Many people think that the practice of urology is limited to checking your prostate once you reach 50 years old. But urologists help with a whole lot more than run of the mill wellness checks. A huge part of the work we do at Virginia Urology surrounds men’s sexual health. Nearly one third of men experience some sort of “sexual dysfunction” and 30 million men in the U.S. alone deal with erectile dysfunction specifically. (1)
Unfortunately, some people would rather suffer in silence than bring up their sex life to their doctor. But, if we can convey anything to you, it would be that we hear all sorts of sex related details every day. While we’re compassionate about your individual case – it’s just part of the work we do. There will be no judgment, no gaping mouth. Sexual dysfunction is very common, but that doesn’t mean you should just accept it as part of your life. We’ll outline a few of the most common issues impacting men’s sexual health, but if you have something else going on, we can almost guarantee that you’re not alone.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
This one is well known. It’s the inability to achieve an erection firm enough for sex. There are a variety of factors that come into play when it comes to erectile dysfunction. Stress, anxiety, depression, underlying health conditions, lifestyle choices… all of this can be at the root of ED. So if you’re tempted to ignore it in hopes that it’ll go away, keep in mind that something as simple as exercise could help your case. And if an illness or health condition is causing ED, you want to get the health issue taken care of sooner than later. (1)
Premature Ejaculation (PE)
This one can be really tough for men to talk about. But PE is THE most common form of sexual dysfunction. PE is exactly what it sounds like – it’s when a man ejaculates sooner that he (or his partner) desires. (1) Some men experience PE as soon as they start having sex, and others develop it later in life.
Contrary to popular belief, PE isn’t always “just in your mind.” There are chemical, emotional, and biological reasons why it occurs. Whatever the cause, treatment is available. While no medications are specifically approved to treat PE, some medications have side effects that can delay orgasms which can make them helpful for people with PE. In other cases, there are physical practices that can be implemented during sex to slow down arousal or even numbing creams that can be helpful. A urologist can help you explore treatment options to find the best solution for you. (1)
Many men assume that if their sex drive decreases that it’s automatically a sign of low testosterone. And worse, often that drives them to the internet to order all sorts of “supplements” advertised as options to boost testosterone levels.
First, a decrease in sex drive can occur for a variety of reasons, and it isn’t always an indicator that you’ve got low testosterone. That’s why working with a urologist is important. Before you can remedy low libido you have to identify the cause. Some medications, illnesses and surgeries can negatively impact sex drive. In addition, shorter term causes like stress (like a big project at work, or an argument with your spouse), can also lower one’s interest in sex. (2) Once you and your physician pinpoint the cause of low libido, you can work together to remedy the symptoms. But, taking testosterone is not always the solution, and if you take testosterone when you don’t need to, it can cause more harm than good.
No matter what is going on…
One of the most important sexual health tips is to be careful what you read on the internet. There are all sorts of businesses and pseudo health “experts” trying to sell you something. Consider the source carefully, and before you add any new supplements into your routine be sure to run it by your doctor. Just because something is labeled is “safe” or “natural” doesn’t make it true. (3)
Whatever you have going on below the belt, it’s worth bringing up to a urologist. Sexual health issues can be an indicator that something much more serious is going on, in which case you’ll want to treat the underlying health condition. And sometimes, there’s nothing underlying and there’s a really simple solution. Either way, listen to your body is something is off, and let us help you get back on track.