Maintaining relationships require a lot of sacrifices. Many times, love is not enough. You must be ready to endure the up and downs that come with it.
Today, infertility has become a growing concern. It has put many relationships in jeopardy – breaking couples apart.
Several couples are having to seek medical assistance before they can make a baby. Although it is fast becoming a norm in society, a lot of couples still find it hard to take the route of assisted fertility. Hence, causing a problem in their relationship.
Every couple expects to conceive a baby naturally. But with several medical conditions affecting fertility these days, it is not uncommon to see people having to facilitate pregnancy by medication or surgical procedures. Most times, however, couples find it hard to accept the possibility of infertility. This often leads to discord and eventually a break-up, for some.
However, infertility might be a result of an underlying medical condition that is curable. But, because some couples refuse to come to terms with their predicament, misunderstandings emerge and relationship problems start to develop. Only if they knew that finding solutions to the medical condition could be the solutions to the infertility problems affecting them.
Infertility is often seen as a problem in women and not man. However, the reality is that both partners are susceptible to infertility. Often, infertility results from minor sources. Only a few severe health conditions cause infertility.
For men, sexual dysfunction is one of the common causes of infertility. A study showed that 1 out of every 10 infertile men suffer from erectile dysfunction and/or premature ejaculation. This condition makes fertilization of the woman’s egg naturally impossible.
However, just as many other medical conditions that lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction is curable. Nevertheless, many couples still end up with relationships problem due to this sexual dysfunction.
WHAT IS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the inability of a man to achieve penile erection or retain an erection long enough to start and finish sexual intercourse.
It can either be:
- An inability to have an erection in all cases, whether having sex or not.
- Not being able to get an erection when trying to have sex but in other cases, like after waking up
- Inability to retain an erection that lasts enough for sex
Normally, to get a female pregnant, you have to be able to penetrate her with an erect penis. This allows the semen to flow into the female’s uterus. This will enable a sperm, with good mobility and morphology to swim to the egg and fertilize it.
As we can see, other than getting and retaining an erection, for fertilization to occurs, the sperm must be mobile and with the correct shape. This means you might be free of ED and still not be able to make a baby.
Many body conditions lead to proper fertilization. So, it is important to examine yourself and ensure you’re in the right health conditions.
CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
With millions of men around the world suffering from erectile dysfunction, we must understand the factors that lead to its development.
Age is often seen as a huge factor affecting erectile dysfunction. Over 50% of people experiencing ED are above the age of 50.
However, erectile dysfunction can affect younger guys. This is because, other than age, several factors lead to ED.
Occasionally, men with normal health conditions experience ED. This can be a result of stress, anxiety, or sadness. But when it becomes repetitive and occurs frequently, it needs medical attention.
A lot of factors can be responsible for erectile dysfuntion. It can be organic, due to vascular disease, nervous system diseases, or hormonal problems. Many times too, ED can be psychogenic, resulting from psychological or emotional imbalances.
Diseases, side effects of medicines, and health-dampening habits can also cause erectile dysfunction. These are-
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Spinal cord injuries
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Low testosterone
- Thyroid problems
- Prostate cancer
- Results of excessive smoking
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Being overweight
- Use of hard drugs
- Side effects of drugs like ulcer medicines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, or blood pressure medicines
While all these are physical/organic, ED can also independently result from psychological issues. Psychogenic erectile dysfunction can be as a result of;
- Fear of sexual failure
- Low self-esteem
- Performance anxiety
So, if ED is a result of established health conditions as mentioned, why is it then hard to accept the predicament and seek treatment?
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION – A STIGMA AMONGST MEN
Men are witnessed to be protective. When there is an issue, that can potentially hurt their pride, they adopt the protective card – hiding from the scene.
This contributes to why ED is still a stigma amongst men. Understandably, every man wants to be active and capable enough to satisfy their partner. Even men without any medical conditions try to experiment with new styles to spice sexual relationships. Undoubtedly, a good sexual relationship boosts affection in relationships.
