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Archive for the ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Category

Men and Depression: Recognizing the Symptoms

By Rebecca Jones

It is common knowledge that depression can be a leading cause of erectile dysfunction but if you think Men don’t want to talk about their physical problems it probably won’t come as a surprise that they are even less likely to talk about their emotional ones. Often time’s depression is seen as a problem only affecting women and while statistically a greater number of women are afflicted, suicide is now the 9th leading cause of death in men over 40. Not only are men unwilling to talk about depression, their friends and doctors often times don’t recognize the symptoms that they exhibit.

Missing the Symptoms

In a study done in the 90’s men and women were asked to fill out a questionnaire and their primary doctors were asked to determine whether the patient was depressed. The results were shocking; men went undiagnosed 67% of the time.  Culturally men have been raised to believe that they must act strong in all situations. Too often asking for help or wanting to talk about feelings is seen as a feminine behavior. Men tend to hide their feelings of sadness under a layer of bravado. Even when doctors suspect that there are underlying issues many admit that they don’t bring up the subject for fear of embarrassing their male patients. Even our conception about what depression looks like is off the mark for men. We know that symptoms of depression include becoming withdrawn and losing interest in things we used to enjoy, but often time’s male depression can manifest itself in a very different way.

(also read: Erectile Dysfunction linked to the Health of Your Heart)

Signs that the Man in Your Life is struggling with Depression

To compensate for feelings that cannot be addressed many men will turn to behaviors that are the opposite of the isolated quiet behavior we associate with depression. Some men will turn to work, putting in extra long hours. Others will engage is risky behavior like drugs, gambling, and extramarital affairs. Still others can develop a temper lashing out at family and picking fights with strangers.  Finally depression has a list of physical symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. Headaches, fatigue, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and digestive problems are just a few of the ways depression can manifest itself in the body.

Ways to Deal with Male Depression

Often time’s men let depression go untreated for so long they may not even realize that their feelings aren’t normal, but without help depression is unlikely to go away on its own. Just because men are reluctant to seek help for depression it does not mean that help is unavailable. Therapy is not designed to be gender biased and if we can break through the stigma surrounding men opening up about their feelings talk therapy can be extremely helpful. When therapy is unsuccessful there are also many well tested and effective medications on the market to treat depression. Unfortunately until men feel that it is safe for them to set aside their bravado and open up about the things that trouble them too many will remain at risk from not only suicide but the consequences of risky coping behaviors. Male Depression isn’t just a man’s problem it affects our whole society so next time, before we pass off the drinking or the affair as a sign of a midlife crisis, we should look and see if there are underlying feelings of depression altering the behavior of the men we love.

 




Erectile Dysfunction Linked to the Health of Your Heart

By Rebecca Jones

With the popularity today of medications like Viagra men are becoming much more comfortable talking about erectile dysfunction than ever before but one conversation they may not be having is how ED can be directly linked to heart problems.  ED has many causes both physical and emotional and as men age they become increasingly more likely to suffer difficulties getting and maintaining erections. According to research done by the Journal of Sexual Medicine by the time men reach their 40’s nearly 10% of them will be affected by ED this number goes up to nearly 30% by the time they reach their 60’s. ED is often the first indicator of heart problems because the arteries that carry blood to the penis are smaller than the arteries in the heart. If there is any narrowing or clogging these arteries will be affected first especially as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. While there are many medications on the market that can improve ED symptoms there are lifestyle changes that can be made to improve both the health of your heart and your sex life.

Get Regular Exercise

Turns out what’s good for your heart is good for the rest of your body as well. Men who exercise regularly are about 15-30% less likely to suffer from ED than their more sedentary peers. Getting regular aerobic exercise will increase blood circulation in the body, keep your heart healthy, reduce your risk of prostate problems and improve erectile function.

Watch Your Weight

Overweight men who consume a diet high in fat and low in whole grains, fruit and vegetables are at a much greater risk for ED than their peers who maintain a healthy BMI. Obesity not only has a negative impact on blood flow in the body but is also known to lower a man’s testosterone another leading cause of erectile dysfunction.

Quit Smoking

More bad news for smokers, researchers have discovered that this group is 60% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than nonsmokers. Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to all parts of the body. Bottom line the more cigarettes you smoke the worse it is for your heart and your erectile function.

Type II Diabetes

Nearly 50% of men with Type II diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction. Diet and exercise play a key role in not only preventing diabetes but in preventing high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well.

