The percentage of ED sufferers is quite high within the British Asian community
Erectile Dysfunction is the term associated with a man who finds it difficult to get an erection or sustain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. It is also known as Impotence.
The function is associated with ample blood flow into the penis to induce an erection when a man is aroused. When this flow is inhibited due to some reason, the penis finds it difficult to pronounce an erection. Levels of the hormone testosterone also play a role.
Most men experience erectile difficulties at some point in their lives, but this is different from Erectile Dysfunction. It is a common issue that occurs in men over the age of 40-45 however, it can occur in men as young as 20 depending on their circumstances.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED), is a subject that many Asian men of South Asian roots would prefer to ignore, not discuss with their partner or even seek treatment for.
The percentage of ED sufferers is quite high within the British Asian community and many men suffer in silence without seeking the right kind of assistance. Embarrassment and reluctance to let anyone know about the problem is often the reason.
Sexual matters are seldom discussed openly within Asian relationships which leads to sexual tension in the bedroom. When a man does not discuss the issue, his partner finds it very difficult to engage in conversation on the matter in case of a backlash of emotion or anger or even the partner losing further confidence.
Its important to understand some of the common causes for the problem with having an erection.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction can be lifestyle, physical, psychological, hormonal, anatomical and vascular.
These include the following:
- Excessive Alcohol – Asian men are known for alcohol overconsumption. Excess alcohol expands the blood vessels allowing for more blood flow in the penis, but prevents them from closing. As a result, the penis may become erect but not remain so, as there is nothing to prevent backflow.
- Smoking – Asian men who smoke can impact their erection. Men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily have a 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction, compared to non-smokers.
- Diabetes – a common disease within the Asian community. It is a condition that is caused by too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. This can affect both the blood supply and the nerve endings into the penis.
- Cardiovascular Disease – Another disease which is high within the Asian community. Commonly called Heart disease.
- High Blood Pressure – Asian lifestyle has a history of being stressful and high blood pressue is caused by hypertension.
- Peyronie’s Disease – which affects the tissue of the penis including pain in the shaft of the penis and abnormal angulation of the penis (‘bent’ penis).
- Hypogonadism – a condition that affects the production of the male sex hormone, testosterone, leading to abnormally low levels.
- Depression and Anxiety – feelings of extreme sadness that last for a long time and feelings of unease, such as worry or fear.
- Low Sexual Confidence – where the man has performance anxiety, lacks self-esteem and finds it difficult to develop an erection in the company of a woman. Can happen in a new relationship
In addition to these there are other factors that can lead to sexual dysfunction in an Asian man. These can be obesity, over-working and tiredness, using illegal drugs such as cannabis, relationship problems, previous sexual abuse and past sexual problems.
Sexual performance for an Asian man is a major aspect of their masculinity and not being able to have an erection can damage him considerably. As often this can lead to further psychological issues, especially, if in company of a non-understanding partner who may even ridicule him.
With psychiatric illness already associated with stigma in British Asian communities, patients are unlikely to freely admit to sexual dysfunction as well, in a community in which male virility and fertility among males and females is seen as culturally desirable.
The understanding a loving partner is also paramount. Any support given to an Asian man suffering with problem is a major step in the right direction. Even taking basic steps to acknowledge the problem within a relationship is a major start to getting help.
Today, help with this problem is far more easier to receive than in the past. In order to get help, communication of the problem is very important and it can be discreet and confidential with medical professionals.
Erectile Dysfunction can be treated in a number of ways by medical professionals depending on the diagnosis. These include the following:
- Oral Medication – a very popular treatment of ED known called PDE-5 inhibitors. These are tablets known as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil).
- Vacuum Pump – this is a pump connected to clear plastic tube which is either hand or battery operated. The penis is placed in the tube and the air is then pumped out creating a vacuum that causes the blood to fill the penis, making it erect. A rubber ring around the base of the penis to keep it erect.
- Penile Implants – a type of surgery which can be semi-rigid implants (usually suitable for older men who do not have sex regularly) and inflatable implants which reside inside the penis that can be inflated to give a more natural erection.
- Alprostadil – this treatment is administered into the penis in two ways. Either as an injection directly into the penis or a small pellet placed inside the urethra, which provides an erection.
- Hormone Therapy – Many hormonal conditions causing ED can be treated using injections of synthetic (man-made) hormones to restore normal hormone levels, such as testosterone.
- Psychosexual Counselling – a form of relationship therapy both partners can discuss any sexual or emotional issues that may be contributing to the man’s ED. By talking about the issues, it may be able to reduce any anxiety to overcome ED.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises – involve strengthening and training a group of muscles around the underside of the bladder and rectum, as well as at the base of the penis. By strengthening and training these muscles, symptoms of ED may be reduced.
If the Erectile Dysfunction is caused by an underlying health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, then that condition may need to be treated first before treatment for ED can begin. In some cases, treating the underlying cause may also resolve the problem of ED.
There are some society issues arisen out of the ED treatments, especially, the oral tablets such as Viagra. There has been a rise in drugs being manufactured to compete with the original Viagra. Especially by companies in India. including herbal approaches to the treatment. Therefore, verifying the effectiveness of such drugs before taking them is important.
Only take medically approved drugs not those without prescription from the Internet. Also, young men who take erectile dysfunction drugs for fun or to give them ‘instant erections’ may be putting the future of their sex lives at risk.
As shown, Erectile Dysfunction is no longer a problem an Asian man has to live with and not get help for. Treatments are readily available and by taking the step to obtain them, can help Asian men restore their sexual function.
Asian women may find it very difficult to discuss the issue directly, therefore, pointing the male partner in the direction of information such as this can be helpful. Telling the man he is not alone with this problem can be comforting and showing acceptance that ‘these things happen’ can be encouraging for the man.
Any Asian man suffering with Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence should simply go see his doctor and confidentially get a suitable treatment that should help him re-engage into a fully satisfying sex life.