Erectile Dysfunction

Counterfeit Medicine
24th November 2017
E-Cigarette & Your Health
24th November 2017

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common problem in Malaysia affecting 16% to 47% of men. That is about 1.68 million Malaysian men above 40 years of age whom experience some degree of ED.1

ED is defined as the persistent or recurrent inability to achieve and/or maintain sufficient erection for satisfactory sexual performance, for at least 3 months duration.2

Risk Factors and Causes of ED

ED can be due to a range of causes, which may involve both physical and physiological factors.

Table 1: Causes and risk factors of ED

Psychological processes Mental disorder Neurological disorder
Performance anxiety Anxiety disorders Trauma
Loss of attraction Depression Myelodysplasia (spinal bifida)
Relationship difficulties Intervertebral disc lesions
Stress Drugs and substance abuse Diabetes mellitus
Narcotics Alcohol abuse
Antihypertensives (thiazides, beta blocker, methyldopa, spironolactone) Pelvis surgery
Hormonal abnormalities Antidepressants and transquilisers
Hyperprolactinaemia NSAID Arterial disorder
Hypogonadism leading to testosterone deficiency Miscellaneous drugs (ketoconazole, hyoscine, anticancer agents) Hypertension
Hypo- or hyperthyroidism H2 antagonists Smoking
Diabetes mellitus
Hyperlipidaemia
Peripheral vascular disease

Smoking – a good reason to stop!Adapted from CPG in erectile dysfunction (Malaysia Urological Association and MEDACT 2009)

Cigarette smoke contains about 41,000 chemicals eg, acetone, ammonia, arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead and tar. These chemicals causes damage to the blood vessels, which hinders proper blood flow to the penis.3

According to a report from the American Heart Association (data from 4,764 Chinese men with average age of 47), those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day had a 60% higher risk of ED, compared to those who never smoked. What was important to note from the study was the fact that as long as you smoked at some point in your life, you are 30% more likely to suffer from ED.4

Similar to smoking, drug of alcohol abuse can also reduce blood flow to the penis causing ED. A sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are other contributing factors of ED.5

Laboratory tests for diagnosis of ED

There are several laboratory tests that may help in identifying clues to diagnosis of ED. These may include urine analysis, fasting blood glucose, testosterone level, serum prolactin, Luteinizing Hormone (LH), thyroid function, liver profile and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). Your doctor may also recommend you to do an Ultrasound.6

While these are specific tests that could help with the diagnosis of ED, it is important to do a complete health check annually eg, Head-To-Toe, since the factors causing ED is multi-faceted.

Treating underlying conditions

If you suffer from diabetes and heart disease, treating these underlying causes may resolve ED. Talk to your doctor if you are taking any hypertensive medication. Certain medications may have the effect of restricing blood flow to the penis, thus causing ED. Alternatively, you may also consult with a qualified pharmacist for Medication Check Up service in order to identify such medications. Do not stop taking any medications without consulting your healthcare provider.

For conditions due to hormonal abnormalities (eg, hypogonadism, androgen deficiency or hyperprolactinaemia) you may consult an Urologist who will perform certain tests and suggest appropriate therapy to treat these underlying cause.2

Altering modifiable risk factors and causes

If you are a smoker, consider quitting now! You may enrol yourself in a quit smoking program with a professional body that offers professional help, advise and support. Lovy Pharmacy Quit Smoking Program are available nationwide and managed by qualified pharmacists who can provide an intensive and comprehensive program that includes one-to-one counselling for behavioural modification using stop-smoking aids and other relevant materials.

quit smoking program

Besides quit smoking, you may also need to:

  • work with your doctor or pharmacist to manage diabetes, heart disease or other underlying health conditions
  • do regular check-ups and health screening test annually
  • limit or avoid alcohol use
  • exercise and reduce weight if you are overweight or obese
  • get help for stress and other mental or psychological problems2-4

TWP

Supplement that may help

Nutritional supplements like amino acid arginine, bioflavonoids, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E may help to improve the symptoms of ED. Other herbal supplements such as Asian ginseng and ginkgo biloba can improve blood circulation, thus may have the effect in inducing proper blood flow to the penis, improving conditions of ED.3

bco_plus


References

  1. Gillani SW. Population based survey on knowledge and quality of life perception on erectile dysfunction among diabetic and non-diabetic attributes, Penang, Malaysia. Int J Pharm Stu Res. 2011;3(3):229-234.

  2. Malaysia Urological Association and MEDACT. Clinical practice guide in erectile dysfunction.

  3. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2011. Information for patients: Smoking and erectile dysfunction.http://www.sct.nhs.uk/_documentbank/pd6039_SmokingErectileDysfunction1.pdf. Accessed April 20, 2014.

  4. Davis JL. Smoking can lead to erectile dysfunction 2003. http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/news/20030307/smoking-can-lead-to-erectile-dysfunction. Accessed February 20, 2014.

  5. Urology Care Foundation of American Urology Association. ED: Non-surgical management (erectile dysfunction) 2013.http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=60. Accessed February 19, 2014.

  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. Erectile dysfunction herbs: A natural treatment for ED? 2013. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/in-depth/erectile-dysfunction-herbs/art-20044394?pg=1. Accessed February 19, 2014.