It can be difficult to talk about, but the truth is that sexual dysfunction in men is more common than you think. The various types of sexual dysfunction include erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, inhibited ejaculation, and a low sex drive. Sexual dysfunction is defined as any physical and psychological problem that inhibits sexual satisfaction.
While sexual dysfunction is a common health issue that can affect men at any age, it is more common as men get older. The conditions can be frustrating and distressing, but there is treatment available to address sexual dysfunction.
The symptoms of the main types of male dysfunction are:
- Erectile dysfunction: The inability to achieve and maintain an erection.
- Premature ejaculation: The condition of ejaculating within one to three minutes of penetration.
- Inhibited ejaculation: The condition of not being able to orgasm or reaching orgasm too slowly.
- Low sex drive: The reduced desire to engage in sexual activity.
How is sexual dysfunction in men caused?
The cause of sexual dysfunction in men can be physical and psychological. The physical causes can include:
- Low testosterone levels are common in men as they age.
- Prescription drugs, such as high blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
- Disorders affecting blood vessels, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
- Stroke or nerve damage from a chronic disease like diabetes or from surgery.
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Psychological causes of sexual dysfunction in men can include:
- Anxiety over sexual performance.
- Problems in a relationship.
- Depression and other mood disorders.
- Prior sexual trauma, such as sexual abuse at an early age.
- Stress over work issues
What are the symptoms of sexual dysfunction in men?
Some of the more common symptoms that men who suffer from sexual dysfunction face are problems with ejaculation, achieving and maintaining an erection and a loss of interest in sexual activity.
Problems with ejaculation
The various types of problems with ejaculation include:
- Premature ejaculation, also known as PE, occurs when a man cannot control when he climaxes, and either climaxes quickly before penetration or immediately after, usually within a minute of penetration. The exact cause of premature ejaculation is not known, although it may be physical or psychological. Some factors affecting premature ejaculation include performance anxiety, stress, depression, sexual repression, low self-confidence, a medical condition, certain chemical imbalances in the body, and certain prescription medications.
- Inhibited or delayed ejaculation occurs when a man has difficulty ejaculating or cannot climax. Some of the causes of inhibited or delayed ejaculation include chronic health problems, side effects from medication, alcohol abuse, surgery impact, depression, anxiety, stress, and problems in relationships.
- Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen is forced back into the bladder during orgasm. Some causes of retrograde ejaculation include nerve-related damage as a result of diabetes. The damage to nerves in the bladder and the bladder neck can force semen to flow backward into the bladder instead of through the penis. This can be the result of side effects of some medications or occur as the result of surgery on the bladder or prostate.
Achieving and maintaining an erection
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve and maintain an erection strong enough to comfortably penetrate. It is not unusual for men to experience occasional erectile dysfunction, but regular occurrences are more concerning. Causes of erectile dysfunction include chronic diseases that can affect the flow of blood in the penis, such as hardening of the arteries; nerve disorders impacting the penis; injury to the penis; chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure; stress, depression, performance anxiety and problems in relationships; smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, overeating and lack of exercise; reduced sexual interest.
Loss of interest in sexual activity
The loss of interest in sex is known as low libido, which can occur in men and women. In men, this condition is often associated with reduced levels of the male hormone testosterone. This is particularly apparent as men age. Testosterone is a hormone that impacts sex drive, muscle growth, sperm production, and male hair and bone. A low level of testosterone can affect a man’s body and mood. Some of the causes of low libido include anxiety, depression, relationship problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain medications like antidepressants.
How do men know if they suffer from sexual dysfunction?
If you suffer from some of the above-described descriptions regularly, it is a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor can begin the process of diagnosing sexual dysfunction through a physical exam and medical tests, including:
- Series of blood tests to check hormone, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels that may reveal a chronic illness
- Blood pressure check
- Prostate exam to identify irregularities
- Penis and testicles examination to identify irregularities
- Evaluation of blood flow to the penis
You should discuss your symptoms and your medical and sexual history with your doctor. This can be embarrassing and difficult to discuss, but it is critical to understand the condition you are experiencing. Your doctor can use this information to properly diagnose your condition and offer suitable treatments to help resolve the condition. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who may have more experience with certain conditions and causes of sexual dysfunction, such as a urologist, endocrinologist, or sex therapist.
What treatments are available for male sexual dysfunction?
Once a sexual dysfunction is properly diagnosed, there are treatments available to address the mental or physical causes. For premature ejaculation, one treatment helps reduce sensitivity in the penis to delay orgasm. Premature ejaculation can be a challenging issue to deal with at times. Based on research, Dr. Laurence Levine suggests that premature ejaculation condoms can be an effective solution.
For erectile dysfunction, certain medications help improve blood flow to the penis, including Sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®), and tadalafil (Cialis®). Vacuum devices and penile implants also can help.
For reduced sexual desire, hormone replacement therapy has helped many men to increase testosterone levels.
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