Emotional Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

Stress, depression and fatigue can not only lead to erectile dysfunction but can also lower sex drive. It is believed that about 15% of all cases of ED can be attributed to emotional issues. Even low amounts of anxiety can trigger neurotransmitters that cause constriction in arteries and decreased blood flow to the penis. Since ED can also cause feelings of depression in men it is sometimes unclear which condition came first but the fact that the two are interlinked is undeniable.

The good news for men is that erectile dysfunction is not only treatable, through lifestyle changes and medications like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra but it can also send up a red flag that there are other health issues that need to be examined. Early detection is the key to improving the health of your heart so if you are experiencing ED don’t be afraid to discuss your health concerns with your doctor.

 




Male Menopause – Myth or Fact?

By EmilyM

When it comes to most things gender or sex related, no matter how strange or unusual, people are at least a little curious. I randomly stumbled across an article on the topic of “male menopause” and decided to take a closer look at this bizarre sounding condition.

Now right off the bat I realize “male menopause” sounds a bit unlikely, but according to extensive research of men over the age of 50, the idea may not be so far-fetched. As men age, testosterone levels begin to decline, often  leading to several unfavorable side effects.  Some of these changes are said to be similar to those experienced by women during menopause when estrogen levels begin to decline.

Not everyone draws a connection between the decline in testosterone and menopause however.

Within the medical community, there continues to be some debate over the concept. The more widely accepted medical term for low testosterone and the accompanying symptoms is andropause. However, it seems that no matter what you call it, this idea is not accepted by everyone.

The World Health Organization is one prominent example of a group who continues to reject the concept that andropause or “male menopause” is a true medical condition. The fact that testosterone begins decreasing with age, however, is a much more widely accepted idea. In fact, it’s thought that levels may begin dropping in men as early as age 30 by as much as 1% to 2% a year. As a man gets older, the rate of decline  speeds up, reaching as much as a 50% drop by the age of 70 in some men.

Unlike the cessation of estrogen production and menstruation associated with menopause, testosterone production does not halt completely. For women, menopause results in symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue and more. When men begin noticing a lowered libido and other symptoms of a testosterone decrease, it’s typically around the same time that the stereotypical “mid-life crisis” sets in. Suddenly a brand new candy-apple convertible or an Orange County Chopper-style bike seems like a good idea. Well just as women often site changing hormones as a reason for shopping splurges and funky mood swings,  some feel that maybe a midlife crisis is a man’s way of dealing with hormonal changes in his body.

Similarly to menopause in women, some men experience depression, fatigue and weakness as testosterone levels continue to drop. Testosterone has a lot to do with driving male sexual desire and for some, lowered levels are partially responsible for the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for sex. Many times, the depression and anxiety worsen as feelings of shame and frustration accompany the inability to be intimate with a partner.

Most doctors recommend having a lab test done to identify any other conditions that may also contribute to erectile dysfunction.

So what does this mean for men? Whether you agree with the terminology or the parallels drawn between the sexes, low testosterone affects roughly 4 to 5 million men in the United States and is associated with a variety of symptoms and unwanted side effects.




What’s So Bad About “Generic” Viagra?

By EmilyM

Looks can be deceiving. If something looks like the real thing and sounds like the real thing, but is offered at a mere fraction of the normal cost…well if you aren’t initially suspicious, maybe it’s time to start asking yourself, “okay what’s the catch?”

There is a time to be trusting but when it comes to buying Viagra and other medications online, it pays to start off as a skeptic. After all, this concerns your health, it’s not like buying a Prada on Canal Street in Chinatown for example. You buy the bag because you are told “it’s real,” days later the “designer” bag nearly crumbles as the cheap imitation leather and stitching falls apart. Well you bought it dirt cheap and guess what? It is cheap.

While that can be a real bummer – the whole fake “generic” Viagra thing…much bigger deal.

Counterfeit Viagra is no joke, it’s illegal and it can have terrible consequences on your health. I know I personally am sick and tired of emptying out my spam folder, constantly clearing out the clutter of countless offers for “Viagra.” I put this in quotes because regardless of the claims, chances are the only similarity between the genuine Pfizer product and the ones offered in spammy emails is the name.

This week, an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle really put the whole magnitude of the industry into tangible terms. According to a source from the article, pharmaceutical counterfeiters can make $450,000 from a mere $1,000 in seed money. To put that in perspective, the article compares this to the profits of those who peddle heroin, saying that a $1,000 seed will only yield up to possibly $20,000.

