What you need to know about erectile problems
— The first time you experience the symptoms of erectile disorder, you can feel like you’ve been pushed down a rabbit hole, according to a new study.
In an effort to understand the complex and often misunderstood causes of erectility disorder, a new research team has taken a closer look at what factors may contribute to erectile difficulties.
Researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine and the University at Albany have been studying the physiology and behavior of erections and their effect on men for the past 15 years.
In that time, they have identified more than 1,000 symptoms of the condition, including anxiety, fatigue, erectile troubles, depression, and other mental health issues.
“There’s a lot of variation in the signs and symptoms, so we wanted to get a more accurate picture of the disease,” said lead study author Dr. Scott Siegel, MD, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University Health Network.
“That’s what we did.”
For this study, published online in the journal Current Sexual Health, the team studied the relationship between the severity of the symptoms and the extent to which men have difficulty reaching orgasm.
The study was based on data from nearly 7,000 men between the ages of 20 and 70.
The researchers were able to pinpoint the types of erector problems they identified as the first sign of ED, as well as the degree to which these problems were associated with other medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and psychiatric disorders.
The findings of the study could help doctors develop treatment strategies to help men avoid erectile disfunction.
“Erectile dysfunction is a major medical problem, and it’s also a real problem that affects a lot more men than women,” Siegel said.
“We don’t know if we can treat it with any one medication or by any one therapy, so our goal is to understand what works best for these men.”
Researchers used a computerized assessment system to determine the severity and frequency of each of the men’s symptoms.
The men who were diagnosed with ED were assessed in five ways: the severity, frequency, frequency of erective dysfunction, the severity by association with other health conditions, and the association with psychological distress.
The results showed that erectile disorders were not the sole or even the most common cause of erect dysfunction.
The majority of men reported that they experienced erectile symptoms, but more than a third of the people with erectile-related problems also had depression, anxiety, anger, and mood disorders.
Siegel said the findings highlight the need for better communication between doctors and the men who seek treatment.
“I think it’s important to understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and that the diagnosis of erectors is not a diagnosis of the person,” he said.
“The first time I had my first erection, I had anxiety and depression,” said one of the subjects in the study, who has not yet been identified.
“And the first time my wife or husband had sex with me, I felt bad for her.
I didn’t think it was real.”
Dr. Scott, who is the senior author on the study and was not involved in the work, said the new findings should help doctors improve their understanding of the causes of ED and other health problems.
“Understanding the relationship among the patient’s disease history, family history, and medications is important in treating erectors,” he told TIME.
“But we also need to understand how erectile function is related to other disorders and to general health.”
In addition to understanding the causes, the study also addressed the possibility that ED could be caused by other mental or emotional problems.
Sue Gervais, a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Emory University School of Nursing and an assistant professor at the Yale School of Psychiatry, said that, unlike ED, it is often hard to pinpoint what may be causing erectile pain and distress.
“Some of these problems may be caused not by the disease itself, but by the person with the disorder,” she said.
In the current study, the researchers also looked at whether men who reported having erectile issues also had anxiety, depression and other mood disorders that could contribute to their erectile complaints.
Snyder, the senior authors, said it is possible that men who experience erectile difficulty have a combination of these health conditions.
“We know that mood disorders are associated with erecting problems,” he added.
“When a person has depression, they may have erectile dysfunctions that are not related to depression.
And when a person develops anxiety, anxiety disorders can contribute to ED.”
Siegel noted that there is a growing body of research showing that men with depression are more likely to have erections.
In addition, the current findings also highlight the importance of communication.
“It’s important that men understand that this is not the only cause of ED,” he explained.
“There are other