A romantic date, dinner and a movie, and… well, nothing! Erectile dysfunction (ED) is no laughing matter.
According to the World Health Organisation’s latest report, four in every ten South African men – young and old – are currently affected by erectile dysfunction.
However, if you think that ED is only an old man’s problem, think again! A study in the 2013 Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that ED is more common in younger men than previously thought. True, its prevalence does increase with age, but researchers noted that ED affected 20% of adult men under 40.
According to pharmaceutical companies in South Africa, men’s sexual health is currently in a crisis. A spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, Tumi Motsei, confirms that erectile dysfunction has been on the increase over the past few years. The question is why are younger men who are expected to be at their sexual peaks, unable to hold an erection?
There are many reasons why men may experience sexual problems. ED has been linked to excessive alcohol intake, drugs, steroids which increased muscle mass, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. 41% of South African men are considered obese and more than a quarter smoke. An estimated 31% suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure and one in three have cardiovascular disease – these factors contribute to ED.
ED in young men is often psychological. Fear and anxiety about having sex are likely to create a vicious cycle. Performance jitters, condom troubles (putting on a condom requires a break from stimulation, and when it’s on, it can reduce sensation), depression, stress-related jobs, money, and other life events, could cause a young man not to perform at all.
ED is present in 20 – 25% of infertile couples. So, does ED mean that you’re infertile? Not at all. According to Dr Michael Roizen, MD, ED and infertility are very different terms. You may be producing perfectly good sperm, but may have trouble with an erection – that’s erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, you may have no trouble “raising the rifle” but you’re shooting blanks – that’s infertility. Of course if you have ED, you won’t be able to deliver your perfectly good semen inside the woman you love to get her pregnant.
Remember, there are millions of men out there experiencing the same problem. The good news is that many of the psychological and physical factors that cause erection problems respond well to treatment. Lifestyle changes could make a positive difference for some men. Others benefit from medications, counselling or other treatments. Don’t be afraid to seek medical attention. It is important to contact your FP or urologist if persistent ED is present.
So, old or young, remember that it is normal to experience “engine failure” occasionally. Look for diversity and new experiences with your partner so that you can focus on present pleasure rather than reviewing past failures.
Source: www.dred.com, www.everydayhealth.com, www.healthline.com, www.bpas.org, mic.com, www.health24.com, www.news24.com, www.malefertility.md, www.sabc.co.za, www.sharecare.com, www.reproductivepartners.com