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Apr 22, 2008

Not just the plumbing



Erectile dysfunction should not be seen as just a ‘masculinity’ issue.

LOVE makes the world go round. That’s the premise of a famous saying and there is no doubt that many people see love as the most important emotion in the world.

However, while love may be of paramount importance, sex seems to be equally crucial. Australian sex therapist and relationship counsellor Dr Rosie King said: “Sex is both the glue and lubricant of relationships, helping couples to bond and weather the rough patches in life.”

Consultant urologist Dr Peter Ng believes that ED should not solely be seen as a quality of life issue. There may be other health implications.

That it is important is apparent by the results of the Pfizer Global Better Sex Survey which indicated that 93% of men and 83% of women globally believe that sex is important to sustaining a fulfilling relationship. With so much emphasis on the importance of sex, what happens when a man’s “plumbing” is on the blink and puts him out of business between the sheets?

We know that the majority of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) tend to suffer from confidence and self-esteem issues while also believing that their lack of virility has made them less of a man.

There are a host of other consequences too, but the good news is that if they decide to seek treatment, a lot can be done to restore their “masculinity”. Indeed, both patients with ED and physicians rank erection hardness as one of the most desirable outcomes of ED treatment.

Men who have made the decision to seek treatment for ED are more than likely to have their erection hardness measured in accordance with the Erection Hardness Score (EHS), a simple, brief and quantitative self-reported measure of grading erection hardness on a 4-point scoring system.

Grade 1 covers larger but not hard erections while Grade 2 erections are hard but not hard enough for penetration. Grade 3 erections translate into a penis that is hard enough for penetration but is not completely hard while Grade 4 is the measure of a completely hard and fully rigid penis. The ultimate goal and fantasy of men would be a Grade 4 erection.

The EHS tool has helped to simplify ED management while enabling clinicians to develop and monitor individualised treatment plans aimed at achieving a patient’s full erectile potential.

A key goal of therapy is to monitor and treat men with ED to their optimal erection hardness. Grade 4 erections are, naturally, a goal of ED therapy but for men with ED, a shift from Grade 1 to Grade 3 erections are a significant improvement in sexual intercourse success.

There is a lot to celebrate for men who make it all the way to the hard end of the scale. Studies show that post-treatment men with ED who have shifted from Grade 3 to Grade 4 erections reported that they were more sexually satisfied, confident and had higher levels of self-esteem because of their harder erections.

Indeed, as erection hardness improves, other aspects of the overall sexual experience also improve, resulting in a better sex life.

While there is a lot to be achieved from seeking treatment for ED, many men remain undiagnosed and untreated. This is because many people still see ED as a quality of life issue – something that is of low priority when compared to life-or-death medical conditions. They argue that ED is of no consequence as one does not have to worry about heading for an early grave.

Consultant urologist Dr Peter Ng believes that ED should not solely be seen as a quality of life issue. “One of the causes of ED is vascular, where the blood supply to the penis is compromised and slows down to a trickle due to the progressive laying down of fat in the lining of the arteries.

“Because of this, men with high blood pressure and strokes almost always have ED. Indeed, while chest pains used to be the earliest symptom of heart disease, today it is ED.

“ED has become a life and death issue as ED patients must be screened for heart disease,” he said.

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3 comments:

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