In conjunction with World Sexual Health Day (4 Sep 2020), the departments of Psychiatry and Urology from Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, help dispel common myths about male ageing and sexual health.
Top 5 myths on male ageing and sexual health
Myth 1: Is something wrong with me as my friends don't seem to have complaints about their erections?
Fact: Every man’s erection becomes weaker with age. However, men with medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol may experience erectile dysfunction earlier in their lives.
Myth 2: A short penis is not good for sex.
Fact: Many men have this misconception that good sex requires a long penis. Procedures to lengthen the penis are merely cosmetic and do not enhance erection. In fact, they may even impair erections in some cases!
Myth 3: Is not being able to have multiple erections a problem?
Fact: Most men do not have multiple erections. After ejaculation, the penis will have a refractory period whereby it cannot become erect.
Myth 4: Using erection drugs will improve my sex life.
Fact: Erection drugs do not increase sex drive. They increase blood flow in the penis, allowing erections to be stronger and more rigid.
Myth 5: It is possible to die from taking erection drugs.
Fact: Deaths from erection drugs are very rare and they happen when the drugs are taken without medical supervision. Victims may also have underlying medical conditions like heart problems. When taken properly under medical supervision, erection drugs are actually very safe.
Treatment for erectile dysfunction
The most common treatment for erectile dysfunction is taking drugs such as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis under medical supervision. The most drastic treatment is a surgical procedure which involves inserting a penile implant.
Reduced libido caused by a lack of testosterone can be confirmed with a blood test and treated with testosterone supplements. The treatment can be given in an oral form or via a series of injections, with regular follow-ups to ensure that the patient’s testosterone is replaced adequately and safely.
Prevention is better than treatment
That is why it is important to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle – physically, emotionally and financially – as it is the first step towards graceful ageing and a healthy sex life.
If you have any chronic medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and depression, they need to be managed well so as to prevent long-term complications.
Experts warn against drug and alcohol abuse as these have a toxic effect on the nervous system, damaging nerves that are critical to sexual desire. Smoking causes early atherosclerosis (which leads to premature erectile dysfunction and is also associated with heart attacks, strokes and many cancers) and should be avoided.
Exercising regularly will also help improve your self image (which increases desire and boosts sexual hormones) and promote healthy blood vessels (which means delaying the onset of erectile dysfunction).
On the emotional front, focus on relationships with important people in your life and let go of past grievances. Also, be mentally and financially prepared for retirement. If one enters the golden years possessing financial stability, companionship and meaningful hobbies, one will be well equipped to lead a more fulfilling life in the later years.
Articles on HealthXchange.sg are meant for informational purposes only and cannot replace professional surgical, medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Photo courtesy of iStock.