Common Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction

There are some medical conditions that people just don’t want to talk about, and erectile dysfunction (ED) is most definitely one of them. While most men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their life, it isn’t necessarily a long-term issue. However, depending on your age and the cause of the problem, it may be wise to seek medical advice, as it might resolve itself as quickly and unexpectedly as it arose. Here, we take a look at the most common causes of erectile dysfunction – and what you can do.

1. Erectile Dysfunction and Medication

Most medications have side effects, and erectile dysfunction is a common one. If you find yourself experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is a good idea to look at any prescription and over the counter drugs that you are taking and check the list of common and uncommon side effects. Drugs that list erectile dysfunction as a common side effect include: diuretics, some hair loss treatments, some antifungals, beta blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, opiate analgesics (painkillers such as codeine and fentanyl), and chemotherapy drugs. If you experience erectile dysfunction as a side effect of medication, consult your doctor before ceasing to take any medication. Additionally, if you contact a doctor about treatment for erectile dysfunction, make sure that you let them know about any other medication you are taking.

2. Erectile Dysfunction, Steroids and Recreational Drugs

It’s not just medicinal drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction, recreational drugs and steroids can, too. Steroids taken to promote muscle growth can impact the body’s normal testosterone control, which can, over time, cause erectile dysfunction. In addition, recreational drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, opiates, marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates and cocaine are all known to contribute to the condition; in some cases, the use of some illegal drugs is thought to cause erectile dysfunction long-term.When it comes to illegal drugs, smoking, or excessive alcohol intake, it’s simple: don’t do it. If you suffer from substance addiction, speak to your doctor about the support options available.

3. Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

One study of nearly 8,000 men showed that more than half of men with diabetes who were aged between 50 and 55 experienced erectile dysfunction. Diabetes results in vascular issues, therefore it is unsurprising that it can lead to reduced blood flow to the penis. However, few men who suffer from diabetes are asked about their sexual health, which means that they are not offered advice on treatment. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, and you experience erectile dysfunction, talk to a medical professional about possible treatment options.

4. Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Heath

Erectile dysfunction does not always have a physical cause; sometimes it can be psychological. However, in some cases, it can be an early warning sign of other health issues. Because the blood vessels in the penis are narrower than those in the heart or brain, erectile dysfunction can often be the first noticeable sign of high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you are overweight, there is a family history of heart problems, or you suffer from high cholesterol or diabetes, don’t ignore erectile dysfunction; talk to a medical professional in case it is an indicator of a more significant problem.

5. Erectile Dysfunction and Cycling

Cycling is great for your mind and body. It can improve your cardiovascular fitness, aid weight loss, build muscle strength and tone, boost your mood and your self-confidence. However, some regular cyclists report that cycling has impacted their sex life by causing erectile dysfunction or penile numbness. This is because cycling puts pressure on the pudental arteries, which supply blood to the penis and perineum. Research into this is mixed, but if you think that cycling could be causing erectile dysfunction, you can improve the problem by getting your bike properly fitted and by buying a specialist saddle.

6. Erectile Dysfunction and Depression

Some men with erectile dysfunction experience depression or anxiety, and some men with depression and anxiety experience erectile dysfunction ED. The two can be linked, and it is not certain which one causes which. Erectile dysfunction can lead to depression as the feelings of failure, frustration, embarrassment and anger at experiencing it can lead to lowered self-esteem, anxiety or depression. And, of course, the more a man panics about having erectile dysfunction, the more his anxiety levels are likely to rise. Both depression and erectile dysfunction are treatable, and both need a consultation with a doctor to understand the causes so that appropriate treatment can be recommended. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, contact your local doctor for a full consultation. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, you can get an online prescription for erectile dysfunction treatment after a consultation with one of ApexPharma Online Pharmacy’s medical professionals.

7. Erectile Dysfunction, Age and Hormones

Sometimes, erectile dysfunction is simply the result of age. As men age, they tend to produce less testosterone, which means that they lack the physiological responses necessary to achieve an erection. Treatment for this is readily available and highly effective; add a treatment to your basket and a trained pharmacist will provide you with a prescription or advise you of a more appropriate treatment for your needs.

8 Tips for a better nights sleep

1 in 3 people suffers from poor sleep often related to work stress or unable to wind down in today’s hasty society [R]. Studies have shown that lack of regular sleep can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health [R]. Sleep disorders are increasingly common, so it’s important you try to improve your sleep without resorting to sleeping medication.

Although sleeping tablets can be effective to treat insomnia, they should not be relied on as a long term solution to your sleep problems.

Here are eight tips you can implement in order to help in falling asleep at night.

Start winding down
When you’re winding down for the evening, allow your body to shift into rest mode. Avoid any activities that require a lot of concentration or brain stimulation. Enjoy activities that don’t require too much thinking like light reading. Have a hot bath to optimise your body temperature needed for sleep and this will also relax those aching muscles.

Create a nighttime environment
Your body responds to external cues. Reduce the noise level, set a cosy temperature and dim the lights. Low light is a direct trigger of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. During the day, large amounts of light suppress melatonin and keep you awake. At night, darkness boosts melatonin levels and helps you sleep.

