Author: Dr. V Ramya, Consultant & Fertility Specialist
Erectile dysfunction, also called as ED, is a challenging condition that is commonly caused due to poor blood flow to the penis. Many other factors also lead to ED. It is characterized by difficulty in getting or maintaining erections during sexual activity. This can lead to strained relationships, low self–esteem, depression, and anxiety in men.
To understand ED better and to make informed choices, below are a few myths and facts.
Myth: ED is an inevitable part of growing older
Fact: ED is not inevitable. The decline in erectile function in men is common with increasing age. The inability to obtain an erection is not common and is not something one has to just live with. With proper medical treatment men can enjoy sex as they get older.
Myth: Testosterone supplements cure Erectile Dysfunction
Fact: Supplemental testosterone has no impact on the management of ED. They are prescribed to help with the low levels of testosterone. Even after restoring the testosterone levels to normal, other treatments are required to help men with erectile dysfunction.
Myth: Low or no sexual desire at all means Erectile Dysfunction
Fact: Sexual desire is an outcome of hormonal changes in the body when aroused. And low libido is related to drop in testosterone hormone levels. Although erectile dysfunction has no direct impact on sexual desire, men with ED might shy away from sex because they are concerned they might not be able to have an erection. In addition, tiredness, anxiety, stress, and other factors also affect a man’s libido.
Myth: Viagra is the only available treatment option for Erectile Dysfunction
Fact: Evaluation and treatment of any underlying physical and psychological condition is the preferred approach for treating ED. Quitting smoking and alcohol, losing weight and other lifestyle changes are effective before opting for oral medications. Viagra addresses erectile dysfunction but it does not work for everyone. In such cases, injections to the penis, changes to medications that might be causing ED, or assistive devices may help.
Myth: Herbal remedies and supplements can help in the treatment of ED
Fact: Herbal remedies can cause more harm than help if the cause of ED is due to an underlying medical condition. Consuming any sort of supplements without consulting your doctor is associated with several risks. The herbal ingredients might mix with the other medicines you take and can cause adverse reactions.
Myth: Erectile Dysfunction leads to infertility
Fact: Erectile dysfunction does not directly lead to infertility. But, it does cause difficulties in conceiving and can delay pregnancy plans. Any underlying fertility conditions and not being able to maintain an erection may cause a man to refrain from sexual activity. There are good chances of restoring their fertility after recovering from ED.
The societal stigma attached to ED and the feelings of inadequacy strain the relationships and lead to depression, stress, and anxiety in both the man and his partner.
Do not give in to any myths and speak with your andrologist to address the underlying problems causing ED and find appropriate treatment choices that can help in living a healthy reproductive life.