Friday, May 7, 2021
Recently, the one and only Sir Tom Jones has shared that he has experienced erectile dysfunction and uses Viagra (Sildenafil) to manage it. He said “A little help here and there is alright. There is no shame in that at 80. You gotta do what you gotta do”.
To share more on erectile dysfunction, Lorraine Grover who is a Psychosexual Nurse Specialist working as part of the OxfordOnlinePharmacy team has answered some frequently asked questions below:
It’s not unusual (excuse the pun!) for erectile dysfunction (ED) to happen at some point in a man or person with a penis’s life. At least 1:10 men suffer with it and it can happen at any age and ageing is strongly associated with ED. As there is a correlation of it occurring as you get older, it is important to recognise this can be expected and is nothing to be ashamed of. But do not assume you should leave things as they are and that it may only be due to ageing. It is thought that 50% of diabetic men over the age of 50 suffer with ED.
Do not just think of this is as physical help, ED often affects people’s psychological wellbeing. Combining treatments alongside sex therapy can help to achieve a better outcome. Tablets are often the most well-known (Sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil) and are easy to use. They do need sexual stimulation to work which people may not always realise.
Alternative treatments such as topical cream is easy to use, although it does have limited success for some. Waxy pellets can be inserted down the urethra (the tube through the penis that carries urine) and help to get an erection.
Penile injections are highly effective, the needle is tiny and goes into the shaft of the penis. It’s important you are taught how to self-inject and start with a low dose to prevent getting an erection that will last too long (priapism).
A vacuum constriction device (pump) has a role in some forms of ED, especially alongside medication.
If what is tried does not work well enough for you there are even penile implants.
A baseline assessment is good to get as we know that ED can be a sign you may have underlying health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol), depression or thyroid problems. Recreational drugs, this includes nicotine and alcohol can affect erectile function. Some medications prescribed to treat other health conditions can have the side effect of causing or making worse pre-existing erectile dysfunction such as statins or anti-hypertensive (blood pressure) tablets.
Recognising you have the problem really is a step in the right direction rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away!
Life events such as relationships, and this includes changes within relationships such as bereavement or divorce, sexuality, tiredness, financial or work stresses can all have a psychological and physical impact on erections. Please don’t suffer in silence.
As it is so common, we talk to people daily about ED and other sexual difficulties. To us it is no different to discussing other healthcare issues/problems like the common cold. The more we help to ‘normalise’ and raise awareness about ED the better, as it can have an impact not only for an individual but also partners and relationships.
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction and would like to learn more, visit our Erectile Dysfunction guide. A wide range of treatments are available and if you are still unsure, contact us to discuss the best option for you.
If you would like to book a consultation with Lorraine, you can find further information and contact details on her website.