Erectile dysfunction is a common problem. There are as many as 30 million men in the United States affected by the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Men with ED are persistently unable to complete sexual intercourse because they are unable to become erect or to have an erection last long enough for intercourse.
The likelihood of ED increases with age – but it can happen at any age, and for a variety of reasons.
Reasons Behind Erectile Dysfunction
There are many reasons why a man may experience erectile dysfunction. The physical cause of ED is decreased blood flow to the penis. This can occur due to conditions including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
There are also emotional or psychological components to be considered. Stress in particular can interfere with sexual function.
While the brain isn’t officially a sexual organ, it’s equally important to the process of having sex. Turning off stress and its complications (depression, anxiety) isn’t easy. And these emotional and psychological triggers produce very real effects in the body, such as increasing blood pressure and fatigue, which can interfere with the ability to achieve an erection. Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol may also suppress testosterone, reducing the sexual drive in men who are overly stressed.
Then there is the cyclical problem of ED. Dysfunction in the bedroom create more stress and anxiety, which in turn can affect future sexual performance.
Managing stress is a good first step for men with ED not caused by a medical condition. Identifying stressors is key. It shouldn’t be too difficult to identify stressors that are inhibiting sexual performance. The same emotions that creep into your psyche and inhibit sexual performance are the culprits you need to face outside of the bedroom. What is the root cause of your stress? Think about it outside of your sexual relationship and aside from the confines your bedroom. Facing stress head on, defining the problem and taking responsibility for its pursuit and resolution may help relieve you of the burden of it creeping in at inopportune times, as when you’re focusing on the pleasures of sex.
Life-work balance, a healthy diet, and healthy lifestyle choices can also help relieve stress.
Recreational drugs and excessive alcohol aren’t stress relievers. Each creates more stress, strain, and long-term health issues on the body. Self-medicating is a temporary fix that in truth doesn’t fix anything, but masks symptoms.
If you’re unable to manage stress on your own then by all means, seek professional help.
A good place to start is speaking with your health care provider about your erectile dysfunction and its possible link to stress. Don’t suffer in silence, but discuss the emotional turmoil, and any anxiety or depression you may be experiencing.
ED is treatable. Visit the physicians at Urologic Surgeons of Arizona to find out more about what you can do about erectile dysfunction. Call (480) 409-5060 today to schedule an appointment.