Tradition often aims to protect the victim from what is considered mysterious, to appease the curiosity of those considered young, and to silence the cravings of the indifferent.

Even so sometimes, certain issues such as reproductive health specifically for men are well kept as “public secrets”.

People have only chosen not to talk about sexual reproduction issues like male erectile dysfunction (ED) openly, as this is seen as malicious or mean speech.

In other cases, it remains common in a fight between married couples to hear aggrieved women spill the “tea” in public.

In Uganda, those considered elderly often encourage their children to renounce such cowardly acts and use phrases like “embwomuju tebitotorwa”, which means that household secrets should never be disclosed to a stranger.

In most African societies, people often choose to solve certain problems by ignoring them. Therefore, tradition has it that covering up issues such as erectile dysfunction is a sign of resilience and remains top secret. Traditional healers and herbalists often take advantage of these traditions to suggest that conditions like erectile dysfunction require “spiritual” cleansing to be healed.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often implicated as “impotence”, the recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse.

It is estimated that 15 to 30 million men worldwide suffer from erectile dysfunction. While research shows that few men are born impotent, there is clinical evidence that the majority of men with erectile dysfunction issues tend to be 50 and over.

The causes of erectile dysfunction vary from individual to individual. It is often caused by a disruption of the sequence in the nervous system, the spine and the area around the penis. Some of the scientifically known root causes of erectile dysfunction include damaged nerves often caused by diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and behaviors such as chronic alcoholism.

Other erectile dysfunction disorders such as nonorganic erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological issues such as depression or even experienced by men who experience prolonged anxiety during sex.

In modern medicine, treatment for ED often includes Viagra and oral medications with drugs like yohimbine, hydrochloride, and papaverine, herbs, weight loss plans, exercise, psychotherapy, and changes in blood pressure. way of life.

Oral medications have been reported to influence many patients towards treatment. However, drugs are expensive for patients in developing countries. Most men with erectile dysfunction tend to resort to herbal supplements and medications. While some of these supplements and herbs have been shown to be effective, they may contain combinations of ingredients that can be dangerous and lead to other bodily complications.

There is a growing body of literature on the psychological effects of erectile dysfunction on men living with the disease as well as on their mental health and well-being.

Often patients have low self-esteem, stress, depression, and erectile dysfunction negatively affect relationships and reduce life satisfaction.

There is also some evidence indicating that a combination of psychological approaches such as oral cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are effective treatments.

Lifestyle changes are arguably the most effective natural remedies for erectile dysfunction, such as losing weight, stopping smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating a balanced diet.

However, such natural remedies take a long time to have an obvious effect depending on the cause of ED, are difficult to obtain, and may not show signs of improvement if not supplemented with medications or other forms. treatment.

In recent times, gyrating beliefs specifically among Christian populations have transformed some of the ways in which some of these canonical African beliefs regarding reproductive health issues for men are viewed.

This allowed the condition to be disclosed to religious leaders in prayer and hope for divine intervention. It is arguably true that even among such belief systems, men living with EDD expect some level of confidentiality from the religious leader and prefer not to use their terms as illustrations for sermons.

In very unusual circumstances, those who profess to be healed reveal their experiences in testimonies to other devotees. Whether curable or treated, male sexual reproduction problems such as erectile dysfunction remain a very “embarrassing” problem for men who often choose to live with the disease in secret.

Laetitia Mugerwa is a Ugandan writer and founder of Empowerment Initiative for Women and Youth Uganda which helps rural women and youth to become economically empowered through skills development.

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