Key facts on erectile dysfunction
Many men have questions about erectile dysfunction (ED), whether they are seeking more information, or would like to know the truth behind some of the ED myths floating around the web. Our team of clinicians has experience working in the NHS, in GP surgeries and hospitals. Here are some of the questions that they're are often asked about ED:
1. Does Viagra affect fertility?
There have been some reports by the media and in the medical press that Viagra can cause sperm damage, but these are exceedingly rare. Equally, clinical studies have found the active ingredient in Viagra (sildenafil) to have no adverse effect on sperm.
Viagra will improve your ability to get and maintain an erection, and therefore improve your sex life and the chances of you getting your partner pregnant. It won't increase your sex drive. Similarly, Viagra will only be effective if you go through the process of sexual arousal, and will not generate an erection automatically.
2. Can I take Viagra if I have diabetes or cardiovascular diseases?
Yes. Living with from diabetes and cardiovascular disease can mean that erectile dysfunction is more common. Anti-impotence drugs such as Viagra can usually be used in these situations, but will be most effective if your condition is well controlled. You’ll also need to check that you’re not on any medicines that can interact with Viagra and other similar drugs.
When you request ED medicine via Online Doctor, the questionnaire we ask you to complete will ask about your medical history, including instances of heart disease and diabetes.
3. Is erectile dysfunction a natural part of the ageing process?
Erectile dysfunction tends to be more common in men over the age of 40. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity are common causes for erectile dysfunction and tend to be more common in men of this age. However, ED is not just an 'older man's problem' and can affect men as young as 18.
4. Can tiredness cause erectile dysfunction?
Your sex drive (libido) and ability to get an erection will be affected by being too tired, making it more difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. A lack of fitness, alcohol and drug consumption can also increase your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
5. Does excessive masturbation cause erectile dysfunction?
It depends what your definition of ‘excessive’ is. If you’re masturbating several times in an hour, then you may well get some problems getting an erection, from sheer exhaustion if nothing else. If, however, you’re only masturbating once or twice a day, then this is quite normal, and is highly unlikely to be a cause of erectile dysfunction.
6. Do tight jeans and underwear lead to erectile dysfunction?
Not in the short term, no. Long-term compression of the testicles can lead to impaired fertility. Give yourself a rest every now and again with looser fitting trousers and underwear.
7. Do I have erectile dysfunction because I’m not attracted to my partner anymore?
Erectile dysfunction can be a result of not being attracted to your partner anymore. Even with medication, sexual attraction and arousal is generally required to achieve an erection and maintain it for sex.
However, it is important to realise that there are many possible causes of erectile dysfunction besides this. These can include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. If you think these may be factors in your experience, we advise you to see your GP to have a health check.
8. Can using a bad saddle on a bicycle cause erectile dysfunction?
Yes, excessive cycling can cause erectile dysfunction, although it doesn't always. This is due to pressure on the nerves at the base of the penis (the perineum). Use a good saddle suited to your riding style – some bike shops will let you try saddles out for a week or so. Alternate sitting in the saddle with standing to relieve pressure intermittently too.
If you experience numbness or discomfort during or after your ride, it’s worth speaking to your GP.
For more information about treatments, visit our ED clinic.