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  • Dr. Joan Irvine

Erectile Dysfunction Messes with Men’s Head ... and Relationships!


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is more than just a physical condition; it can deeply affect a man's psychological well-being and intimate relationships. The societal pressures and misconceptions surrounding masculinity and sexual performance often exacerbate the stress and embarrassment men feel when dealing with ED. This can lead to significant emotional distress, withdrawal from intimate relationships, or even secretive behaviors, such as seeking affairs to avoid confronting sexual difficulties.


The silence that frequently surrounds the issue of ED only fuels the stigma and shame many men experience. It's a misconception that age dictates sexual capabilities or desires, a belief that unfortunately, some healthcare professionals may still hold, leading to dismissive attitudes towards older patients with ED concerns.


However, it's crucial for men to know the availability of diverse treatment options and the importance of open communication, both with healthcare providers and partners.


Here's a closer look at the available treatments and strategies for managing ED:


Lifestyle Changes

Improving lifestyle factors is a foundational approach to managing ED. This includes adopting a healthy diet, regular physical activity, quitting smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, managing stress, and ensuring adequate sleep. Such changes can have a profound effect on erectile function and overall well-being.

Hormone Therapy

Low testosterone levels can be a contributing factor to ED. Hormone replacement therapy may be beneficial for some men, helping to restore normal testosterone levels and improve erectile function.

Medications

Oral medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra) are commonly prescribed for ED. They work by enhancing blood flow to the penis, facilitating the achievement and maintenance of an erection.

Vacuum Devices

Vacuum erection devices (VEDs) offer a non-invasive method to achieve an erection through vacuum pressure, followed by the placement of a constriction ring to maintain the erection.

Penile Injections

Direct penile injections can be effective for some men. These injections help relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, leading to an erection.

GAINSWave Therapy

GAINSWave therapy is a non-invasive treatment utilizing low-intensity sound waves to enhance blood flow, remove micro-plaque, and stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the penis.

Penile Implants

In cases where other treatments are not effective, penile implants may be considered. These devices can be inflatable or semi-rigid, allowing for control over when and how long an erection lasts.

Psychotherapy and Counseling

Since ED can also have psychological causes or contribute to mental health issues, counseling or therapy can be crucial in addressing performance anxiety, relationship problems, and other underlying issues.

Cannabis

Although cannabis may be like Viagra for women, men need to be careful not to overindulged since it could cause ‘stoner boner’ aka a limp penis. As with any cannabis consumption, remember ‘Low and Slow’ is THE mantra.  

 It's important to remember that sexual intimacy is not solely about penetration. The majority of women (70%) experience orgasm through clitoral stimulation. Exploring various forms of intimacy can enrich a sexual relationship and alleviate the pressure associated with ED.


Opening up about ED can be challenging, but it's a vital step towards maintaining healthy, fulfilling relationships. Men are encouraged to seek support from healthcare professionals and engage in honest conversations with their partners. Together, you can explore treatments and adjustments to overcome the challenges posed by ED, ensuring a rewarding intimate life.


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UPDATE 05/06/24


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