This month has marked a large victory in the war on counterfeits for Pfizer. Gone are the days when the largest drug manufacturer left the matter of catching counterfeiters up to local authorities. Now Pfizer is dealing with the matter head-on and discovered their first large counterfeiter in the process.

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek reports the story of one man, Martin Hickman, who made quite a killing off his illegal business. In fact, when Pfizer spies (formerly U.S. Customs officals) caught him, he was living a merry life of crime in his Spanish Villa, alongside his frivolous purchases, including a diamond-encrusted Rolex watch. Apparently his brief, 3-month stint in jail in 2007 for trademark infringement did nothing to curb his ways. According to the Bloomberg article, the new method of catching criminals is really starting to pay off, so far recovering nearly $5 million.

So aside from the fact that it is illegal, why exactly is buying these pills so bad?

1. Many of these counterfeits are marketed as “generic Viagra.” Currently there is no FDA-approved generic version, which means that these pills are not regulated at all. Often, the quest to make a near-identical lookalike means adding ingredients that should never be ingested in the first place. According to one report, many fake medications include things like boric acid, cement dust, road paint, chalk and brick dust, nickel and arsenic. If the active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, is found in these pills at all, it is often in trace amounts or in the wrong chemical combination, rendering it virtually useless.

2. Counterfeiters usually illegally smuggle their fake Viagra stashes into the U.S. Many times the money made from their illegal activities goes to support other criminal activity.

3. When a site does not require any type of medical assessment, massive health complications can result with any type of prescription-only medication. While it may seem convenient and easy to just order quickly with a click of the mouse, an online medical assessment reviewed by a licensed physician is the safest way to purchase medication online.

4. These scandalous companies make it more difficult for legitimate online pharmacies to operate. When operated correctly, buying Viagra online offers patients privacy, convenience and a lower cost alternative to going in to the doctor’s office and having a relatively uncomfortable conversation. In fact, according to research from the University of Utah and published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, an online medical assessment can actually be safer than the traditional in-office visit.

Some telltale signs that an online pharmacy is not legit (and neither is the medication they claim is the “real thing”):

* Viagra is offered in “quick dissolve” or “soft tabs,” neither of these are produced by Pfizer

* Claims to be a cheaper “generic” version

* Offers medication without a prescription

Hopefully with Pfizer’s new initiatives and a collective growing knowledge of the dangers of fake medication, these criminal counterfeits will find that crime truly doesn’t pay.

KwikMed.com is the ONLY company currently granted regulatory approval to prescribe Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Propecia and Chantix online. All prescriptions are monitored by licensed physicians, overseen by a regulatory board and all pills are genuine, domestically manufactured and name brand products.




Men Who Use ED Drugs Have Higher Rate of STDs

By EmilyM

This week, headlines like this one have been splattered across the health section of most news sites. My initial reaction: “Wait, what?” My follow up reaction: “Good grief…”

Since the published study came out in the July 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, there has been a lot of chatter about the subject. The goal of the study was to see if men over the age of 40 who used PDE-5 inhibitors, like Viagra, for erectile dysfunction, have an increased rate of getting sexually transmitted diseases.

The study consisted of more than 1,000,000 men over the age of 40. 30,000 of these men had filled prescriptions for ED meds. The conclusion was hard to debate – it clearly found that ED-medication users had a higher rate (2 to 3 times higher) of STD infection, especially HIV and chlamydia.

Why is this? To be honest, this information sort of baffles me. Just as we have all heard birth-control commercials explain “the pill does not protect you from STDs,” Viagra comes with the same warning. Let’s face it, even if it didn’t have this warning, don’t men in their 40s have some idea how this whole process works?

While I feel that the study is interesting and well conducted, the way it is being portrayed is not entirely fair. Many make it sound like ED drugs actually cause STDs. Here’s the thing, having sex can lead to STDs, Viagra helps men have more satisfying sex lives, men have more sex than they would have without it, therefore men having sex have higher risk of infection. Is this news to anyone? Another part of this equation is that it’s not just married men who are taking Viagra and other ED medications. Many men and women are single in their 40s today and with this new found sexual ability, perhaps caution is thrown out the window somewhere along the way, bringing grown men and women back to the younger years of reckless abandon.

No matter what the reason, I think more than anything, this serves as a wake-up call of sorts. No matter who you are, where you come from, or how old you are – STDs do not discriminate. If you are sexually active at any stage in life, it’s important to remember that just because you are now able to enjoy a healthy sex life, it doesn’t mean all the rules of your younger years don’t still apply.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?




