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    The difference between erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation

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      One of our resident Doctors, Dr Minal Bakhai, is answering a regular question and answer with our patients. You can log in to your Patient Record if you would like to ask one of our clinicians a question about your treatment.

      Premature ejaculation

      Premature ejaculation (PE) is when ejaculation happens quicker than a man or his partner would like during sex.  There are two types of PE – Primary (that is lifelong PE) and Secondary (when you develop this sometime after you first become sexually active).

      Primary PE can have both psychological and physical causes, or it can be genetic.  Secondary PE is acquired later in life and can come on gradually or suddenly.  Occasional episodes of PE are common, but it can be frustrating if it happens more regularly, making sex less enjoyable and impacting relationships.

      Premature ejaculation symptoms

      You will know if you have PE when ejaculation occurs almost always within a minute of penetration. It may be up to three minutes if it is a new problem which you have not previously experienced. The issue may occur in all sexual situations including masturbation.

      Psychological causes of premature ejaculation

      Men with PE can often suffer from anxiety or depression, which directly affects their sexual performance. It is also worth considering if any relationship problems between you and your partner may be contributing to the problem. In some cases, PE can have psychological triggers such as a traumatic sexual experience. performance anxiety can sometimes make the issue worse.

      Physical causes of premature ejaculation

      There are a number of biological factors that may contribute to premature ejaculation including abnormal hormone levels, diabetes, infection of the prostrate or urethra, high blood pressure, an under or over-active thyroid, erectile dysfunction, and over-use of alcohol and recreational drugs. If you are worried about the underlying cause of your PE, we would recommend having this investigated by your GP.

      How to treat premature ejaculation

      There are several different types of treatment for PE, ranging from counselling to prescription medication such as Priligy. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) delay ejaculation, but are primarily used to treat depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are primarily used to treat depression can also delay ejaculation

      If you have found yourself ejaculating too quickly during sex and would like to change this, then it is probably a good idea to think about what might be causing the problem.

      Currently no medication provides a permanent solution for PE, however using it in combination with behavioural techniques and counselling may help to provide a longer-term solution. Behavioural techniques allow you to train your body to resist ejaculation. The medical treatments that can be used alongside behavioural techniques are either a local anaesthetic cream to numb the penis, allowing you to last longer during sex or a tablet that delays your ejaculation e.g. ‘Priligy’.

      It is recommended to seek counselling to address any psychological causes. If you are suffering from PE and unsure about how to proceed, it is best to talk to a trained medical professional about it, whether it is your GP, a counsellor or one of our doctors via our online service.

      Erectile dysfunction

      Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a condition where it is hard to get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sex.

      Most men have erection problems from time to time but for some these problems are regular and more severe.

      While ED becomes more common as men increase in age, growing old is not the lone cause of the problem. ED can be an early sign of a more serious health problem. Finding and treating the cause(s) of your ED can improve your overall health and well-being. There can be several factors contributing to ED, including health or emotional problems, or a mixture of both.

      Erectile dysfunction symptoms

      Erectile dysfunction symptoms include having trouble getting or keeping an erection and sometimes reduced sexual desire.

      Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

      Sometimes erection problems are not caused by a physical symptom, but rather by stress, performance anxiety, or other underlying psychological condition. In these cases, it is common to undergo counselling in order to address the underlying issue. This may be combined with a medical regime that addresses the problem in the short-term. Once the counselling has resolved the issue, medical treatment can be stopped.

      Physical causes of erectile dysfunction

      Reduced blood flow or harm to nerves in the penis can result in erection problems. These can be caused by heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, surgery, injuries and even smoking. Some medicine, as well as alcohol or other drugs may also cause erection problems. Emotional or relationship problems can cause or worsen ED as well.

      How to treat erectile dysfunction

      ‘PDE-5 inhibitors’ have been created which help treat ED. Possible options are:

      • Sildenafil
      • Viagra (the brand of Sildenafil)
      • Tadalafil
      • Cialis (the brand version of Tadalafil)
      • Levitra
      • Spedra
      • Vitaros cream

      Vacuum pumps are a possible alternative. It is placed over the penis and then a bulb is gently squeezed to remove air from the pump. This gently draws blood into the erectile tissue to create an erection. These treatments usually help with the ED, but further investigation is needed to rule out treatable underlying causes.

      At LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor we have a discreet online clinic for erectile dysfunction run by our team of GPs. Visit our ED clinic today and find out if prescription treatments could work for you.

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