Managing Your Sexual Health
October 25, 2023
Understanding human sexual function is a complex matter, as dysfunction can occur at different stages of the sexual response cycle and involve both physical and psychological aspects, including sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm as well as due to pain. Poor health also can contribute to lower levels of sexual desire and various sexual dysfunctions, like erectile issues.
Conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes can contribute to sexual dysfunction by affecting nerve function and blood flow to the penis. While studies have been conducted to determine the prevalence of these conditions, the most common types of sexual dysfunction in men are premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED).
When a man experiences symptoms of poor sexual health, it is important to rule out underlying medical conditions and current medications that could be causing an issue. Diagnosis is based on clinical findings, so a thorough sexual history and physical examination are crucial for determining whether it is a primary or secondary condition.
There are numerous causes of sexual dysfunction in men, each with their own risk factors and treatment protocols. Leading an active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight can lower the risk factors for adverse conditions and improve sexual function as well as a man’s overall health. Numerous therapies can help men deal with physical issues, improve self-esteem, and strengthen an intimate relationship with their partner.
Underlying conditions can contribute to dysfunction...
Underlying conditions that contribute to poor sexual performance can include cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes mellitus, psychological factors, testosterone deficiency, neurological disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, endocrinopathies, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea. In addition, medications can cause problems including antidepressants, antihypertensive drugs, antiandrogens, spironolactone, opioids, sympathetic blockers, ketoconazole, and cimetidine.
Male Sexual Dysfunction: Causes and Treatments
There are many common culprits that can cause distress, affect a man’s sexual performance, and overall well-being. Comorbidity of sexual dysfunctions is common, so healthcare goals should be personalized based on the patient’s specific needs. Each cause of male sexual dysfunction also comes with its own combination of risk factors and treatment options, such as:
Treat Erectile Dysfunction – If you are experiencing difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, you are not alone. ED is a common condition that most men just don’t talk about. Conditions like weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, endocrine disorders, and high cholesterol can all affect your ability to get and maintain an erection. However, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, moderate alcohol consumption, and not smoking can lower the risk. Shockwave therapy (Li-ESWT) was first introduced as a non-invasive treatment for kidney stones but has expanded to include treatments for both ED and Peyronie’s disease.
Manage Erection Curvature – Peyronie's disease is a condition that affects the structure of the penis, causing it to curve or have other abnormalities when erect. It occurs due to abnormal healing after penile trauma, resulting in excessive collagen buildup and the formation of plaques in the tunica albuginea. Common symptoms are deformity, pain, and palpable plaques. Some men also experience erectile dysfunction. Diagnosis involves determining if the disease is in an active phase with progressing symptoms. Regular men’s sexual health exams are essential to monitor the progression of plaques, the degree of curvature, and loss of penile length.
Balance Endocrine Abnormalities – If you're concerned about a decrease in sex drive, seek advice from a men’s sexual health doctor. As men age, their libido may decline due to decreasing testosterone levels. Factors such as testicular trauma, prior chemotherapy or radiation, anabolic steroid use, certain medications, and chronic illness can also contribute to low testosterone levels. From facial hair and muscle mass to sperm production and bone health, testosterone is essential. Testosterone replacement therapy can help restore your sex drive, lift your mood, and enhance erectile function in men with testosterone deficiency or hypogonadism.
Prevent PVD and PAD – Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a circulation disorder that impacts blood flow to body parts outside of the brain and heart. With Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a man’s arteries have been damaged by atherosclerosis that causes narrowing and thickening of the arteries. Making lifestyle changes can greatly improve symptoms of both, especially in the early stages of the disease. The most crucial change to make is quitting smoking, as it significantly reduces the risk of complications. Staying hydrated is also important, as it helps to reduce blood thickness, improve circulation, and lower the risk of blood clots.
Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits – Feeling too tired for sex and lacking sexual desire are common for those with a busy schedule and above-normal level of responsibilities. Anxiety and stress can both hinder sexual performance and dampen libido but there are ways to tackle these issues and boost your sex drive. Simple lifestyle changes like a healthier diet, regular exercise, and better sleep can all help improve problems like erectile dysfunction or low libido. Start by eating a nutritious diet, staying physically active, reducing anxiety, and focusing on improving your intimate relationships. In general, there are numerous medical and non-medical approaches for improving one's sex life.
In summary, male sexual dysfunctions are not an all-or-nothing phenomena but occur on a continuum with both physical and psychological components. Clinical findings based on a detailed sexual history and physical examination are essential for accurate diagnosis. By addressing each issue, a man can improve his overall sexual function and well-being. Since discussing sexual history can be uncomfortable for many men, establishing a good rapport with an experienced men’s sexual health doctor is essential for creating an honest and effective patient-physician relationship. After all, time spent establishing the nature of the problem as clearly as possible is time well spent.
Treatment options for sexual performance issues should be considered based on symptom severity and burden on the patient, including conservative, pharmacological, and surgical approaches. Dr. Earl Eye and his Jacksonville team work one-on-one with patients to enhance their sex life through optimization of overall sexual performance. To schedule your appointment today, call 904-500-5500.