The search for the perfect erectile dysfunction cure goes on, but it appears that drugs developed by pharmaceutical companies to improve the sexual function of men has found that around 80 percent of users found them unsatisfactory.
The findings relate to older men, however many younger men who use pharmacy drugs for erectile dysfunction issues are also dissatisfied with the performance of the drugs.
The drugs like Viagra and Cialis relate to phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) but for older men the increase in sexual function and sexual function did not necessarily better their perceptions of sex and relationships.
Rates of erectile dysfunction are increasing and are linked both to an ageing population as well as to increased levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
ED issues become more significant with the ‘baby boomer’ generation wanting to maintain relationships and to increase their active lifestyles.
The Manchester University “ED study” formed part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), 7,079 men completed the Sexual Relationships and Activities Questionnaire (SRA-Q).
The questionnaire covered attitudes to sex, sexual activities, behaviours, problems and concerns, and current sexual partnerships. The analysis focused on 2,612 men who had provided complete data on erectile function and PDE5i use, and were aged 51–87 years.
Levels of erectile dysfunction vary with age, from 1–10% in men aged under 40 years to as much as 50–100% in men aged over 70 years.
The ELSA results, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, showed that more than 80% of the men using PDE5 inhibitors to treat erectile dysfunction said that the drugs had a positive or very positive impact on their sex lives. The men with treated erectile dysfunction reported more sexual activity, all the way through from kissing to intercourse, even compared with those with no erectile dysfunction.
Despite these positive outcomes, those who were successfully treated still had higher levels of concern about their sexual activity and relationships.
The researchers conclude that there is a need for a more holistic treatment, including management of the patient’s expectations, support from the patient’s partner, appraisal of psychological and relationship issues, and assessment and education relating to broader health and well-being issues in older people.
But there are some complex issues at play when it comes to ascertaining exactly what leads to ED, also.
For instance, Jill Cooper,a psychosexual therapist/specialist nurse at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, says that there are psychological and social factors compounded by the physical symptoms.
“It’s very rare that erectile dysfunction has just one cause — the physical problems can be improved but they may still have issues of performance anxiety, or about how they feel about themselves,” she says. “Because of this, medication won’t be the only answer for many men, and should be combined with counselling.”
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