By: Dr. Christine Cho ND
Movember is all about men’s health so guys—this one’s for you! This subject is something that many men are embarrassed to talk about, but don’t worry–you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 3 million Canadian men over the age of 40 have experienced erectile difficulties (ED). Erectile difficulties include decreased ability to obtain or sustain an erection, and/or impairment in ejaculation.
We often forget that our reproductive system is a complex web of processes that all need to be in working order. Erectile function is affected by many physiologic systems in our body, including vascular (heart and blood vessels), endocrine (hormones), neurologic (nerves), and structural issues (like an enlarged prostate). Many people forget that there is also a mental/emotional component to the ability to obtain and sustain and erection. Therefore if any one of those cogs is out of place, the wheel doesn’t turn smoothly.
Here are a few facts you may not have known about erectile difficulties:
- Men with heart disease (high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, anything that “clogs” the blood vessels) are at higher risk of developing ED. In fact, 50% of ED in men over 50 years of age can be attributed to vascular disease.
- Think your ED should be resolved with blood pressure medications and cholesterol lowering medications? Maybe they are actually contributing! Side effects of some common medications can include erectile difficulties.
- Very common endocrine conditions like diabetes are also a risk factor for developing ED. Did you know that 50% of men with diabetes experience erectile difficulties?
- About 10% of ED cases are psychogenic, meaning it is caused by some sort of mental/emotional concern, which likely includes poorly managed stress.
It’s important to determine what is actually the cause of ED, as there are many. Don’t be embarrassed to speak to your ND about your concerns. Contact us here if you have any questions.