by Men's Health Clinic
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent and multifactorial condition that affects millions of men worldwide. In Australia, ED affects around 40% of men.
Unfortunately, misconceptions and myths often surround ED, leading to misunderstanding and stigma. These misconceptions about the condition usually create feelings of shame, embarrassment, and even inadequacy for men. Because of this, some men may tend to neglect treatment or not even discuss the condition altogether.
In this article, we aim to debunk erectile dysfunction myths and shed light on the realities of this condition.
Research shows that most Australian men who are over 45 experience some kind of erectile dysfunction. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that ED only affects older men.
While the likelihood of experiencing ED increases with age, it can affect men of all age groups. Various factors such as stress, anxiety, lifestyle choices, and underlying health conditions can contribute to the development of ED, irrespective of age.
In fact, studies show that ED can also affect 8% of males aged 20-29 years. Meanwhile, 11% of those aged 30-39 years old can also deal with ED.
Needless to say, it’s rarer if you’re healthy as opposed to having a chronic disease, having diabetes, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, drinking, or not exercising regularly.
One of the most common myths about erectile dysfunction is that “it’s all in your mind.” While psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can indeed contribute to ED, it’s essential to recognise that physical factors also play a significant role.
In Australia, it is reported that 35% to 75% of individuals with diabetes experience ED. In diabetes, high blood sugar levels are deemed the primary contributor to both macro and microvascular complications. This leads to heightened sexual dysfunction due to oxidative stress and diminished erectile and endothelial function.
A separate study revealed that ED was prevalent in 42.1% of young, non-diabetic obese men, with noticeable associations with increasing body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. Additionally, among middle-aged men with obesity, a 15% reduction in weight was linked to an increase in the average International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) score (a.k.a. erectile performance score).
It’s important to note that ED is not just in your mind. It’s often a combination of physical and psychological factors at play. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and neurological disorders can all contribute to ED development.
One of the most common myths about erectile dysfunction is that it can only be treated with medications. While medications like Viagra and Cialis have been revolutionary in treating ED, they are not the only solutions.
Lifestyle modifications, therapy, vacuum erection devices, and in some cases, surgery, are also viable treatment options. Moreover, addressing underlying health conditions and making healthy lifestyle choices can significantly improve ED symptoms.
In fact, a recent study found that exercise could even be better than Viagra when it comes to ED. The severity of erectile dysfunction is assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-EF), which ranges from 1 to 30. A score of 26 to 30 indicates no ED, 22 to 25 signifies mild ED, 17 to 21 indicates mild-to-moderate ED, 11 to 16 signifies moderate ED, and 6 to 10 indicates severe ED. The study, which analysed 11 randomised, controlled studies, found that exercise led to an average improvement of 2.8 points on the IIEF-EF scale. Specifically, exercise resulted in improvements of 2.3, 3.3, and 4.9 points for mild, moderate, and severe erectile dysfunction, respectively.
Another one in our list of myths about erectile dysfunction is that it is just a “sex concern.”
ED can have a far-reaching impact beyond sexual performance. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and strain on intimate relationships.
To boot, ED can be a sign of an illness (mental or physical). It is usually a symptom of something else, so it’s crucial to treat it as a medical condition instead of a mere bedroom issue.
Exploring the broader impact of erectile dysfunction beyond sexual function is crucial because some individuals may reduce their EDs as mere sex issues. Hence, they may tend to take random immunity-boosting supplements, unprescribed medications, or even undergo treatments that may not be suited for them. ED requires a holistic approach because of its corresponding physical, emotional, and psychological causes and effects.
Debunking these erectile dysfunction myths can be helpful to foster a deeper understanding of how to proactively solve the health condition. If you’re ever confused about how ED works, it’s crucial to seek professional help, whether from urologists, therapists, or other healthcare providers like the Men’s Health Clinic (MHC). Consulting professionals can provide you with tailored treatment options that address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of ED.
If you’re ready for a comprehensive approach and tailored solutions for erectile dysfunction, connect with us at MHC and book a FREE consultation today.
With one of our Senior Patient Coordinators who can provide you with more information regarding bespoke treatment options.