Sexual dysfunction in men can take many forms. It should only be considered a problem if symptoms persist and occur repeatedly.
Erectile dysfunction: inability to achieve and/or maintain an adequate erection for satisfactory sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction affects approximately 20% of men aged 50 to 59 years, a percentage that increases as men get older.
Loss of sexual desire: unexplained and prolonged absence of sex drive (or libido).
Premature ejaculation: onset of ejaculation, which is impossible to delay, with minimal stimulation. Premature ejaculation affects approximately 1/3 of men at some point in their lives.
Peyronie's disease: abnormal curvature of the penis that causes painful erections.
The causes of erectile dysfunction and loss of sexual desire in men are many. The most common ones are related to:
- Medical conditions
- Diabetes (30% to 50% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction)
- Heart disease, neurological disorders or kidney disease
- Chronic diseases (Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
- Hormonal imbalances (low testosterone)
- Lifestyle habits
- Lack of physical exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Stress and anxiety
The diagnosis of sexual dysfunction is made only when the problem persists and occurs regularly during intercourse. A diagnosis cannot be made if the problem is sporadic and intermittent.
If a symptom occurs repeatedly, it is strongly recommended that you see your doctor. Your doctor will perform a full physical examination to rule out certain medical conditions or other factors that could be responsible for your symptoms.
If the problem is left undiagnosed and untreated, it may become a source of anxiety and stress during intercourse, and may even create some uneasiness or awkwardness with your partner.
Prior to treating any sexual dysfunction, it is important to address the underlying cause, when possible. Otherwise, treatment may be initiated (medication, lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, consultation with a sexologist).
Erectile dysfunction: various medications are available. Those most commonly prescribed are phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, better known as Viagra®, Cialis® and Levitra®. Penile injections and the insertion of micro-suppositories into the urethra may also be considered as treatment options.
Premature ejaculation: certain medications may help. Meeting with a psychologist or a sexologist however, is recommended.
Peyronie's disease: surgery is often required.
Living a healthy lifestyle is the best prevention. It is therefore important to limit alcohol consumption and avoid smoking. It is also important to be physically active, to lose weight (if necessary), and to have a healthy diet.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak to your pharmacist.