WEDNESDAY, MAY 2: While perhaps not as out in the open as other places in the world, sexual problems for men are just as prevalent in Bermuda.
Sexual dysfunction in men includes issues such as premature ejaculation or anorgasmia (delayed ejaculation), erection problems and loss of interest in sex.
Most men experience some sort of sexual dysfunction at some point throughout their lifetime. It’s when the problem is recurrent that it can cause a great deal of stress on relationships and the fact that men are less likely to discuss their issues makes it even worse.
The good news is that most cases of sexual dysfunction are treatable, so it is important to share your concerns with your partner and doctor.
Myriad of issues
The challenge with diagnosing sexual dysfunction is that there are myriad of physical and psychological issues that could be to blame.
Medical conditions that can affect sexual function include diabetes, heart and blood vessel disease, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, chronic diseases such as kidney or liver failure, and alcoholism and drug abuse.
In addition, the side effects of certain medications, including some antidepressant drugs, can affect sexual desire and function.
On the psychological spectrum, work-related stress, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt and the effects of a past sexual trauma can also play a part in sexual problems.
There are several tests that can be done to evaluate the causes and extent of male sexual problems, including blood tests and a vascular assessment, which looks at blood flow to the penis, as well as sensory testing for nerve damage and rigidity studies that can help determine if a man’s erectile problems are physical or psychological.
The treatment success for sexual problems depends on the underlying cause. The outlook is good for dysfunction that is related to a treatable or reversible physical condition. Mild dysfunction that is related to stress, fear, or anxiety often can be successfully treated with counseling, education and improved communication between partners. Medical treatments include medications such as Cialis, Viagra or Levitra, which may help improve sexual function in men by increasing blood flow to the penis. Men with low levels of testosterone may benefit from hormone supplementation and there are various mechanical aids and penile implants that may help men with erectile dysfunction.
While sexual problems cannot be prevented, dealing with the underlying causes of the dysfunction can help you better understand and cope with the problem when it occurs. There are some things you can do to help maintain good sexual function:
• Follow your doctor’s treatment plan for any health conditions
• Limit your alcohol intake
• Quit smoking
• Deal with any emotional or psychological issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. Get treatment as needed
• Increase communication with your partner.
The most important thing to remember is that sexual dysfunction is common and is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Talk openly to your partner and your doctor and take an active role in maintaining a healthy sex life.
• Stephanie Simon is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire and the new pharmacy at Lindo’s Family Foods in Warwick. Visit Lindo’s at www.lindos.bm for more information.