• Men Sexual Health

Erectile Dysfunction coping strategies

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Coping strategies for ED ( Impotence)

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance (impotence). It is far more common than people realise; as you read this, several million men in the UK are suffering from ED. Prevalence increases with age, sufferers and their partners experience a reduced quality of life and it often presents with other emotional and physical symptoms.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available. However, it is important for patients to be properly assessed to ascertain whether the root cause is medical (disease or medication-related), psychosocial or a combination of factors.


Most people have heard of the prescription drug “little blue pill” Viagra, which increases penile blood flow and can be taken 1-4 hours before sexual activity.

New research in 2017 has shown that regular nightly treatment with Viagra restored normal erection function even after treatment stopped, effectively curing ED. Other innovative developments include the application of low-intensity shockwave therapy, nanotechnology, stem cell tissue engineering, penile vibrators and endovascular tools. Although ED research is advancing at an exciting rate, the biggest barrier to treatment today is men not going to their GP for an official diagnosis, or not following through with treatment after diagnosis (this is a global problem, not just across the UK).

Mental coping strategies

It is easy for ED to become a vicious circle of worry – the more you stress, the more likely you are to have erection problems. Mental coping strategies that work for ED patients include communicating openly with your partner and partaking in relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness or yoga). You may not be entirely comfortable with this approach, but you can practice it alone – there are plenty of free guides online! If there is a more traumatic cause behind your ED, counselling may help.

Erection problems are nothing to be ashamed of – sexual wellbeing is a vital aspect of your overall health. Doctors understand men’s reluctance to discuss any sexual concerns but they have honestly heard it many times before. You can always request to see a doctor of the gender you feel most comfortable with or one who specializes in this field.

Physical Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

There are several other physical symptoms that are potentially linked with ED, that can appear before or after the onset of ED for instance:

-Cardiovascular disease


-Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Lifestyle Changes

The following lifestyle changes can also help with Erectile Dysfunction alone or in combination with medication:

-Reducing stress/anxiety

-Stopping smoking

-Limiting alcohol consumption and recreational drug use

-Exercising daily; If you’re a keen cyclist (more than 3 hours/week), stopping cycling for a while can help.

-Losing weight if overweight and eating a healthy diet

Therapeutic options for Erectile Dysfunction

Other therapeutic options include topical creams, non-invasive vacuum devices that physically increase penile blood flow, intrapenile injections and surgical implants.In summary, ED is a common but treatable condition. The most important aspect is talking to your doctor and undergoing a thorough medical examination to establish the root cause and check for any other underlying conditions. Have patience and things will start to look up!

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