Erectile Dysfunction - Myths And Facts

Dr. Chintan Solanki    08-08-2021 Consult

Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get or keep an erection, is a common problem. Most men experience difficulty at some time in their life but for some the problem is ongoing, causing problems in self-esteem and in their relationships. Previously, this was thought to be an emotional problem but recent medical research has shown that in many cases, it is caused by a physical problem. Because this is a difficult topic for men to talk about, there are many misconceptions that still exist. The following dispels some of the myths surrounding ED:

Tight underwear can cause Erectile Dysfunction.

Fact: There is no research showing that wearing tight underwear can lead to erectile dysfunction. However, tight underwear may contribute to infertility. Keeping testicles too close to the body raises their temperature and hinders sperm production.

ED occurs when you're not attracted to your partner.

Fact: While a lack of attraction - or even some trouble in the relationship - can contribute to erectile dysfunction, the majority of ED is physiological. The trouble starts with a biological reason, which can lead to confidence issues, avoiding sex, fear of failure, and then avoiding your sex partner.

Erectile Dysfunction is a normal part of aging.

Fact: Erectile dysfunction is not an inevitable part of growing older. Like arthritis and heart disease, erectile dysfunction is just more common in older men. Certain health conditions increase in likelihood with age, as does erectile dysfunction. ED can also be a warning sign of another condition, such as cardiovascular disease. The penis is a vascular organ, and therefore any condition that interferes with blood flow in the body can affect erections.

Erectile Dysfunction only affects older men.

Fact: While older men have a higher incidence of erectile dysfunction, impotence can happen to men of any age. Younger men who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular problems are at particularly high risk.

ED is best treated with oral medications like Viagra.

Fact: Erectile dysfunction medications don't work for everyone, and they're not usually the first line of treatment. Doctors initially recommend healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and losing weight. The next step might be to identify possible medications that could be causing erectile dysfunction or to try psychotherapy. Eventually, oral medications may be prescribed to increase blood flow to the penis and achieve erection.

Erectile Dysfunction is only an emotional issue.

Fact: It was once believed that erectile dysfunction was solely psychological. Today, experts believe physiological factors are at the root of most erectile dysfunction cases. Physiological causes can be related to health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, as well as due to side effects from medication. These physical factors can also contribute to emotional ones. When a man experiences erectile dysfunction, he can become anxious or depressed, and the erectile dysfunction can become a source of psychological stress.

Having trouble having an erection always signals ED.

Fact: Men, despite popular belief, can't always have sex. Fatigue, personal problems, anxiety, worry, and other problems can affect a man's ability to have sex. In addition, just as with women, some days men are just "not in the mood." Believing that men can have sex at any time adds to the pressure of feeling the need to perform.

ED is not dangerous, it is just a personal problem.

Fact: While it is true that in many cases, ED itself is not dangerous, it can signal underlying medical conditions which may be dangerous, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, if not treated. Seeing your doctor when you experience ED may help in identifying and treating possible serious medical conditions. 

Erectile Dysfunction cannot be caused by riding a bicycle.

Fact: Cycling is linked to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. If you fell asleep in a very awkward position in a chair, you'd get pins and needles in a part of the body to which the blood wasn't flowing properly. When you ride a bike, most of your body weight is on the crotch, causing damage by crushing endothelial cells.

I can take an herbal supplement to treat ED and don't need to see a doctor.

Fact: At the present time, there is no scientific research that backs up using herbal supplements to treat ED. In addition, herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and can be dangerous for other medical conditions, may interfere with your current medication and may cause unwanted side effects.  You should always speak with your doctor before taking herbal supplements.  

Embarrassment about talking with your doctor about ED prevent many men from seeking treatment. However, ED is, in most cases, treatable. If you experience a problem with erections more than 25 percent of the time, you should speak with your doctor. Online consult Doctor Insta's Sexologists and Psychologists through video/phone for ED problems from the comfort and privacy of your home or office.