Correlation between Stress and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (sometimes referred to as impotence) is the inability to get or keep a firm erection enough to have sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction, ED may happen in a man’s life occasionally. In fact, research indicates that close to 30 million men in America are affected by ED. However, if it occurs frequently, it may be a sign of other health problems that require medical attention and treatment. It is important to note that as a man ages, the risk of ED increases. But this does not necessarily mean that all older men will get ED.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological and physical factors. Studies suggest that of the two, psychological factors are the most common causes of ED. The good news is that these causes, for example, environmental and emotional factors can be treated and cured. Stress is under this category of factors that cause ED.

What is Stress?

Stress is defined as an individual’s reaction to any change in that person’s life that requires an adjustment or a response. Stress can be caused by anything good or bad but the most common causes include; death of a loved one, job loss, new job, sickness, marriage, parenting, deadlines among many others. The human body sends out warning signs of stress in three categories. These include;

  1. Emotional Warning Signs

They include anger, sadness, inability to concentrate and frequent mood swings.

2. Physical Warning Signs

These include weight gain or loss, stomach pains, change in sleep patterns, chronic fatigue, sweaty palms and erectile dysfunction.

3. Behavioural Warning Signs

Over-reacting, acting on impulse, use of alcohol and drugs, eating disorders are all under this category of warning signs.

How does Stress Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

As shown above, stress can cause erectile dysfunction. The question is, how?

There are three types of erections that a man can experience: reflexive, psychogenic and nocturnal. A reflexive erection is due to physical stimulation, a psychogenic one is due to mental or visual associations and a nocturnal one occurs during sleep. ED is then caused by any disruption in any of the three processes. Disruptions may be in the form of hormones, emotions, muscles, blood vessels and the nervous system.

Other Health Conditions Associated with ED

Stress is also known to worsen or cause the development of several health conditions. These conditions include:

  • Vascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Nerve damage
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Prostate cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Low testosterone

It is also reported that stress may lead to certain lifestyle factors that may contribute to erectile dysfunction. Illicit drugs use, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are among these factors. In the event that an individual has experienced ED as a result of stress, he should ease the stress in order to treat the condition.

Ways of Easing Stress

  • Therapy

This is the most common way to deal with psychological causes of ED. They include counselling, psychodynamic therapy, sex therapy and sexual anxiety therapy.

  • Alternative therapies

Modern treatments of stress include relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga and acupuncture.

  • Herbs and supplements

There are various herbs and supplements all over the world believed to have the capability to treat ED. Panax ginseng from China and Korea, black maca a root vegetable, kava and chamomile are all examples of such. Patients are however cautioned on the use of such and are advised to talk to their doctors first before administering them because of their different side effects.

Erectile dysfunction is an easily curable condition with reports of high rates of success for its treatment. Individuals are advised to talk with their doctors to discuss the causes, treatments and any possible future diseases associated with it.

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