Treatment for Male Sexual Dysfunction

Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection is just one type of male sexual dysfunction. There's also premature ejaculation, delayed or inhibited orgasm, low libido, and physical abnormalities of the penis. There are a number of possible causes for these problems, including problems in the relationship with one's sexual partner; lowered levels of the male hormone testosterone; certain drugs, including antidepressants and blood pressure medications; disorders affecting vasculature, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries); and smoking, kidney problems, depression, anxiety disorders, and alcoholism.

Whatever might be causing male sexual dysfunction, there are myriad treatments that may be of help, which is why a man experiencing problems having sex should see his doctor no matter how embarrassed or uncomfortable he might feel. The treatments available include psychological counseling, either individually or as a couple, where the problem is not a physical one; therapies for depression and anxiety disorders; changing drugs, or the dose of a drug, if it's getting in the way; prescribing a drug that targets erectile dysfunction directly; and hormonal treatments, such as testosterone replacement therapy, when appropriate. In some cases, surgery to correct a physical abnormality is indicated.

For more information, contact the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (904-353-7878) or the American Urological Association (www.urologyhealth.org).

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