There are two forms of erectile dysfunction (ED): primary and secondary. Sufferers of primary ED have never been able to have or sustain an erection, whereas secondary occurs in people who once had a regular erectile function. Out of the 30 million men suffering from erectile dysfunction, most cases are typically secondary ED. This is just one of many unknowns associated with ED that perpetuate the misunderstandings of the condition.
When faced with ED, sufferers tend to feel embarrassed about even researching the condition. It can be emasculating for many men, especially those under the age of that which is typically associated with difficulty maintaining an erection. To admit it to oneself is sometimes all it takes to feel overwhelmed by the loss of function.
It is ironic, then, that one solution for the condition is perhaps one of the most universally known medications in the world: Viagra. This is where misconceptions occur – sufferers not researching the conditions or consulting their GP with complete details prior to medicating themselves.
To help support the many sufferers of ED in identifying the cause of their condition and highlight a solution, we want to dispel four common myths.
Myth #1: Erectile dysfunction is purely psychological
ED can be a symptom of many things, and while mental health does impact your libido, there are multiple physical factors which can make it difficult to maintain an erection too. Typically, those who believe the cause of their ED is psychological are experiencing any of the following:
- Relationship problems
- Sexual uncertainty
- Past sexual complication
- Past sexual abuse
- Anxiety surrounding a new relationship
Whether you are feeling extreme sadness or overwhelming worry, you are less likely to be able to focus on sexual intimacy with your partner. However, plenty of sufferers of ED are perfectly calm and relaxed – the condition can instead be a result of a physical health condition, a side effect of medicine you are currently taking, or even cycling!
If you are not on any medication and believe your ED is caused by a health condition, it may be one of the following:
Vasculogenic – blood flow
Neurogenic – nervous system
Hormonal – hormone levels
Anatomical – the physicality of the penis
Cardiovascular disease is especially associated with ED and your doctor will recognize this when making a diagnosis and planning your treatment. If you are concerned you may have a physical impairment which restricts your ability to achieve or maintain an erection, then speak to your doctor rather than attempting to diagnose yourself based on information online.
Myth #2: Viagra is the only treatment
As we have spoken about previously on the blog, Viagra is a branded form of sildenafil citrate. In fact, sildenafil is just one of many solutions that work for users, they are known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors.
When sexually aroused, the nervous system in the erectile tissue of your penis releases nitric oxide. The nitric oxide stimulates an enzyme that produces something called a messenger cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). This relaxes the muscle cells, resulting in the dilation of the arteries in your penis which lets the blood flow more easily.
Most medication takes around 30 minutes to become effective, with a lasting time of around five hours. They do vary though, so if you have a certain sexual routine you wish to maintain, a comparison of the various available medications may be necessary. Here are just a few of the potential solutions that you can access to combat ED:
Levitra – 25- to 60-minute wait with 4- to 5-hour duration
Stendra – 15- to 30-minute wait with 6-hour duration
Staxyn – 15-minute wait with 5-hour duration
Cialis – 30-minute wait with extended duration (36 hours in some cases)
You can move between the various forms of medication, trialling and weighing up the benefits of each. As they all work using the same method, you are likely to experience similar results. However, some minor side effects of each may prevent you from using one over another.
Myth #3: Erectile dysfunction medication is an aphrodisiac
Viagra or any other ED medication is not designed to arouse you, rather it facilitates your arousal. Its job is to resolve the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction and, in cases where the issue is psychological, break the cycle of anxiety associated with sexual intimacy.
It is unlikely that ED medication will help you achieve a satisfactory erection if you are suffering from depression or cannot calm your nerves during times of sexual interaction. View the medication as a means of removing negative feelings regarding sex instead of a tool to boost your sex drive.
If you feel that your ED is not caused by psychological distress or a physical condition, consider the medicine you may already be taking. There are various medications that lead to erectile dysfunction and may possibly be causing a reduction in your sex drive. These include:
Diuretics – used often to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and kidney disease
Fibrates – used to lower cholesterol levels
Antidepressants – used to treat certain mental health conditions
Corticosteroids – medication containing steroids
H2-receptor antagonists – used to treat stomach ulcers
Anticonvulsants – used to treat epilepsy
Cytotoxics – used in chemotherapy to prevent cancer cells
Bear in mind that you should always speak to your doctor if you believe that your prescribed medicine is causing ED. A medical professional is best placed to advise when to cease a prescription, so do not stop taking anything recommended by a doctor without their guidance.
Myth #4: More medication means an increased likelihood of effectiveness
Do not be misled by the miracle cures you may find on forums online – your doctor is best placed to recommend a healthy dose of ED medication. In the U.S., a prescription is still needed for an effective treatment for a reason. There is no increased likelihood of effectiveness with a higher dosage or combination of drugs, just more of a chance to suffer side effects and illness.
There are a variety of solutions that cater to most sexual routines. If you feel the medication you are taking is not having enough of an impact, consult your doctor or speak to one of our pharmacists. At Medix, we offer a wide range of ED medication and our team are well versed in the common myths associated with the condition and its multiple treatments.
We understand that ED is a personal issue and it can be difficult to address the circumstances surrounding your diagnosis. That is why our pharmacists work completely with discretion and even deliver your medication directly to your door. If you feel that you are suffering symptoms of ED and would like to speak to a professional regarding the cause and resolution, please get in touch.