This story was written in partnership with BlueChew.
There is no more sensitive topic around the most sensitive area of men than erectile dysfunction. The stigma around erectile dysfunction – whether it’s somehow shameful or not male – makes it difficult for many men to talk about it with their doctors. It also means that there is a lot of misinformation circulating, as the information that comes from the mind of the male hive is less reliable than that of medical professionals, to put it lightly.
But not believing everything you hear about ED is only half the equation. The other is to arm yourself with useful information that puts erectile dysfunction symptoms in context and makes them less frightening if you experience them. With that in mind, here are three ED facts every man should know and three ED myths he should know how to ignore.
Myth: Erectile dysfunction is simply the inability to get an erection.
There are actually a few different situations that qualify for a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. According to the National Institutes of Health, men get erectile dysfunction when they can sometimes get an erection (but not every time they want to have sex), have erections that don’t last long enough for sex. fulfilling or satisfying, or, yes, unable to get an erection at any time.
Fact: ED is treatable.
The FDA has approved four prescription drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. They are available not only from urologists, but from all general practitioners. In addition to improving lifestyle choices like quitting smoking and exercising regularly, they are effective in helping men reduce their symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
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Myth: Erectile dysfunction can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
There is no shortage of questionable products that claim to cure erectile dysfunction, as anyone who has ever glimpsed the “medicine” section of a gas station can attest. But the FDA-approved drugs that treat erectile dysfunction are all available exclusively by prescription. Over-the-counter herbal remedies like ginseng, for example, have failed to meet the high standards of evidence required to gain FDA approval. So while buying something that promises quick results without a prescription may be tempting, taking anything a doctor hasn’t prescribed is at best wasting money and at worst putting your health at risk.
Fact: ED is a common condition.
In 2012, an estimated 30 million American men, including 30 percent of men with high blood pressure, are affected by erectile dysfunction. It’s a lot! The private nature of the problem means that it can have an isolating effect – wouldn’t you be more likely to discuss your butt knee than your butt penis with your friends? – but it is actually a common quality of life disorder and, fortunately, treatable.
Myth: Erectile dysfunction is only a problem for older men.
Years of ads featuring husbands with all-salted hair have created the false impression that only older guys struggle with erectile dysfunction. This is not the case, according to an analysis of 2,126 surveys published in 2007. These data showed that although ED is “very positively related to age” (vs. percent of men in their 20s and 20s). their 30s were “sometimes” or “never” able “to achieve an erection sufficient for satisfactory sex.” That may not sound like much, but literally millions of men are commonly considered “too young” to feel the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Reality: ED can be a sign of other medical problems.
According to Johns Hopkins, erectile dysfunction is a symptom of many other disorders and diseases, from chronic sleep disorders to diabetes to neurogenic disorders and depression. So, although the particular difficulty presented by erectile dysfunction is confined to one part of the body, it is often a sign of larger problems, which deserve to be mentioned to a healthcare professional who pursues a full evaluation of your condition. health.