Of all the frustrations a man can experience in a relationship, only a few can match erectile dysfunction. Besides being shameful, this problem can potentially ruin your union, especially if handled inappropriately.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or sustain an erection through sex. Although it can occur occasionally, it can cause stress, lower your self-confidence and lead to relationship issues if it persists. In worst-case scenarios, ED can be an indicator of an underlying health condition that needs immediate addressing.
Most men who suffer from this condition are usually reluctant to let others know, including doctors and their partners. The primary reason behind this behaviour is that some men find the inability to maintain an erection shameful. Thus, affected individuals consider hiding their problems as a way of protecting their relationships.
On the other hand, women believe that ED does not bring issues to the relationships; instead, it is the reluctance of the victims to discuss their problem.
How Do Erections Occur?
Erections occur when blood flows into the penile tissues as a result of psychological or physical stimulation. When a man is sexually aroused, the muscles in the penis relax, allowing more blood to flow into the penile tissue. Due to the increased blood flow, the penis becomes rigid.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
ED occurs when either physical or emotional issues interfere with the erection process. Some of the common causes of ED include excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol, old age, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, and relationship problems.
Because ED can occur as a result of one or a combination of the factors mentioned above, it is advisable to consult your doctor before you start treatment. This ensures that there are no underlying conditions behind your condition.
Testing for Erectile Dysfunction
Doctors use various methods when testing for erectile dysfunction, including a physical evaluation and looking at your health and sexual history. Additional tests might be needed to check whether you have an underlying condition.
The physical tests for ED involve checking of blood pressure, listening to your pulse and breathing patterns, and an examination of your penis and testicles. In some cases, the doctor might want to check your prostate.
Assessment of Health and Sexual History
After the physical tests, the doctor will ask questions regarding your sexual and health history. The answers you give helps them determine the extent of your ED. For instance, they might ask you about the types of medications you take, your mental health condition, and the frequency at which you have intercourse.
If the two steps mentioned above cannot return a conclusive diagnosis, you might need to undergo extra tests like blood tests, urine tests, and ultrasound.
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
The best remedy to your ED depends on the underlying cause. The two primary methods for treating impotence are medications and talk therapy.
If you are experiencing mild ED, your doctor might prescribe drugs that increase blood flow to your penis, such as Viagra and Stendra. Besides these oral medications, the doctor might recommend injectable drugs like Edex and MUSE.
For patients with low testosterone levels, the doctor will recommend hormonal replacement therapy.
Prescription drugs used to treat other conditions can make you impotent. Ensure that you talk to your doctor about them to see if they might be the cause. Likewise, medications used for treating ED can have side effects. If a particular drug is affecting you, ask your doctor to recommend alternatives.
As mentioned earlier, anxiety, depression, stress, and PTSD can cause ED. The best solution to impotence caused by psychological factors is talk therapy. If the condition is affecting your relationship, it is advisable to see a counsellor.
How to Prevent ED from Affecting Your Relationship
Here are some ways to ensure that your erectile dysfunction does not affect your relationship.
Admit You Have a Problem
Before anything, it is vital to accept that you have an issue. Remember that impotence can affect anyone, and there is no reason to be ashamed. By acknowledging the problem, you start the healing process, especially if psychological factors are its cause.
The reason why most affected people are afraid to come out is that society requires men to be manly and always portray an image of dominance.
Look for the Cause of Your ED
When you know the factors behind your ED, it becomes much easier to treat it and save your relationship. For instance, you might go for over-the-counter medication, only to discover the primary cause for your impotence is psychological issues. Similarly, you might visit a counsellor while the cause of your ED is an underlying condition like diabetes or hypertension.
Regardless of the cause, ED is treatable. After dealing with the causative factors, you can deal with your relationship issues better.
Do Not Overemphasize ED
Many women become insecure when their male partners experience ED, thinking that they are either not good enough or the man is having an affair. This is because society requires females to be attractive and desirable.
On the other hand, men that suffer from ED tend to feel like let-downs to their partners. Instead of dealing with the issue head-on, they often prefer to abstain from sexual activities. This overemphasis on impotence and the resulting mixed feeling usually signal the start of a relationship’s end.
To prevent ED from ending your relationship, men should constantly reassure their spouses that they love them. Try to find alternative ways of expressing affection other than intercourse.
Communication is essential for any relationship to thrive. However, this societal perception that men must not show or speak about their problems often makes it a challenge in most relationships. That said, you cannot deal with ED if you stand by this unwarranted notion.
As uncomfortable as it feels, it is better to let your spouse know beforehand because they will eventually discover. Think of it this way – would you instead tell them or let them deduce it themselves after a disappointing sexual performance?