So, sadness comes naturally to the men suffering from erectile dysfunction. Making them evasive, anxious and protective, hence the increased ED stigma amongst men.
An article on Livescience by Stephanie Pappas listed Erectile Dysfunction as one of the top 10 stigmatized health disorders, along with colon cancer, leprosy, psoriasis, obesity, lung cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), HPV, HIV/AIDS, and hyperhidrosis.
Is erectile dysfunction worth being a stigma among men? Why are men embarrassed?
Several reasons contribute to why men feel embarrassed for their inability to maintain an erection that lasts enough for sex. Some of these reasons include;
- A feel of failure
Men always strive to be the leader, the motivator, and the controller general. With ED, men feel reduced. So, this feeling of failure make men embarrassed and hide their ailment. Most men find it hard to discuss the issue with their partner – finding ways to evade intimacy for long periods.
- Guilt of dissatisfaction felt by the partner
No one likes to carry guilt, especially in relationships. Men are more hit by this kind of guilt. They always want to be the beast on the bed, shuffling different styles to satisfy the female urge. But when ED sets in, the guilt of not being able to satisfy their partner makes men embarrassed.
- Thoughts of infidelity by the partner
Another reason ED attracts stigma amongst men is its potentials in breaking couples apart. When men start to hide from their partner, or can’t attain sufficient erection to have sex, problem sets in. Your partner will begin to feel you’re not interested in her again or that you might be seeing someone else.
The guilt of these wrong accusations makes it hard for the man to live with ED.
- Pressure from friends and family about child-bearing
Another reason ED is a stigma amongst men is its contribution to the pressure exerted by family and friends about child-bearing. Situations, where couples are asked about child-bearing do put the man in an awkward situation. This pressure makes the man uncomfortable, leading to psychological issues that further deteriorate the ED condition.
- Fear of break-up or divorce
The inability to satisfy your partner in bed puts your relationship in jeopardy. Often, men without any sexual dysfunctional conditions experience this, especially when the female is quite sexually hyperactive. For men with ED, the case is worse. Such men are always afraid of what might result from this sexual dissatisfaction. Thus, making ED a stigma that they have to fight.
IS BEING DEFENSIVE THE WAY TO GO? WILL IT REDUCE ED STIGMA AMONGST MEN?
Most times, hiding a health condition worsen relationships more than it helps sustain it. Men would think that avoiding sex or keeping the truth from their partner is the way to go. At least, they will be able to sustain the relationship longer since their secret will not be revealed.
However, this technique tends to tear people apart. Women like to be touched, they like physical affection. So, the more you avoid them, the more it draws you guys apart. It is easy for a woman to think you don’t find her attractive anymore when you avoid sexual relationships.
Aside from its effects on the relationship, neglecting care, or hiding from the realities of ED is very dangerous to health.
As earlier noted, the nervous system, hormones, and penile vascular conditions contribute to a proper erection. Erectile dysfunction emerges when there isn’t enough blood flow to the penile blood vessels. This could be damage to the vessels, low testosterone, thyroid issues, or a problem to the part of the nervous system responsible for this penile blood flow.
So, ED isn’t just an ordinary sexual dysfunction. It could be a warning sign of a bigger health issue. Hence, hiding away from care can endanger you, leaving you sick.
LIVING WITH ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION – HOW TO NORMALIZE THE STIGMA AMONGST MEN
First, erectile dysfunction isn’t a death sentence! It’s not worthy of being a stigma amongst men!
Many cases of ED are mild and structured diet and some lifestyle changes can treat them. Fortunately, medical developments have helped conquered the fear many ED patients face. Surgery, use of oral pills amongst many other medical procedures can cure 90% of ED cases.
