Erectile Dysfunction | Stress
– The prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED Screening Learn More) in males is more than 30%
– According to latest estimates, the prevalence of stress in general population is 27%
– Data indicates that the symptoms of stress are often masked by similar psychological/ psycho-social issues in general population such as (anxiety – 27.1%) and depression (47.1%)
Undue and excessive stress is often implicated as a serious risk factor in the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction.
Pathophysiology of Erectile dysfunction Due to Stress
Stress and over thinking may affect the overall brain biochemistry and may mediate undesirable effects on mental and physical well-being. Sexual intercourse is not just a physical interaction between two individuals.
Research and clinical studies suggest that physical intercourse is the complex interplay of emotional, hormonal (Hormonal Imbalance Learn More), psychological and physical factors. If the partner/ partners involved are too conscious, stressed out or emotionally volatile, it might lead to build up of anxiety (ED & Anxiety Learn More) and stress that can affect both physical and mental components of intercourse.
In addition, stress increases the secretion of cortisol and other stress hormones that further alters the natural biochemical balance of hormones and leads to ED and other types of sexual disorders.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress affects the physical and psychological (ED & Trauma Learn More) aspects in addition to sexual dysfunction.
Characteristic symptoms of stress and stress related disorders are
– Irritability and high levels of agitation that may or may not be provoked
– Low energy levels and a persistent feeling of worry
– Fatigue (Fatigue & ED Learn More) and tiredness
– Depression (ED & Depression Learn More)and blues
– Early aging (ED & Aging)
– Decreased libido (Decreased Libido Learn More) and an inability to achieve orgasm
– Thrashed mental clarity and focus
– Thrashed muscle strength and mass
– Change in quality of skin (acne) and hair growth (hair fall)
Manage Stress Related Erectile Dysfunction
– Oral therapy: oral pills such as Viagra (Natural Supplements Learn More) (sildenafil) and other generic drugs such as vardenafil and tadalafil are common prescription/ OTC drugs to manage erection by increasing blood supply to penis. The mode of action is an increase in the levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate that promotes the blood flow in cavernous sinuses.
– Intravenous therapy: prostaglandin and para-sympathomimetic injections are also used to increase the blood supply to penis and relax muscles to help with erection.
Although a more logical approach is to identify and manage the cause of stress; but in situations, when stress is unavoidable, there are several strategies that may help in managing stress mediated ED:
– Pattern breathing: short and wavered breathing is an indication of emotional stress. Psychotherapists advise breathing exercises to manage stress levels (such as increasing the depth of respiration and trying to focus on breathing only)
– Counting backwards between every breath also helps in controlling stress mediated ED
– Stress is a psychological issue as well so psychotherapy often helps in the management protocol. Once the therapy starts a good psychotherapist will not only help identify problems causing difficulty in sexual performance but will also provide therapeutic rescue, leading to a healthy mind and physical being.
It is very important to identify that the trivial symptoms of stress are not a less-risky presentation of grave psychological issues like depression. Seek appropriate medical and psychotherapeutic help to manage the symptoms of ED.
Schwartz, B. G., & Kloner, R. A. (2011). Cardiovascular implications of erectile dysfunction. Circulation, 123(21), e609-e611.
Bayram, N., & Bilgel, N. (2008). The prevalence and socio-demographic correlations of depression, anxiety and stress among a group of university students. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43(8), 667-672.
When to Seek Medical Advice for ED?
IF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION LASTS LONGER THAN 2 MONTHS OR IS A RECURRING PROBLEM, SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR A PHYSICAL EXAM OR FOR A REFERRAL TO A DOCTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN ERECTILE PROBLEMS. YOUR OWN DOCTOR OR A SPECIALIST CAN HELP TO DETERMINE THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OR CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AND GUIDE YOU TOWARDS FINDING THE RIGHT TYPE OF TREATMENT.
Although you might view erectile dysfunction as a personal or embarrassing problem, it’s important to seek treatment, especially if a physical cause might be developing. In many cases, erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated. Also, see your doctor if the therapy or medication prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction isn’t working for you. Don’t try to combine medications or therapies on your own or deviate from prescribed doses and do not your symptoms as they could be one of Erectile Dysfunction Causes.