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Stress and anxiety relating to the pandemic are not just affecting the general mental health and wellbeing of men around the world, but could also be causing a rise in erectile dysfunction problems.

Covid has already been identified as a factor in increasing problems affecting men. It is now well-established in medical circles that the condition known as ‘Long Covid’ is having an impact, because it makes the blood stickier and restricts blood flow, with the knock-on effects on the ability of men to sustain erections.

However, the more common psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are also very much a part of the problem, US news provider ABC7 reports.

In an interview with the network, nurse and holistic coach Shari James said straightforward mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression were being supplemented by the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Anytime there’s income loss or job loss, that actually affects a man on all levels…especially down there,” she remarked.

Ms James also noted the recent findings that getting Covid itself is a cause of erectile dysfunction, but said the problem is usually made a lot worse, whatever its cause, by men being reluctant to seek help unless the situation becomes a very severe crisis.

Describing where this threshold lies, she said: “I would say not until there’s a high pain point. Not until his spouse is yelling at him and ready to walk out the door or there’s a divorce.”

It is clear that erectile dysfunction can have many causes, with the article also noting the advice of sex therapist and counsellor Dr April Brown. She said that while she has not yet come across someone with problems caused by long covid, issues like heart disease are still well known issues that should be addressed.

She advised: “Let’s start eating healthy. Let’s start doing natural things before you think ‘oh my gosh I need to go on some medication.’”

Of course, those who have problems can certainly help themselves if they buy Sildenafil online, but there is plenty more men can do to help themselves in the longer term.

The point made by Dr Brown is a relevant one, for one of the effects of Covid has been for men to stay at home more and do less, with reduced exercise and comfort eating adding to broader health problems.

In the UK, furlough will have had a particular effect on some by leaving many men with little to do but stay at home under lockdown restrictions.

The impact of unemployment cited by Shari James will also be a concern, although at least it is not as bad in the UK as might have been expected. In his Budget speech, chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Office for Budget Responsibility had predicted unemployment to peak at 11.9 per cent as a result of the pandemic, but this forecast has now been revised to 6.5 per cent. However, while that means 1.8 million more in work, there will still be many who have lost their jobs – with the consequent anxiety and worry having effects below the belt.