So, to normalize the stigma amongst men, the first steps include;
- Accept your predicament and know you’re not alone
When you suffer a health disorder like erectile dysfunction, it is normal to feel disgusted, that only you can understand how it feels. However, you must understand that millions of other men are in your shoes.
Reports have shown that millions of young men in their 20’s and 30’s are suffering from ED. So, quit asking yourself, “why me? I’m not even 60 or 70 yet” – ED isn’t just an old man disease!
- Value your partner’s feelings
You need to be aware of the danger of hiding your condition poses to your relationship with your partner. Keeping the truth from them wouldn’t solve your problem nor sustain your relationship. So, learn to speak up, reveal your struggles to her. Learn to understand that beyond penetrating sex, you can still enjoy foreplay and affectionate touches while you try to heal from ED. Just try to consider her and her feelings.
- Seek Help
After realizing that ED won’t disappear by just hiding from it, you must seek help. Start by studying your symptoms. Read about sexual dysfunctions and their causes. Retrace your steps – what could have happened?
This way, you and your partner will be able to identify measures to take going forward. Start by reaching out to a doctor, or a psychologist that can help analyzed your symptoms and advised on treatment measures to adopt. This way, you’ll save yourself the stress of evasive acts and habits that can severe your relationship with your partner.
- Show compassion and strength to fight it off
As frustrating as ED can be when you concentrate on getting over it, you’ll get over it in no time. Also, if it is due to some underlying health conditions, your will to fight it off will aid your recuperation. Hence, it is necessary to try, show compassion, and engage your partner. Being a beast because of ED won’t do you any good.
Seek psychological help, in case you find it hard to do naturally. In the long run, you’ll get used to it and will be able to find lasting solutions to your condition.
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION TREATMENT OPTIONS
ED is curable. There are several options to choose from, as it suits you, and based on the severity of your condition.
There are medications designed to help cure erectile dysfunction. The most common form of medication is phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibiting pills. These pills, with sildenafil citrate as a base ingredient, copies the action of this protein group in relaxing the penile muscles, allowing for increased blood flow into the penis – causing an improved erection.
The oral medicines include-
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
- Vardenafil (Levitra).
The generic version of these drugs known as cenforce 100 has proven to be effective for fixing ED. Cenforce 100 is quite affordable and can be easily ordered from online drug stores.
Because ED can be psychogenic, it is important to seek the help of a psychologist. Although medications can help recover in no time, emotional imbalance might still weaken your confidence to try. It is important to talk about your struggles, your stress and anxiety factors, your subconscious conflicts, and feelings around sex.
All these will help you focus on your recovery, augmenting the effects of medications.
Other than medications and talk therapy, ED can be treated via more advanced procedures. In cases of hormonal imbalances, where there are low levels of testosterone, doctors advise testosterone therapy.
Likewise, vacuum pumps can be implanted inside the man’s body to stimulate an erection. Also, a permanent prosthesis can be implanted via surgery procedures.
Being incapacitated by any means affect one’s feelings. As a man, being unable to perform your sexual duties to your partner naturally is a big psychological condition. It leaves you dejected – creating a feeling of failure.
Suffering erectile dysfunction is a big stigma amongst men. It embarrasses men and makes them very protective and evasive in their relationship. The fact that young men are not left out contributes to the increased erectile dysfunction stigma amongst men. They feel, “why me? I’m still very young to be impotent!”
However, erectile dysfunction isn’t a death sentence. Erectile dysfunction stigma amongst men shouldn’t be given a space to thrive! You shouldn’t! Your partner shouldn’t!
Nursing ED stigma amongst men leads to more break-ups than relationship sustainment. It drifts couples apart and builds a lack of trust.
Fortunately, medical developments have helped conquered ED, with several erectile dysfunction treatment options available. Thus, it is all about you. Don’t let ED enter your head. Accept your predicament, research about it, and seek help.
With time and regular treatments, you’ll be free of ED or at least be able to manage it, significant to enjoy sex and increase your chances of fertility.