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Erectile Dysfunction: It's More Than Psychological
"As a specialist in erectile dysfunction (ED) and male fertility, I’ve heard it all: 'It’s embarrassing,' 'It makes me feel like less of a man,' or 'I don’t want to talk about it,’” says Dr. Benjamin Hendin, a board-certified Urology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold.
But erectile dysfunction is not just an embarrassing and sensitive barrier to sexual relations. What some men don’t understand is that it may also indicate a more serious medical problem.
One of the most common myths surrounding ED is that it’s a psychological condition. While psychological factors may play a role, there are often underlying physical or physiological causes that result in the inability to attain or maintain an erection.
Coronary artery disease, diabetes, and cancer surgery for the prostate, colon, or bladder may result in impotence. In addition, trauma to the pelvic region or spinal cord can damage veins and nerves needed for an erection.
Inability to attain an erection could signal a need to adjust your lifestyle, including increasing exercise, snuffing out those cigarettes for good, and learning to eat healthier.
"One of the greatest treatment barriers is getting men to seek help, but some don’t realize that ED is actually a pretty common condition. Studies indicate that as many as 30 million American men – and 52% over 40 – suffer from ED," Dr. Hendin says.
The good news is that with the majority of cases, effective options are available to successfully treat the condition. The bad news: Only a small percentage of men with the problem ever seek treatment.
"If this sounds like the man in your life, be sure to talk to him about his condition and encourage him to seek help with an experienced urologist. If he won’t schedule a regular exam, including a yearly prostate screening, try to get involved in the discussion and solution and then ask if you can schedule it for him," suggests Dr. Hendin.
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