This is also why you should avoid checking your phone close to bedtime. The light from your phone interferes with your sleep hormones. You should also avoid bright light. Use the night setting on your phone to dim the screen in the hours before bedtime.

Optimise your bedroom to be sleep friendly
Make sure your bed is comfortable for good quality sleep. A good mattress has been shown to alleviate pain and stiffness and it is recommended you should change your mattress every 5-8 years [R].

Keep your bed strictly for sleeping (and sex). Your brain creates an association of relaxing, so when you intend to go up to the bed, your body automatically prepares itself for sleep.

Avoid Stimulation
Do not consume alcohol or caffeine before bed. Anything that increases the heart rate should be avoided. This therefore also applies to high-intensity exercise.

Have regular sleep patterns
Aim to sleep and wake at the same time each night. This allows your body to get used to your particular cycle and will adjust your sleep hormones accordingly. It is recommended that an adult should have around 7 hours of sleep each night.

If you struggle to track your sleep- utilise a sleep diary.

Eat sleep-inducing foods
Have you ever felt drowsy after eating a heavy meal? There are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, a heavy meal requires a lot of physical energy for digestion, so naturally, you feel tired after.

Secondly, heavy meals indirectly trigger Melatonin (the sleep hormone). How? In the body, Melatonin is synthesised by serotonin. Serotonin is another hormone (also known as the ‘happy hormone’) responsible for mood. It isn’t naturally occurring in foods, but its precursor, tryptophan is.

Tryptophan is often found in dairy and poultry. When we think of cheese, quite often we think of enjoyment and satisfaction due to its link with our mood hormone. On its own, however, it doesn’t make you drowsy, but a combination of tryptophan with a high carb meal will hit the spot. So if you nap after a Sunday roast with spuds, this is why! [R].

You can apply this concept at night time too. How about a grilled cheese sandwich when you’re winding down? You can trial different food combinations to see which works best to trigger your sleep hormones.

Unload your tensions
Worrying and overthinking increases your brain waves and keeps you up. Use relaxation and breathing techniques to calm you down. Adopt journaling as a method to expel thoughts and emotions from your mind. You will feel unloaded and more prepared for sleep.

Use sleep aids or supplements
Sleep enhancing supplements should be discussed with your pharmacist or prescriber before use because they can sometimes interfere with ongoing treatments. Over the counter remedies usually contain a sedating antihistamine- diphenhydramine. It is packaged as Nytol in a 25mg strength and a 50mg strength. These are for short term use only.

There are also non-medicinal options such as Sominex herbal. There is limited evidence to suggest herbs actually work. However, there are some ‘sworn-by’ home remedies that have been passed down through generations such as chamomile tea.

Hopefully, the above suggestions will help you get a good night of sleep! If you continue to struggle, see your doctor for further advice.

References
NHS. (2019). Sleep and Tiredness – How to get sleep. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

Healthline. (2019).17 tips to sleep better. Available: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better

Sleep Council. (2019). 7 steps to a better nights sleep. Available: https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/seven-steps-to-a-better-nights-sleep/

Symptoms of Hypertension

What is hypertension?
Our blood pressure is measured and expressed in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), systolic pressure above diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure your heart uses to push blood out, whereas diastolic pressure is the resting pressure between heartbeats. Ideal blood pressure is generally between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, however, hypertension is diagnosed when one has a persistent blood pressure above 140/90mmHg.

The ‘Silent Killer’
High blood pressure is often asymptomatic, which means there could be no symptoms at all. This is why millions of people may have no clue they have it until they have a stroke or heart attack.

In some cases, non-specific symptoms may occur in those who have high blood pressure,

Chest pain
Blurred vision
General tiredness or fatigue
Dull headache
Feeling light headed and/or vomiting
Pale skin colour
Nosebleeds
With a significantly raised blood pressure, certain symptoms may start to appear, considered serious symptoms,

Severe headache
Difficulty breathing
Pounding in your chest, neck or ears
Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears
Chest pain and/or tightness
Irregular heartbeat
Blood in the urine
It is important for anyone experiencing these to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Why should I bother?
Untreated hypertension puts extra strain on your blood vessels and vital organs such as your brain, kidneys, and eyes. It could increase your risk of developing heart disease, vascular dementia, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, etc. The sooner you get yourself checked, the sooner you can take preventative steps.

References
Zava. (2019). Symptoms Of Hypertension. [online] Available at: https://www.zavamed.com/uk/signs-and-symptoms-of-hypertension.html [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
nhs.uk. (2016). High blood pressure (hypertension). [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
Steinbaum, S. (2018). High Blood Pressure Symptoms – Hypertension Symptoms. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/hypertension-symptoms-high-blood-pressure [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
Bhf.org.uk. (n.d.). 6 things you need to know about high blood pressure. [online] Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/6-things-you-need-to-know-about-high-blood-pressure [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
Bloodpressureuk.org. (n.d.). Blood Pressure : What is high blood pressure?. [online] Available at: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Whatishigh [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
nhs.uk. (2016). NHS Health Check. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
Longmore, M., Wilkinson, I., Davidson, E., Foulkes, A. and Mafi, A. (2012). Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. 8th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.132-135.

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