Could there be a link between erectile dysfunction and depression? With many men experiencing both conditions, it’s important to understand the link between the two to help men treat their symptoms and get their health back on track.
Understanding erectile dysfunction and depression
Erectile dysfunction (ED) and depression can impact each other. “Some men with erectile dysfunction experience depression or anxiety, and some men with depression and anxiety experience erectile dysfunction,” according to Stuart Gale, the Chief Pharmacist for Oxford Online Pharmacy. “And with the two often being closely linked, it is not always certain which one is the cause.”
Depression can lead to sexual performance issues, due to the chemical imbalance that happens in the brain. At the same time, antidepressants can also lead to sexual health problems, with between 25 and 75% of people experiencing sexual dysfunction after taking antidepressants.
On the other side of the coin, suffering from ED could lead to depression, due to the frustration and anger at suffering from a problem, and one that can make someone feel like ‘less of a man.’
Understanding the factors that lead to one condition or the other, or both, is important for improving men’s health and putting an end to symptoms.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
ED is more common than many people realise. Around 52% of men experience a form of ED, and the prevalence increases within older age categories.
Most men will experience some form of erection issue in their lifetime. Failure to achieve an erection can be caused by:
- Sexual health problems
Longer-term erectile dysfunction, meanwhile, can be caused by various factors including obesity, poor diet, a medical condition and others. Understanding the cause of ED is what can help you find the appropriate treatment. If depression is the cause, then finding ways to treat the signs of depression could then help improve ED.
Causes of depression
Like a lot of mental health illnesses, there isn’t a single cause of depression. Depression can be caused by multiple factors, including a sudden life event (such as a bereavement or breakdown of a relationship), work troubles, financial issues, illness and more. Depression could be caused as a result of ED, and treating the cause of ED could then improve symptoms of depression.
Finding the link between ED and depression
Experiencing both ED and depression is common, and there are some signs to look out for that can help you find the link between the two, including:
- A decline in sexual desire or feeling no pleasure from sex.
- Experiencing erectile dysfunction following a period of stress or a particular event.
- Suffering from ED after taking antidepressants.
- Experiencing low self-esteem that leads to ED.
It’s important to think about the potential triggers and feelings that may be causing your ED and depression, helping you to piece together some answers.
Treating erectile dysfunction and depression
If you think you’re experiencing ED, depression, or both, then it’s important to seek medical advice to help you treat the problem. While talking about sexual health feels like a taboo or embarrassing subject, opening up about what you’re experiencing is the first step towards resolving the issue. If ever you’re in the area, looking up Urology Clinic Stockton CA will help you tons.
Some of the steps your doctor might take to treat erectile dysfunction and depression include:
Provide an examination
After detailing your problems to your doctor, they’ll conduct a physical examination to help rule out any physical causes behind your ED. They will also discuss your mental health to try to establish the root of the problem. If ever you’re in the area, looking up for Houston mens clinic can help you a long way.
Make changes to your medication
If you are on antidepressants, your doctor may switch your medication or try a different dosage to see if it helps relieve the issue.
Prescribe medication to treat ED
Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help treat ED, or help prescribe antidepressants if depression is the main cause.
Counselling and other therapies
Counselling can be an effective way of working through mental health issues, which could also help to treat your ED.
As ED and depression can be caused by many factors, your doctor may recommend multiple treatments to help you feel better.
Improving your health and wellbeing
Some of the key causes of ED and depression can be caused by lifestyle factors. Staying healthy and focusing on your wellbeing can bring benefits to both your physical and mental health, keeping problems at bay. Some of the ways you can improve your health and wellbeing include:
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can lead to several health conditions, including diabetes, which could lead to symptoms of ED. Being overweight can also impact your self-esteem, leading to depression or sexual performance issues.
Eating a balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, as well as ensure your body gets the right nutrition to support its core functions.
Regular exercise keeps you fit, boosts your mental health and helps prevent weight gain.
There are known links between smoking and ED. Quitting smoking could prevent ED, alongside some of the other potential health issues caused by smoking.
Cut down on drinking
Alcohol can affect your sexual performance temporarily, but excess drinking could have longer-term effects. Cutting down on your alcohol intake could improve both short-term and long-term ED.
Stress can impact your sexual performance, as well as lead to depression. Tackling areas of stress in your life, and finding ways to manage stress in a healthy way, could make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
Dealing with ED and depression can be difficult for many men. Opening up about your problems will be the first step in treating the issue so that you can get your life back on track and feel healthy and happy in yourself.