Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Erectile dysfunction: Every man's nightmare

07 Sep 2014 at 08:09hrs | Views
At least 80 percent of men in Zimbabwe have suffered from erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives, and over 60 percent of them presently face the problem fairly often.

The Men's Clinic says the prevalence of ED in Zimbabwe is estimated at 60 percent although the majority of men suffering from this are uncomfortable to disclose their problem.

ED refers to a man's inability to sustain an erection which is sufficient for normal sex.

In Zimbabwe the condition is widely associated with "witchcraft" and "curses", with many people seeking traditional healing when experiencing ED.

But, what really causes ED?

Health experts have highlighted a number of factors causing ED, among them are drugs and treatment for specific diseases, uncontrolled sugar levels and certain medical conditions.

Chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Diabetic Association, Mr Ngoni Chingwana, says that uncontrolled sugar levels can destroy fine nerves and capillaries.

The nervous system is essential during sex as it enables the muscles, fibrous tissues, veins and arteries to respond to impulses from the brain, spine and penis.

"Blood that is heavy with sugar over a long period of time can destroy fine nerves and capillaries, the condition can make an erection difficult to achieve," Mr Chingwana said.

He said uncontrolled sugar levels can reduce the patient's sensitivity which results in a low sex drive.

According to the National Institute of Health Researches in Zimbabwe, between 20 percent and 75 percent of men with diabetes experience ED.

It indicates that being diabetic doubles the risk of having the problem.

Information from the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) shows that drugs or treatment for specific diseases are contributory factors.

According to the MoHCC's Family Health department, "Diseases that require treatment which affects the nervous system and hormonal balancing can also cause ED. For instance prostate cancer which can be treated by either radiotherapy or chemotherapy and that affects the nervous system.

"Tuberculosis and antiretroviral drugs can also expose males at a higher risk of having EDs as they also affect the nervous system."

A local general practitioner who preferred anonymity for professional reasons said kidney diseases can also lead to erectile problems.

"Some kidney diseases can result in chemical changes in the body that causes unbalancing of hormones, circulation and nerve function," said the doctor. "Such diseases can also lead to low sex drive and significantly deceased sex life. It is estimated that over 50 percent of men with kidney ailments suffer from ED."

Reports from the Epilepsy Hope Foundation suggest that epilepsy drugs cause low sex drive among some users, while boosting the drive in others.

National Foundation for Scientific Disabilities executive director Mr Victor Mugwagwa said ED can be attributed to physical and non-physical causes.

"Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Therefore, it can be affected by heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity among others," said Mr Mugwagwa

He said physical factors may combine with non-physical factors to create psychological problems resulting in ED.

"Some individuals have a tendency of abusing substances such as tobacco and alcohol and this may lead to . . . ED," added Mr Mugwagwa.

"Stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction."

He said the brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical processes that cause an erection and if it is compromised, ED may occur.

"Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety may compromise the functioning of the brain and thus result in a male failing to get erect before intercourse."

Globally, cardiovascular diseases account for at least 70 percent of physically-related causes of ED because they restrict blood flow to the heart, brain and the male reproductive organ.

It is estimated that at least 52 percent of men globally have suffered from ED and pre-ejaculation problems.

ED can be temporary or permanent depending on the causes.

Source - Sunday Mail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
More on: #Sex