What Is It?
One of the most persistently annoying male body problems, erectile dysfunction (often simply referred to as ED) spoils fun like no other.
“Erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis,” says LloydsPharmacy online consultant Dr Tom Brett. “This reduced flow is caused by calcification of the blood vessels brought about by smoking, being overweight and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”
In younger men, however, the cause is often psychological rather than physical. Known as performance anxiety, this instance of ED is caused by a fear of not being up to the job, as it were, and isn’t to be confused with the physical inability to get an erection.
How Do I Beat It?
While many ED sufferers turn to medicines like Viagra, there are several lifestyle changes that can temporarily alleviate the issue, and tackle the cause. “Quitting smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise, as well as getting screened for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very important,” says Brett.
To stop performance anxiety shafting your love life, Brett recommends counselling and relationship therapy as the best options for unpicking the psychological reasons behind the condition.
In any case, it’s best to book some time with your GP, who may even suggest more extreme fixes such as penile injection therapy, vacuum pumps or a surgical re-routing of the blood flow.