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Erectile Dysfunction can be an embarrassing problem for men, from when it first happens to you to when you seek treatment. The awkwardness of opening up about the problem can cause some men to suffer in silence without investigating why it is happening. What acerbates the problem is when men turn to the internet for information, where fact and myth mix indistinguishably.

From ‘miracle cures’ to ‘one simple trick that doctors don’t want you to know’ that inevitably want to part you from your hard-earned money, to myths such as that erectile dysfunction (ED) only affects older men or that ED is caused by watching pornography, we have a look at some of the biggest myths that surround ED to give you an informed perspective.

Myth 1 – Erectile dysfunction is a single problem

Cases of ED can vary, from those who are completely unable to achieve an erection to those whose erections come and go, or some men who cannot achieve an erection that is hard enough for penetrative sex.

The textbook definition of ED is the inability to get and keep an erection that’s sufficient to engage in sex so, which covers a wide range of situations.

If you notice that your erection isn’t as firm as it once was, but it’s not interfering with your enjoyment of sex, then, technically, you don’t have ED, though you may wish to follow up with me before it becomes an issue.

Myth 2 – Erectile dysfunction is only an older man’s problem

While it is true that the chances for ED do increase with age, around 15 per cent of men under the age of 40 say that have experienced ED occasionally at least, but 25 per cent of men in the same age group are seeking treatment for the condition.

This demonstrates how embarrassment can affect accurate reporting of ED, as well as clearly showing that ED is not just an older man’s problem.

Overall, however, only about one-third of men with ED seek medical treatment.

Myth 3 – Erectile dysfunction is largely psychological

If you have experienced ED, you may be worrying about it returning, which can increase anxiety and stress, and perpetuate the problem. But the root causes of ED are often more physical than psychological, and sometimes there could be multiple causes.

ED occurs when there is a problem with blood flow to the penis, causing erections to fail, and there are many conditions that can contribute to blood flow problems, for instance, medication, smoking, excessive alcohol use, as well as disorders such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Myth 4 – Viagra is the only treatment option for erectile dysfunction

It is unlikely that you will never have heard of Viagra. The brand name has entered popular culture and has had aggressive marketing campaigns over the years. However, it is not the only treatment for ED.

Sildenafil is the generic name for Viagra and is a PDE5 inhibitor that addresses ED. Other PDE5 inhibitors include vardenafil (Levitra and Staxyn), tadalafil (Cialis), and a more recently approved drug, avanafil (Stendra).

If PDE5 inhibitors don’t work for you, there are other options, such as an injectable drug called alprostadil. Changes to medications that contribute to ED may also be possible, and testosterone replacement therapy may help, but only if your testosterone levels are low.

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