Let’s Talk…Erectile Dysfunction
You may be experiencing Erectile Dysfunction.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability of a man to develop or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. It is a condition which affects about 10% of men, and most find it difficult to talk about it, so many just suffer in silence without asking for help.
It can be an occasional occurrence, which could be normal, and could happen because of excessive alcohol intake, relationship problems, stress, or extreme fatigue. Failing to achieve an erection more than 50% of the time is abnormal and needs to be investigated.
Who is at risk?
All men can experience Erectile Dysfunction. Contributing factors that increase your risk can be physical or psychological.
Physical factors can include:
Obesity, Substance Abuse(alcohol or drugs), Sleep Disorders(e,g, sleep apnoea), Heart Disease, Diabetes, Vascular disease (Atherosclerosis), Neurological disease (Multiple sclerosis, Stroke), High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, and medications(e.g. antidepressants, antihypertensives, tranquillisers, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and several others).
Psychological factors include: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Issues, Stress
What can you do if you are experiencing Erectile Dysfunction?
Find a General Practitioner you can talk openly with. Be up front, tell them exactly what’s happening and any possible contributing factors. Booking in to see a doctor is the best course of action. If your GP is female and you find you’re too embarrassed to discuss it with her, book in with a male GP if that makes you feel more at ease.
To prepare for a consultation, write down as much information as possible to help you describe the problem.
Important things to tell your GP are:
1. your symptoms and how often they occur
2. how this is affecting you mentally
3. contributing factors, e.g. smoking, drinking, stress, medications, medical conditions.
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction, most of which will contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.
1.Have a healthy balanced diet, including vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs and other sources of protein
(meat and fish). You can find lots of great, delicious recipes online that include a variety of the necessary nutrients.
2. Get off the couch and move! Have some regular daily exercise which could simply include going for a walk, or doing some jobs such as gardening or mowing the lawn. Use a pedometer or your mobile phone to count your daily steps. We should all be doing at least 10,000 steps per day.
3. Cut down on your alcohol intake, even just reducing it by a third will generate great health benefits.
6. Meditation: Be aware of your own mindset. Take time to think about your mental health. Breathing exercises, stress release, talking with someone: these can all contribute to reducing the stress we can all carry.