By Becky John
Medical experts on Wednesday said diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and psychological feelings were some of the major causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. In interviews with the newsmen in Lagos, they advised such men to avoid taking herbs, saying that this could be harmful and affect other organs of the body.
“Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity.
“A penile erection is the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis.
“The process is most often initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis,’’ Wikipedia, an online publication, explained.
A Consultant Urologist, Dr Abimbola Abolarinwa, who works at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said that medically erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with old age.
“When a man cannot get an erection to have sex or cannot keep an erection long enough to finish having sex, it is called erectile dysfunction or impotency.
“Erectile dysfunction does not have to be a part of getting older, because older men should still be able to get an erection and enjoy sex.
“Some of the medical problems that can cause erectile dysfunction include diabetes, which is high blood sugar and hypertension which is high blood pressure.
“There is also what we call atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries that take blood to the male anatomy.
“Drinking too much alcohol, smoking too much and abusing drugs can also cause erectile dysfunction,’’ she said.
Abolarinwa advised men to keep their blood sugar and blood pressure under control to prevent erectile dysfunction.
In her contribution, Dr Anna Cole, a Clinical Psychologist with Mental Health Foundation, said that psychological issues and problems in relationship with sexual partner could also cause erectile dysfunction.
“Feeling nervous about sex, feeling depressed and feeling stressed, including stress from work or family situations.
“Being troubled by problems in your relationship with your sex partner, thinking that your partner is reacting negatively to you, all these psychological feelings can cause erectile dysfunction,’’ she said.
Cole said that undergoing counselling therapy with a psychologist could improve one’s relationship and sex life as well as reduce any form of anxiety about having erections.
Also, Dr Ademola Oke, a General Physician, said that erectile dysfunction could be treated with drugs, injections and surgery depending on the cause of the condition and the doctor’s prescription.
“Men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction should immediately consult a medical doctor in either government or private hospital where samples of blood and urine may be tested for diseases and disorders.
“Other tests may also be needed. Your doctor will determine which tests are right for you.
“Many men resort to taking herbs and this can be harmful and affect other organs of the body,’’ he warned.