact on your risk of ED. An estimated 2% to 12% of all 40-year-old men have ED, but that percentage rises to 50% if only those with high blood sugar are considered. Diabetes-related erectile dysfunction isn’t always completely reversible, but you can surely make it a lot better or less likely to occur by following your doctor’s advice to control your diabetes.
Tobacco use, including smoking, is linked to a variety of sexual problems, including erectile dysfunction. Tobacco use reduces blood flow all through your entire body. This includes a man’s penis blood vessels. If the blood supply is reduced there, achieving and maintaining an erection becomes much more difficult. Fortunately, this is reversible. When you stop smoking, your erections will improve.
Heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
Erectile dysfunction has an important relationship with a man’s cardiovascular health. High blood pressure and high cholesterol have long been known to contribute to ED. Recent research, however, has found that when healthy men develop erectile dysfunction, many of them are diagnosed with heart disease less than 5 years later. So, if you have ED and no other health problems, you should ask your doctor to examine your heart. By recognizing the warning signs early, you may be able to prevent the growth of heart disease.
Stress and anxiety can interfere with how your brain sends messages to the penis to allow extra blood flow during an erection. Stress and anxiety about ED can also contribute to an ongoing ED cycle. Experiencing it can result in behavioural changes that cause more anxiety and ED occurrences, like a vicious cycle.
Mental Health Issues
We often come across the phrase “mind over matter.” In the case of erectile dysfunction, the brain plays a significant role in the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. When you’re stressed or struggling with your mental health, your brain may have difficulty creating nerve connections and releasing the hormones that cause an erection.
Depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, watching too much pornography, and even performance anxiety in the bedroom are examples of stress factors. With the right support or treatment, these are manageable and potentially reversible.
Sleep problems can have an effect on your testosterone and oxygen levels. This can result in a variety of problems, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). Researchers have discovered a high prevalence of ED in men with obstructive sleep apnea, but they are unsure why this happens.
Low Testosterone Levels
One in every four men has lower-than-normal testosterone levels, also known as low T. Men’s health issues caused by low T include hair loss, insomnia, low sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. The lower your testosterone level, the more symptoms you may experience.
This is easily diagnosed with a simple blood test and is treatable with medications. When testosterone levels are back to normal, most men will notice that their ED symptoms improve or disappear entirely.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Men frequently wonder whether sexually transmitted infections (formerly known as STDs) can cause erectile dysfunction. The quick answer is yes. Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, untreated HIV, and viral hepatitis can sometimes cause infections in the prostate gland. If this occurs, it is possible that you will experience ED symptoms.
Most of the time, treating both the prostate infection and taking steps to manage STIs will resolve any ED issues. A prostate infection, on the other hand, can cause permanent damage if left untreated, so it’s best to see your doctor about it as soon as possible.
Sexuality is an essential aspect of life. Sexual issues in men, such as erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels, can cause them to experience a variety of negative emotions, including dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and doubt.
Regardless of the issue and contributing factors (illness, medication, male menopause, etc.), it is advised to put your problem-solving hat on and seek out expert help.
For many men, erectile dysfunction is caused or worsened by lifestyle choices. Here are some steps that might help:
- If you smoke, quit. If you have trouble quitting, get help. Try nicotine replacement, or ask your doctor about a prescription medication that can help you quit.
- Lose excess pounds. Being overweight can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help with underlying conditions that play a part in erectile dysfunction in numerous ways, including reducing stress, helping you lose weight and increasing blood flow.
- Get treatment for alcohol or drug problems. Drinking too much or taking certain illegal drugs can worsen erectile dysfunction directly or by causing long-term health problems.
- Work through relationship issues. Consider couples counselling if you’re having trouble improving communication with your partner or working through problems on your own.
If your Erectile Dysfunction is affecting your mental health or relationship, your doctor may also advise you and your partner to see a psychologist or a sexual therapist.