Sexual health is a vital aspect of a man’s overall health and wellness, and there are a number of issues that can affect it; including erectile dysfunction, problems with ejaculation, infertility, and others. It’s important to be aware of potential problems that can affect your health, and know what precautions you can take to improve your wellbeing and your sexual health.
Be aware of potential causes of ED
The majority of ED cases are caused by physical or medical issues. It’s important to have your ED thoroughly diagnosed and to treat underlying conditions, in addition to addressing your symptoms. If you are experiencing erectile issues, be sure to check with your healthcare provider first so you can rule out any potential health problems.
A few common causes of ED include:
- Diabetes: can cause damage to the nerves or blood vessels that control the flow of blood to the penis
- Cardiovascular diseases: hypertension and high cholesterol can decrease blood flow to the penis through blocked arteries or leaking veins, resulting in ED
- Trauma or surgery in the prostate, bladder, colon, or rectal area: can damage nerves and cause ED
- Neurological diseases: stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson’s disease as well as spinal cord injuries can stop nerve impulses from reaching the penis
- Medications: many medications, including some for high blood pressure, can interfere with blood flow to the penis
- Hormonal imbalances: low testosterone and other hormone imbalances can also affect blood flow
There are several solutions to help with ED, including medications and other non-surgical options such as vacuum pumps and various penile exercises, which help to promote blood flow.
See your doctor at least once per year
While women have specialty doctors who treat women and women’s reproductive health only, unfortunately there is no male equivalent to these doctors. Because of this, many men avoid going to the doctor because they don’t have symptoms of anything being wrong, and because they aren’t aware that annual check-ups and examinations are good for their overall health.
Besides the annual physical, screenings for colon, testicular, and prostate cancer are important. But more than that, an annual check-up helps men feel more comfortable talking with their doctor, helps them become more aware of their bodies and may be more apt to seek help when something just isn’t right.
Know that slight changes in sexual function are normal as you age
Some changes in sexual drive, performance, and function are normal parts of aging. As men get older, they may need more time for foreplay or direct stimulation. If this isn’t enough to improve normal age-related changes in sexual function or the changes become difficult to work through, it’s a good idea to try talking to your primary care physician. Your doctor can help you differentiate normal changes from more serious issues, including medical issues.
Perform regular testicular self-examinations
Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in men ages 20-35. Beginning at age 15, men should examine their testicles monthly and continue the process through your 30s. A testicular self-examination (TSE) is important, since testicular cancer can often be asymptomatic (there may be no symptoms to indicate a medical problem).
Occasionally, testicular cancer can present as a dull pain in the lower abdomen and a feeling of heaviness and dragging. A monthly examination will allow you to become familiar with the size and feel of your testicles so any abnormality, such as a lump, can be brought to your doctor’s attention.
If you are experiencing sexual health problems or symptoms of ED, there are fortunately several non-invasive and safe options available to help; including vacuum pumps, penile exercises, and medications.