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New Delhi: Erectile dysfunction or sexual impotence is a condition where men have trouble in getting an erection, maintaining an erection or witness a lack of sexual desire.
In present times, it is not merely a medical condition but a word which has become synonymous to the 'lack of power' in an individual. Hence, in the traditional Indian scenario, the patients suffering from this disease, which is often referred to as 'Impotence', prefer to conceal the problem and face the consequences rather than seeking timely medical support.
"The cases of erectile dysfunction have risen significantly in the past decade. While men believe that the main cause for the disorder is aging, it isn't necessarily true. Changing lifestyles, stress, lack of exercise excessive smoking and drinking can have substantial impact on a person's sexual health," said Dr. S.S. Vasan, Manipal Fertility, Bengaluru.
"We must also keep in mind that India is the diabetic capital of the world and has high incidence of hypertension and metabolic disorders, which in a way also lead to an increased risk of ED. Often, men suffering from the disorder are shy in seeking medical help and start self-diagnosis or consult quacks, a practice that can be extremely detrimental for the condition. It is important to understand that a cure for this problem is available at all ages."
Due to the stigma associated with ED, people pursue temporary home-made solutions to the problem rather than gaining a proper understanding of the causes behind the disease.
Apart from a sedentary lifestyle, medical conditions such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and injury to the urinary system, spinal cord or penis can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Moreover, regular intake of antidepressants, antiandrogens, sedatives and hypertension medication can occasionally become the cause of this problem. Age can also play a role in the issue.
"Many researches have revealed that ED is one of the major causes of unconsummated marriages in India, leading to high psychological impact. Patients have the same queries, 'Does this mean that I can never be a father?' 'Is IVF now my only option?'. Most of the individuals suffering from the disease don't know that there are multiple treatment options available for them. There are implants available where a device is inserted in the penis that can be activated whenever the requirement arises. Moreover, with the advancement of technology, many painless yet effective ways to manage the problem have emerged," explained Dr. Vineet Malhotra, Diyos Men's Health Center
There are many solutions available in the market which are much more effective than 'viagra' or home remedies. Some of them include:
1.Oral Medications: Certain drugs can help in relaxing the muscles found in male sexual organs, and increase blood flow to the penis, in response to sexual stimuli.
2.Self-Injections: Sometimes a doctor can prescribe a medication called alprostadil that men are required to inject at the base of the penis. The treatment is painless, as the medication is performed through a fine needle.
3.Pumps or vacuum devices: Vacuum erection devices involve placing a small cylindrical device that is placed over the penis. It puts negative pressure and pulls blood into the organ, causing an erection. A band is then placed at the base to maintain the erection, which lasts for about 30 minutes.
"The problem is also significantly rising amongst young men between the age groups 30-40, causing a discord in family life. While often ignored, this can have serious consequences on not only physical intimacy but also social relations. If you have the problem, don't be afraid to talk about it, both to your spouse and your doctor," said Dr. Rupin Shah, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai.
"Moreover, females need to be sensitive about the issue and seek professional solutions rather than breaking off the relationships. Erectile dysfunction is a lifestyle problem which can affect anybody and can be treated in time. So many patients let the problem psychologically affect them, becoming depressed in the process. They need to understand that erectile dysfunction does not mean that the possibility of a happy life has ended."
With the rising incidents of patients with ED, there is a need to understand the problem completely and act accordingly. Individuals must remember that avoiding proper medical condition due to shame or embarrassment will fuel the problem rather than treating it.