Men's Health Friday April 15, 2016

Stress related erectile dysfunction

The causes of erectile dysfunction can vary massively with each individual. The clear-cut factors are usually related to the physical; something, whether it's surgery or an injury, that has directly caused ED. However, many men find the causes to be mainly, if not solely, psychological.

This includes stress and anxiety with both these factors being surprisingly and closely connected to the condition. Having psychological erectile dysfunction is slightly more complex to deal with, but treatment is available. Whether it's stress or anxiety, or any other psychological issue that is the catalyst, then you can use prescription treatment such as Viagra, Cialis or Sildenafil to combat the condition.

With stress related ED, it can become a vicious cycle; you're stressed, the stress causes ED, which then causes additional stress. How can you break the cycle and begin to have a more fulfilling sex life?

What is causing your stress?

Work is a strong cause when it comes psychological factors of ED in men, especially in young men. Think about it; you spend so much of your time there and it pays our bills as well as the fun in-between. If your workload is increased, it's always been generally stressful, you've recently lost your job or you're struggling to cope, stress can build. This is often over time as well, so whilst you may feel stressed now and then, it's the gradual and continual build-up without seeking treatment or altering your life choices that can cause conditions such as ED and further mental health issues.

Other stressful scenarios that can cause ED includes:

  • Relationship issues
  • Financial issues
  • Other health issues
  • Bereavement
  • Illness related to a loved one

Work-related stress

A recent study into the cause of erectile dysfunction has shown that as many in 1 out of every 10 cases of the condition can be directly attributed to work related stress, with a further 1 in 5 men suffering a decrease in their libido or sex drive as a result of their work. The study further concluded that approximately 90% of those who took part in this survey displayed characteristics and signs of work related stress; however only about half of these knew that this could lead to erection problems.

The exact cause of impotency problems caused by this form of stress is that it is associated with low testosterone, particularly in those exposed to high stress levels over a significant period of time. This is one of the reasons that men with erectile dysfunction should take a testosterone test as this can be treated in conjunction with a product such as Viagra to better remedy the condition.

Why it is important to combat stress related ED

This research, supported and funded by SortED in 10 (a website funded by Bayer Healthcare to increase the awareness of this condition), will come as a shock for many healthcare professionals who are heavily involved with this particular section of male health as it has been thought by many that the social stigmas surrounding this condition we're lessening. However, this study would most definitely paint an entirely different picture, with patients still preferring silence than seek treatment despite the efforts to expose how common ED is, and how normal it is to want to seek treatment.

Research has also revealed a lot about the nature of this increasingly common condition as well as peoples attitudes towards it.

"Only 44% of those who participated stated that they would be prepared to go to their doctor if they began experiencing erectile dysfunction, with many of these waiting anything up to 17 months before making an appointment with their GP to take impotence treatment. Alarmingly, out of those who did seek treatment for their condition, many stated that if they failed to see results from the first time they take an oral PDE5 inhibitor that they would cease their efforts to find a satisfactory resolution to their problem."

Stress can cause additional problems such as:

  • Depression, anxiety and other mental health or personality disorders
  • Eating disorders, which can be lead obesity and at the opposite end of the spectrum, anorexia or bulimia
  • Other sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation
  • Cardiovascular diseases and conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes
  • Hair and skin issues such as acne, hair loss and psoriasis
  • Gastrointestinal issues

It's important to seek help, especially for stress related conditions, as this can help erectile dysfunction but also your health and wellbeing in general. Minimising stress has significant benefits, as well as improving your sex life if related to ED.

Treatment for stress related erectile dysfunction

Stress and anxiety related erectile dysfunction revolves around identifying what type of stress is causing the condition.

For example, work related stress could mean heading down a new career path, talking to your manager about your workload or opening up to loved ones about your worries.

For bereavement or additional illnesses, gaining support from your friends and family could significantly help. However if you feel you need additional impartial advice, or for someone to listen, counselling is available through the NHS or privately if you wish to pay. This could be specifically counselling around a topic you know is causing ED as well as other factors, such as bereavement counselling, or sexual anxiety counselling if you feel your stress is caused by the condition.

Certain lifestyle factors could help with ED. For example, quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake. It's a common misconception that smoking relieves stress and quitting or decreases your alcohol intake can help curb anxiety and help you lose weight.

Additional popular treatment options include PDE5 inhibitors, which are proven to be highly effective. These are prescription medications that include well-known names such as Viagra and Cialis.

Erectile dysfunction is most common despite it's embarrassing nature; visiting your doctor should not be avoided through nervousness. You can book an appointment and even request a specific doctor depending on gender to begin to combat ED, especially if the condition is associated with stress.


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