“Man survives earthquakes, experiences the horrors of illness, and all of the tortures of the soul. But the most tormenting tragedy of all time is, and will be, the tragedy of the bedroom!”
Erectile Dysfunction is a common and under-diagnosed condition because most men and their partners are unwilling to seek help with matters of the bedroom. It is defined as the inability of a man to maintain a firm erection long enough to facilitate sexual intercourse.
The human sexual response cycle consists of excitement, plateau, orgasmic and resolution phases in both genders. Erectile dysfunction can affect all or any of the phases leading to inability to enjoy intercourse or to satisfy one’s partner.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
The causes of Erectile Dysfunction are varied. Often they have to do with our lifestyle, psychological issues and sometimes maybe as a result of disease. Erectile dysfunction in the younger age group i.e less than 40 years of age is due to psychological factors while in the older age group may be due to both disease and psychological factors.
Psychological causes include anxiety, depression, fatigue, guilt, stress, marital discord and drug and alcohol abuse. Diseases that may cause erectile dysfunction include heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke among others. It can also result from injuries to the spinal cord and surgery to the colon, bladder or prostate and as a side effect from certain medications. Of note is that some of the medicines used in treatment of erectile dysfunction may make some health conditions worse.
Before you buy that medicine or herbal preparation to improve your libido, it is advised that you explore all the possible causes of your sexual dysfunction and address them.
This is because the answer may lie in lifestyle modification and not in repeated self medication with over the counter medication such as Viagra or Cialis and other herbal preparations.
Lifestyle modification may include:
• Limit or avoid alcohol use
• Stop smoking.
• Exercise regularly.
• Reduce stress.
• Get enough sleep.
• Deal with anxiety or depression.
• Improve communication with your partner.
If the above does not help, seek help from a counsellor, psychotherapist, sex therapists, a urologist, a gynaecologist or a physician.
This article is written in the interests of Public Information on issues of Reproductive Health.
The Writer is a Resident in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi.
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