The statistics regarding erectile dysfunction are varied, likely because many men don’t want to admit they experience it. However, there’s nothing unusual about ED. Most men struggle to perform sexually at some point in their lives, and your chances of developing erectile dysfunction increase as you get older.
At her practice in Columbia, Missouri, Dr. Bonnie Friehling takes a holistic, whole-body health approach to erectile dysfunction, helping men work through their feelings and anxiety about their ED with compassion.
An overview of erectile dysfunction
Most people have a general idea of what happens during an erection, but understanding ED requires a bit of an anatomy lesson. Along the length of the penis are two cylinders composed of spongy tissue, which fill with blood when you’re aroused. This is what keeps you firm during sexual activity.
However, the penis filling with blood is just one part of the arousal process. Your brain, nerves, blood vessels, hormones, and muscles are also responsible for triggering erections. Anywhere along the way, something can go wrong and prevent you from getting hard.
Erectile dysfunction can result from:
- Scar tissue inside the penis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Low testosterone
- Performance anxiety
- A history of sexual abuse
- Relationship issues
Regardless of what’s causing your ED, the results are often the same: a loss of sexual enjoyment, strained relationships, and a serious mental impact.
The mental impact of ED
The mental toll of erectile dysfunction depends on a number of factors: relationship status, mental health, self-image, etc. One man might not find the problem too embarrassing, while another might be so embarrassed he can’t seek help.
Feelings of shame, grief, self-loathing, and even misdirected anger are common among men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. This feeds the problem since depression and anxiety can make ED worse.
Loneliness is often considered the worst side effect of erectile dysfunction. Those in relationships might feel judged or humiliated by their partners, while single men often feel too afraid to put themselves out there. Over time, this feeling of isolation can lead to a strain on your relationships, issues with intimacy, and depression.
Looking forward to the future
It can be difficult to admit you suffer from erectile dysfunction, but talking about it is the first step to finding support. If you feel alone in your experiences, seeking out other men who experience ED can help you feel less isolated and ashamed. This might give you the confidence to bring it up to your partner or doctor.
If you’re in a relationship, there’s a good chance that your partner is devoted to you, not your sex life. Talking openly about problems in the bedroom can help reduce performance anxiety and shame, and help you have a more fulfilling relationship.
It can take time to determine the potential cause of your erectile dysfunction, and some cases don’t have a clear root at all. That’s why Dr. Friehling and her team work directly with you to narrow down potential causes, improve your lifestyle, and provide effective ED treatments.
To learn more about ED and your treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Friehling. You can get in touch by calling 573-446-1200, or visit the contact page for more information.