In India, sexual health concerns are stigmatized, so people feel ‘embarrassed’ or ‘uncomfortable’ about them and, as a result, do not discuss them. So, men, even though they suffer from sexual health problems, avoid getting diagnosed and treated by a doctor. These problems are very difficult to deal with, and as a result, they can give rise to other problems like depression, loss of interest in sex, anxiety, and many more.
It is important to discuss about sexual health problems, especially in men, as there is limited or no conversation around their health because of which they generally do not understand the problem or tend to ignore it.
Some of the sexual health concerns among men are:
• Erectile dysfunction– It happens when a man is unable to get or keep an erection. ED can happen due to various reasons, such as excessive blood pressure or vascular disease, lifestyle factors like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, and stress.
• Premature ejaculation – It occurs when semen leaves the body earlier than desired.
1 out 3 men complain about this problem. Premature ejaculation can happen because of irregular hormone levels, swelling or infection of the prostrate area, erectile dysfunction, mental health problems, or poor communication between partners.
• Reduced libido– It means reduced sexual desire. It is a very common sexual health problem in men. Usually, low levels of testosterone are associated with the condition. Testosterone maintains sperm production and sexual desire. So low testosterone can impact a man’s sexual health. Reduced libido can also occur due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain drugs.
• Low sperm count– It happens when the semen contains fewer sperm than normal. A low sperm count is a major factor causing infertility in men. Hormonal issues, ejaculation problems, smoking, alcohol, obesity, trauma, sexually transmitted diseases, and inflammation of the testicles or epididymis are some of the leading causes of the condition.
• Retrograde ejaculation– Semen goes back into the bladder during retrograde ejaculation rather than leaving through the penis. The issue is faced by men who have diabetes due to nerve damage or who have undergone bladder or prostate surgery may experience this.
• Peyronie’s Disease– Plaques develop under the penis’ skin as a result of Peyronie’s disease. During erections, these plaques may cause the penis to bend or indent. The plaques can sometimes be painful and can often be felt through the skin. Some of the factors that can cause the condition are connective tissue disorders, age, and repeated injury to the penis.
Treatment options available for sexual health problems in men:
• Counselling to relieve depression or other mental health issues, or to assist in managing stress, anxiety, fear, or guilt
• There are also surgical procedures that can help, like a penile implant, in which a pair of flexible silicone cylinders are surgically placed inside the erection chambers of the penis. These can be solid malleable rods or 3-piece inflatable implants which provide a more natural feel and experience to the patient. These procedures improves a man’s ability to get an erection, leading to a healthy sexual life.
• In penile traction therapy, abnormalities can be repaired using a device.
• Certain medications prescribed by doctors can also help with sexual health problems in men.
• Another therapy that can help is testosterone replacement therapy.
People should start normalizing the sexual health problems, and any man suffering from any of the sexual health problems should immediately visit a doctor. With timely treatment, there are more chances of getting cured easily.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not meant to provide any clinical or medical advice. Please contact your doctor for more information.
The author is an Urologist and Andrologist, CEO and Medical Director, Ankur Healthcare, Bangalore. Views are personal.