Around 16.5 million men in the UK are said to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), yet discussions around it remain a social taboo.
Also known as impotence, ED describes the inability to get and keep an erection long enough to have sex, explains the NHS.
The condition can negatively impact a man’s well-being and self-confidence, as well as potentially being detrimental to maintaining a healthy sex life with their partners.
What’s more, a recent survey has highlighted that millions of men’s sexual performances are being impacted by underlying health issues.
The research, titled The Fertility Index, found that 13 percent of men admitted that being overweight has directly impacted their ability to stay erect.
Meanwhile, a further 11 percent reported that mental health, stress and general health was impacting their performance.
They survey also showed that alcohol (20%), smoking (7%) and drug habits (5%), were among the reasons listed by men as to why sexual performances had been impacted.
Surgeons Tet Yap and Professor Suks Minhas, from London Andrology, carried out the study to show how men and women across the UK understand and manage fertility and sexual health issues.
Professor Minhas said: “Viagra is understandably used as a quick fix for erectile dysfunction as it is a very effective tool and allows men to ensure they remain erect.
“Many men are unaware that ED can actually be part of a bigger or more serious underlying health issue and it is important that men don’t ignore the issue or just turn to Viagra long-term.”
Tet added: “Unfortunately, men's fertility and sexual health issues are still taboo subjects for far too many of us. The Fertility Index was designed to encourage couples to openly understand and discuss their fertility and sexual health issues.
“We launched the clinic to change this perception and offer a safe place for men, their partners, and loved ones to discuss their concerns openly, knowing they will be getting the best service and support.”
Many men who suffer from ED often avoid seeking professional help, but this may prove to be extremely dangerous considering that the condition could be an indicator to a much worse problem.
Impotence could be a system of two possibly life-threatening conditions – heart disease and diabetes.
According to online pharmacy Chemist Click, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes can all impact blood flow to the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction.
Superintendent pharmacist Abbas Kanani said: “It is vitally important to keep an eye on the frequency of ED [erectile dysfunction] because this could help prevent serious cardiovascular problems.”
Findings by the British Association of Urological Surgeons show that 90 percent of men who suffer from impotence have at least one underlying physical cause for their problem.
In 40 percent of cases, the problem is caused by cardiovascular disease, while 33 percent of the time the cause is put down to diabetes.
Impotence could also be a sign of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, where the transfer of nerve impulses from the brain to the penis are disrupted.
The NHS explains that there are some healthy lifestyle changes that can help with erectile dysfunction, these include:
Lose weight if you're overweight
Eat a healthy diet
Try to reduce stress and anxiety
Men are also advised to keep their alcohol intake to under 14 units a weekly and to avoid cycling more than three hours a week.
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