Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a male to get and sustain an erection to be able to enjoy satisfactory sexual intercourse with his partner. The condition of ED (erectile dysfunction) was previously considered by many to be a problem associated with men generally in the age group of 40 years and above, suffering from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or recovering from post prostrate surgery. Though this still holds true in many cases, recent studies have shown a dramatic rise of ED in younger men (early 20's onwards).
The modern lifestyle is a major contributor for both the psychological and physical reasons for this increase of ED in the young men. This holds especially true in the urban areas. The fast paced life of the younger generation has forced them to live a life which is unhealthy and full of stress.
The key psychological factors that affect young male adults include:
- Performance anxiety: This is by far the biggest psychological trigger that causes erectile dysfunction. Peer pressure and unrealistic expectations lead these youngsters to over think and worry about their sexual prowess, which in turn becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and causes them to loose erection.
- Bereavement in the family: A lot of young adults have trouble coming to terms with the recent demise of a family member or a friend, which affects their sexual performance.
- Work related stress: This is another biggie; the current corporate climate has increased stress levels of younger employees to a degree never before experienced by the preceding generations. Tight project deadlines, office politics and job insecurity have elevated stress levels to such heights that they can lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Depression: Untreated clinical depression is also on the rise among young men, the non treatment of which can also affect sexual performance.
- Other lifestyle factors that contribute to ED are:
- Excessive intake of alcohol: While there is no harm in letting one's hair down once in a while and enjoy a drinks with family and friends occasionally, problem arises when youngsters party hard; consuming copious amount of liquor on a regular basis. High alcohol intake not only impairs mentally but also physically and may lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Smoking: Despite the efforts of the Indian government to discourage sale of cigarettes by banning their advertisement and raising prices, the trend of smoking in youngsters especially male is on the rise. Studies have shown that smokers are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from E.D than non smokers.
- Obesity: Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits among young men is leading to an alarming rise in obesity cases. Being obese means that the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently throughout the body including the penis, which leads to E.D.
Erectile dysfunction is totally curable, but unfortunately the majority of young men suffering from it do not take professional medical help, in fact only 1 in every 29 seek do so. They tend to suffer both physically and mentally in silence because of the social stigma attached to it, especially among younger men. They cannot talk to any of their family or friends because they think that if they do, their manhood would be questioned and they would be made fun of.
There is a lot of misleading information out there and a lot of times these youngsters will go for the quick fix in the form consuming non prescribed medicines such as the generic versions of Viagra etc, without realizing that they can cause adverse side effects, without identifying the underlying cause of their problem. The truth is that all they need to do is seek a qualified sexologist who will respect their privacy and is equipped to give them both; professional counseling (as we have seen that the biggest reasons for E.D in young men are psychological) and the right medication to identify the root cause of E.D in that individual, and offer a long term cure. This will help them lead a much more fruitful and complete life without having erectile dysfunction as a hanging sword over their heads.