Home » Erectile dysfunction: risk factors, lifestyle changes and medication

Erectile dysfunction: risk factors, lifestyle changes and medication

erectile dysfunction

Hey guys, we know this is a topic you wished you didn’t have to read about or even admit to be facing but one thing you should know before we go on is…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Erectile dysfunction is quite common.

Another thing you should know is THERE IS A WAY OUT, with the proper lifestyle changes, counseling and in some cases medication, your little problem will no more be a problem you can’t handle.

Erectile dysfunction (aka impotence) is the inability to get or sustain an erection during sexual activity

Well there are a couple of factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction such as               

  • Chronic illness (like diabetes, cancer, hypertension…)
  • Age (your man power reduces as you age, it’s normal),               
  • Stress and anxiety (let’s admit it, we live in a quite busy world with lots of pressure),               
  • Relationship problems (even your lil man knows when things not working right with your partner),               
  • Some medication like opiates               
  • Use of drugs (like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, tobacco…)               
  • Surgery                
  • Overweight 

Your treatment plan will depend on the root cause of the problem. Make sure you tell your doctor all the medications you take, any chronic illness and also changes in your routine lately. For mild cases you may just counseling and advised on some lifestyle changes like:               

  • Lose weight               
  • Stop drugs (tobacco…)               
  • Cut down on the alcohol               
  • Reduce stress (at work, home etc)               
  • Exercise regularly               
  • Eat balanced diets               
  • Solve the relationship problems

When the above do not seem to be enough to solve the problem, your doctor may now place you on some medication that would help ease the blood flow to your little (or not so little) man that will make getting and sustaining an erection easier.

The most common you can find (and a few brand names) are:               

  • Sildenafil : this has stayed longest in the market . Onset of action (the time it takes to start working) is 30-60mins and effects lasts 4-5hours. It is best (most effective) taken on an empty stomach an hour before sexual activity. It comes in 3 different strengths…25mg, 50mg, 100mg and usually packaged as 4 tablets. Some common brand names include: Viagra, Erector, Kamagra, Plasir, Silagra, Rigide, Cupid, Canova…               
  • Tadalafil: Can be taken with or without food an hour or 2 before sexual activity.  Onset of action is 30-45mins and its effects can last…wait for it…24-36hours (WOW) that means if you intend going many rounds in one day, this would be your best option. It comes in 4 different strengths…2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg. It can be taken as daily low dose tablets or one large dose. Common brand names: Megalis, Exilar, Erectad               
  • Vardenafil: the most expensive of all. Best taken on an empty stomach an hour before sexual activity. Like sildenafil, it’s onset of action is 30-60mins and effects lasts 4-5hours. It also comes in 4 different strengths…2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg. Brand name: Levitra

DO NOT take more than one dose of any of these medicines in 24hours. 

Big DISCLAIMER: these medications are not on and off switches that once you pop on tablet and boom your little man is ready for battle. You will still need sexual arousal for it to be erect.

No. It is not advised to take these medicines if               

  • You are some certain kinds of medications for the heart e.g. nitrates               
  • You have very low blood pressure or uncontrolled hypertension               
  • You are on dialysis               
  • You have liver disease.

The most common and easy to manage are               

  • Headaches               
  • Flushing of the skin (feelings of warmth and rapid reddening of your neck, upper chest, or face)
  • Stomach upset               
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness               
  • Nasal congestion               
  • rash

However if you experience               

  • Hearing or vision loss or               
  • An erection that won’t go down after 4 hours

Seek immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage 

Final tip: talk it out with your sexual partner what you are going through. They might be feeling the reason you can’t have an erection is because you no longer find them desirable (trust me, you do not want them feeling that way) and who knows, they might help you relieve some of the stress you might be experiencing or help you quit the drugs.

Story for another day. One quick advise: do not take herbal and synthetic drugs at same time, you might experience an overdose. 

Remember to ALWAYS READ DRUG LABELS BEFORE TAKING YOUR MEDICINE, it is your best bet to making sure you are taking your medicines safely.

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Ekwoge Hilda

Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.

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