"one should not be embarrassed and must consult the doctor"
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not a widely-discussed concept in India, and is somewhat of a taboo subject.
But a person’s sexual health is just as important as their physical and mental health.
However, most see erectile dysfunction as a direct link to a lack of sexual prowess.
As a result, many Indian men are reluctant to seek help.
According to research, around 30% of men below the age of 40, and 20% across all age groups, experience difficulties in either getting or maintaining an erection.
As well as this, other symptoms of ED include reduced sexual desire or premature ejaculation.
According to Dr Gautam Banga, consultant and andrologist at New Delhi’s Sunrise Hospital, erectile dysfunction is a taboo in India because it is regarded as a sexual incompetence, rather than a medical disorder.
In a conversation with Indian Express, Dr Banga said:
“It does not happen because the man is not interested in or is incapable of having sex, but there are medical reasons like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and ischemic heart disease (IHD), depression etc., that leads to ED.”
While discussing the common symptoms of ED, Dr Banga also said:
“These symptoms can also be a sign of an underlying health condition.
“So, one should not be embarrassed and must consult the doctor as treating the underlying condition is sufficient to reverse ED.”
Erectile Dysfunction and Relationships
Erectile dysfunction can result in a lack of self-esteem among many Indian men.
The psychological impact of suffering from erectile dysfunction can lead to many problems in relationships.
So, most Indian men will not want to admit to their issue. They may also expect their partner to accept them the way they are with very little or no discussion.
In India, many men not being able to perform sexually can be hugely embarrassing for a man because of an ‘alpha male’ outlook.
So, to avoid mockery and ridicule, anything sexual that Indians do not consider ordinary is kept secret.
Erectile dysfunction is a silent affliction that continues to sweep Indian relationships, especially marriages, and is a root cause of anxiety for many Indian men.
In addition to this, due to becoming more open about their sexual wants and needs, Indian women may not be the most sympathetic when it comes to a man’s erectile dysfunction.
A lack of education from women on how to provide support for their men with this problem is often the culprit.
However, with sexual awareness increasing in India for women, clinics across India are seeing some increase in wives who are bringing their men for professional help.
Therefore, connecting the need to support their men as a woman which in return will help their partner be better in bed is gradually being realised.
Either way, seeking medical help albeit very cautiously is an option more Indian men need to take, rather than suffer in silence or a relationship affected by the mn’s ED.
There are both natural and scientific ways to treat erectile dysfunction.
According to Dr Banga, erectile dysfunction can limit daily life and contribute to low self-esteem. It can also affect intimacy and personal relationships.
However, this is all preventable.
Dr Banga said:
“The good news, however, is that it can be treated with medications or with penile prosthesis, and the treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition.
“Quite often, oral medications may be the only treatment required and men can resume normal sexual life.
“If a patient does not respond to oral medications, penile prosthesis (implants) is a viable and long-term option, especially in severe cases.
“While least-chosen, it is important to know penile implants are easy to use and men report a high satisfaction rate.
“Speaking to an andrologist or urologist is the best option, as they can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment.”
Dr Banga has also noticed that when it comes to ED, people take matters into their own hands rather than consulting a professional.
“People shy away from consulting an expert and instead opt for products like supplements, creams etc. Available in the market. But, it may not be safe.
“Before using any such products, check with your doctor, especially if you have chronic health conditions.”
As well as the use of medication and implants, simple lifestyle changes can prevent erectile dysfunction.
Natural preventions include exercising regularly and controlling the amount of alcohol you consume.
Excessive smoking can also be a large contributor to erectile dysfunction, and should therefore be controlled.
Erectile dysfunction can also lead to stress, anxiety and depression. So, it is best to consult a psychologist or counsellor if you have feelings relating to any of these conditions.
When Indian men take matters into their own hands, it is easy for them to be misinformed by the internet and quick fixes.
Therefore, professional help is crucial for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.