The support of a loving and patient partner plays an important role in the treatment of this condition, yet around 58 per cent of those suffering, a total of 77,000 men, seek help from their GPs on their own rather than involve their partners. Much of this is down to embarrassment and a feeling of guilt for being unable to satisfy their partner’s needs. Unfortunately this can lead to a loss of self esteem: in the study most of those men who took part noted a reduction in self confidence of between 5.2 and 6.3 out of a possible seven points.
Physiologically, erectile dysfunction can be a warning sign of cardiovascular problems, diabetes or very high cholesterol levels. This is why doctors stress the importance of seeking advice as soon as possible. Regrettably, men will often wait an average of over 18 months before speaking to their GP, by which time those whose problem is caused by illness will have suffered an unnecessary deterioration in their general health.
There are, of course, psychological causes which can lead to inability to function or a diminishing of sexual desire: particularly in this day and age where financial problems, unemployment and uncertainty over the future are leading to greater numbers of people suffering from depression and anxiety. Experiencing erectile dysfunction also leads to additional stress, which in turn further affects self-esteem, and on it goes in an unfortunate self-perpetrating cycle that can often exacerbate the condition. Yet there are several ways of dealing with this problem, counselling and medication being two of them. Whatever the cause, it is always best to see your doctor as soon as possible. There is no need for any patient to be ashamed: the condition is not unusual and in many cases can be treated with a minute change in lifestyle.
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