February 15, 2015
If you watch TV, you’ve seen commercials for ED (erectile dysfunction). Tonight, I’ve seen three different commercials for ED. The message is a simple one; men, you have to be ready at a moment’s notice, so take a pill. ED is common. Fifty two percent of men between the ages of 40 – 70 have ED.
Recently, I was at a lecture on ED and impressed by a quote from Tiefer and Melman, “Erection is truly at least a sensory-motor-neuro-hormonal-vascular-psycho-social-cultural-interpersonal event.” Yes, the male erection is much more complex than just taking a pill. Being ready at a moment’s notice relies on many things coming together all at once. Is it any wonder 52% of men between 40 – 70 years old have ED?
So, is the pill the answer? Not really. There are multiple risk factors for ED including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, low T (testosterone), alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anemia, coronary artery disease, Peyronie’s disease, vascular surgery, depression, and obesity. With such an impressive list of possible causes, a medical work-up should be performed and associated causes should be appropriately treated.
“Erection is truly at least a sensory-motor-neuro-hormonal-vascular-psycho-social-cultural-interpersonal event.” Note that psycho, social, and interpersonal relationships can be significant factors in ED. Trying to over-ride psycho, social, and interpersonal issues with a pill can be perilous. Facing psycho, social, and interpersonal issues can be difficult but rewarding in the end.
The most interesting material addressed during the lecture was the effects of lifestyle changes on ED. Exercise had the ability to improve ED in the studies quoted. As exercise also improves high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and obesity, as well as improves ED, EXERCISE!
Over the last few years, I have written many articles extolling the benefits of exercise. Convincing patients to exercise is difficult at best. Now I have one more reason why men should exercise!
So, men, if you want to optimize your erection, exercise! Women, if your husband’s ED is a problem, get him a membership at the local gym and workout with him.