Don’t Be a Shy Guy
When it comes to health, being shy or ashamed about sexual dysfunction can be a very dangerous risk factor.
Some men would prefer to avoid speaking to a doctor about their sexual health. Yet, while difficult to discuss, impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a telltale symptom for serious health issues.
ED is the inability to get or keep an erection and it is a common type of male sexual dysfunction. The National Institutes of Health estimates that ED affects as many as 30 million men in the United States. It mainly occurs in men in their 60s and 70s, however it’s not a natural part of aging. There are several treatments available, including medications and lifestyle changes, such as more exercise, losing weight or quitting smoking.
Men should not be shy when talking to their doctor about ED not only because there are many proven treatments, but also because sexual dysfunction can be a symptom of much more serious health issues.
Erections rely on blood flow to the penis, so ED can be a sign of heart disease. Hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure can interfere with blood flow to the penis and they can lead to a heart attack.
ED can also be a sign of low testosterone, which is an important hormone for erections and sex drive. Men naturally have lower testosterone as they age, but decreased testosterone can also be a sign of liver disease, and poor diet and exercise.
In addition to poor blood flow and low testosterone levels, ED can be a result of nerve issues. Usually, diabetes is the culprit. Undiagnosed or poorly managed diabetes can cause nerve damage in the extremities such as hands and feet, and for men, the penis as well. Also, rare nerve disorders can cause ED.