For those of us with adult men in our lives (whether they’re husbands, siblings, children, friends, or co-workers), the effects of erectile dysfunction can have profound consequences.
As a woman, this is one of those subjects I debated covering. Then I decided our primarily female demographic could benefit from some basic facts. Perhaps you can pass this along (subtly) to the men in your life.
The results of erectile dysfunction are not confined to men.The results of erectile dysfunction are not confined to men.Click To Tweet
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that impacts millions of men. To put that in perspective, more than half of the adult males in the United States over the age of forty suffer at one time or another with ED. That’s a staggering statistic with far-reaching implications.
ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection throughout the duration of sexual activity. It’s a touchy subject that can be awkward for the male going through it as well as his partner. They’re embarrassed and (I would imagine) confused that something so natural to their personal identity refuses to do what it has always done.
The men struggling with ED experience more than physical stress. They statistically feel the effects of erectile dysfunction mentally, emotionally, and sexually.
In our overtly sexual culture, such a condition can cause a male to question everything about what defines them as “men” – and that’s no way to live.
Sex is a core reference point in books, movie, television, and music. We’re inundated with sexual themes and adults (males in particular) are expected to deliver mind-blowing sex to their partners that lives up to the hype.
Talk about pressure.
From their teen years, sexual prowess is drilled into the brains of men, becoming a defining characteristic of the male existence. Stamina and ability are hard-wired into the “must have” column and the alternative is simply never considered until the effects of erectile dysfunction make themselves known.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Most cases of ED have a foundation in a health condition or lifestyle habit. Researchers found three issues that relate to many men regarding this under-reported and widely untreated problem.
- Being overweight or obese
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Moderate to high consumption of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco products
These lifestyle factors apply to 70% of the men who have erectile dysfunction. All of these are major risk factors for most serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. Blood flow to the penis may be constricted by these conditions as well as the medications prescribed to treat them.
The good news is that these lifestyle habits can be addressed and resolved. They are treatable, curable, and capable of making a man’s entire body healthier by default.
Where fear of heart disease or diabetes fail to inspire males to change their lifestyle habits, erectile dysfunction does! Sexual ability is so ingrained in the male psyche that being unable to perform is a stronger motivator than death from heart attack or stroke.
Mayo Clinic cardiologist, Stephen L. Kopecky, MD, expounded on this, “The risk factors for narrowing of the heart arteries and erectile dysfunction are really almost exactly the same: lack of exercise, being overweight or obese, diabetes, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and eating a poor diet.”
In fact, erectile dysfunction effects may be an “early warning system” your body uses to announce a bigger problem involving your heart health.ED effects may be an “early warning system” to announce a bigger heart health problem.Click To Tweet
The bottom line is that lowering your risk of major and life-threatening illnesses can prevent erectile dysfunction. However, more men are likely to address their inability to achieve or maintain an erection…which makes them healthier overall.
It’s a strange world we live in but since half of all adult men in the United States will deal with erectile dysfunction in their lifetime, perhaps it will be the key to making them healthier and keeping them with us into oldest age.
Less common but still notable are the psychological issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction. These are harder to define and are addressed even less often than physical causes.
- Feelings of guilt
- Anxiety, depression, or other mood disorder
- Fear of intimacy
- Extreme stress
- Poor communication with partner about sexual needs
- Pressure regarding sexual performance
Relationships suffer far more than sexually when a man has ED. Significant others might feel insecure, anxious, or embarrassed. This makes it difficult to talk about and harder to resolve. The longer it continues unresolved…the more tension and discomfort develops.
The Female Side of the Coin
Women experience ebbs and flows in sexuality throughout their lives depending on hormones, health, and other issues that may be emotional or psychological in nature. It’s embarrassing and tense for us as well and too often not something that can be resolved with lifestyle changes.
We must remove the stigma from discussing sexual health. The effects of erectile dysfunction or female sexual dysfunction can cause a dramatic change to feelings of self and result in long-term damage to an otherwise stable and loving relationship.
If there’s a man in your life suffering in silence, the good news is that taking a strong look at his overall health may help ease a problem too many don’t want to talk about.
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t have to be a silent shame. Men and women must work together to make it a thing of the past.