The Impact of Erectile Dysfunction on Marriage and Relationships

By emilyM

Sorry guys, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but no matter how you look at it, erectile dysfunction doesn’t only affect you…but your partner too.

No matter if it begins in the early days of courtship or the golden years of marriage, impotence is that elephant in the room and well… certain men just act a bit crazy in response. Mood swings, feelings of rejection, even ogling other ladies, what’s up with that?

No one person in the relationship should have to go through it alone and it’s something that, with help, can be successfully treated… so don’t panic just yet. But if you are just hoping “the problem” will go away on its own, unfortunately it’s not very likely. Many times ED is not purely a psychological problem like many once believed, but a physical one that can be successfully treated.

I know couples who have amazing stories of the things they have overcome in their relationships and marriages and I am a believer that any disagreement can be resolved… but when it comes to problems in the bedroom… well it seems problems begin sprouting up elsewhere in the relationship too. Fortunately, unlike so many problems in relationships, there is a relatively easy solution!

Here are a few recent stories that have popped up on the Web and really reinforce the need for first gaining the support you need from your significant other and then together seeking the help of a physician, because chances are, you would really like to have a healthier sex life too, right?

Example 1:
The frustration of an older women married to a husband suffering from erectile dysfunction (and consequently acting out in the way many men often do in response) drove her to write into the advice columnist at the Winnipeg Free Press:

“DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband is impotent and has started obviously ogling women at bingo right in front of me. I date it back to when his sexual apparatus stopped working. I feel like telling the women he’s putting up a front, pardon the pun. — So Angry! North End”

to which she replies…

“Dear Angry: Your problem is with his behaviour, not with the women he ogles. Say something like: “I know why you started doing this and I’m asking you to stop as I feel hurt and humiliated when you do. Now, what can we do to regain a sex life, even if it can’t include potency pills or intercourse?” There are lots of other things you can do, and you need to tell him clearly you would enjoy them.”

Example #2
The next example comes from The Standard, a website from Nairobi, Kenya.

The article talks about a husband who refused to “consummate” the marriage with his new wife in the first few days of marriage, therefore driving the new bride to a court in Gucha that ruled she could divorce her husband on the grounds that the union was “null.” It also goes on to explain that erectile dysfunction or “impotence” which prohibits a couple from “consummating” their marriage is not a new thing.

Example# 3
Forum posts from women frustrated with their man’s unwillingness to seek help for ED.

No one likes having to confront a rather uncomfortable subject, but really there is nothing unmanly about asking for help. The sooner you address the problem, the sooner you can get your love life back on track!




5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Erectile Dysfunction

Okay so if you are like most guys, the two word phrase ‘erectile dysfunction’ makes you want to hide under the covers for all of eternity, but it’s time to face the facts. No matter what you may think, you are not the only one facing this problem.

Though it may be difficult at first, it’s time to overcome the embarrassment and take control of your sex life.  Here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t be too embarrassed to ask for help.

1. It’s more common than you think
Did you know that more than 18 million men in America over the age of 20 suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED)?  In the population of men over 65 years of age, nearly 15% to 25% suffer from ED. Younger men are affected by ED too. It’s even been suggested that nearly 75% of men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.

2. A loving and understanding partner will be supportive
You may be afraid to talk about it with your partner but well, it won’t really come as a shock. You may find your partner is as uncomfortable as you are at first, but acknowledging the problem and opening the lines of communication is a great way to face the problem head on. Voicing your frustrations and fears will help you release some of that pent up anxiety. With the love and support of your partner, you’ll be ready to explore your options together.

3. Treatment is readily available
Millions of men have been successfully treated for erectile dysfunction with VIAGRA ®, CIALIS ® and LEVITRA® .

4. Your doctor has heard it all before
Though you may feel uncomfortable discussing such a personal topic with your doctor, you can rest assured that you are not the first person to mention erectile dysfunction. Many people find the ED assessment online to be less embarrassing.

5. There is a safe way to get a prescription online
KwikMed is the only company granted regulatory approval to prescribe FDA-approved and domestically manufactured medications online. The Internet is loaded with fake companies promising low-cost and generic ED pills with no prescription needed. But the truth is there are no generic legal versions of VIAGRA®, CIALIS ®or LEVITRA®, no matter what these “rogue” pharmacies promise. With KwikMed, you receive the real medication prescribed by an actual physician. There is usually no physical exam needed to diagnosis a person with ED – so now you have the option of completing an even more thorough assessment online than you found face-to-face. It’s more convenient, less embarrassing and completely safe!




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