What is stress-induced erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction or ED occurs when you’re unable to get or maintain an erection that’s firm enough or lasts long enough for satisfactory sex. It’s normal to experience trouble with getting an erection from time to time, but if it’s a frequent occurrence and interferes with the quality of your sex life, you might have ED.
There are several psychological and physiological factors that might cause you to experience ED.
Stress — or anxiety — is one of the most common psychological causes.
In fact, research has shown that up to 20% of Erectile Dysfunction Best Treatment In India cases are due to psychological causes. These are no less valid than physiological reasons, and are just as deserving of help. If you think that you might be suffering from ED, it’s important to consult with a qualified doctor. They can help you find out if stress is what’s causing your ED.
How can stress cause Erectile Dysfunction Treatment In Bangalore?
Stress can take a toll on your body in many different ways. Many of us think of stress as something that lives exclusively in our minds, and that can either be willed away or that has no real ramifications on our bodies.
However, the truth is that psychological stress can and does have numerous physiological manifestations and effects. It can cause headaches, issues with digestive health, including acidity and stomach aches, increases in blood sugar, and a weakening of the immune system, and can lead to insomnia and depression. Ultimately, stress is a major factor when it comes to the functioning of almost all our physiological processes, and can harm us in many different ways.
Erectile and sexual health is no exception to this, and stress plays a major role in ED because of the way in which it interferes with your brain’s signals to your body. Men experience 3 different types of erections: reflexive erections, caused due to physical stimulation; psychogenic erections, stimulated by visual or mental images; and nocturnal erections, which occur when you’re asleep.
All three of these involve your brain sending out certain signals, that in turn cause your body to respond in certain ways, finally leading to an erection. The primary function involved in this is an increase in the blood flow into the penis and a decrease in the blood flow out.
But when you’re stressed or anxious, even though you may be sexually aroused or experiencing mental and emotional sexual desire, you can struggle to get an erection because of the interference in these signals. This is because your sympathetic nervous system or SNS is activated when you’re stressed, which causes a decrease in the blood flow to the penis.
You may even struggle with performance related anxiety, where ED stems from fears of not being able to perform sexually or leaving your partner unsatisfied.
In situations like ED, this stress can become not just a cause, but also a result, leading to a vicious cycle. You’re unable to get or maintain an erection because you’re stressed, which in turn leads to more anxiety over your sexual life, which then makes it even more difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. Stress can begin to both cause and perpetuate ED.
Cortisol and ED
One of the ways in which this works is through the function of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone released by our body when it perceives us to be under threat or danger. It’s more commonly known as the hormone that causes our fight or flight response, and works alongside adrenaline to deal with a dangerous or stressful situation. It regulates our body functions to be able to meet that threat.
However, it also has the effect of constricting the blood vessels in the penis. This stops blood from being able to flow properly into the penis, and makes it more difficult to achieve an erection.
What’s more, if you suffer from chronic or long-term stress, elevated levels of cortisol can also cause your testosterone levels to decrease, leading to more trouble with your sexual and erectile health.
How can I address stress-induced ED?
If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, it can often be compounded by any unhealthy coping mechanisms you may have adopted to deal with that stress or anxiety. One might take to excessively consuming alcohol, tobacco products or recreational drugs to cope. However, these can further cause problems with ED, and harm you in the long run rather than helping.
Instead, there are multiple routes that you can explore to addressing not just stress-induced ED, but the underlying reasons behind that stress.
Counselling or talk therapy
Very often, we ourselves might be unaware of what the root is to our stress or anxiety. Working through this with a professional can help you recognise and identify the stressors in your life, and talking about it with someone qualified can help you address those stressors and lessen their effect on your life.
Your counsellor or therapist may also recommend trying cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, for addressing issues with depression and/or anxiety. CBT is a type of therapy that helps to identify and change unhealthy patterns of thought and behaviour. It can be helpful not just for people who struggle with their mental health, butalso to address the psychological factors behind ED.
This is a type of therapy that couples can undergo together. Confiding in your partner about your struggles with ED and the role of stress or anxiety behind it can go a long way in helping you address the root cause behind it. If you’re both comfortable and eager, you can explore psychosexual therapy as a way to help deal with stress-induced ED, as well as any other issues with your sex life. It can also help address any relationship issues that may be present.
Routines to help reduce stress
Apart from this, making small but pivotal changes to your daily routine can help you feel calmer through the day and more in control of your anxiety or stress.
Integrating time for meditation into your day, even for just 10-15 minutes, can go a long way in helping you be more mindful and feel more relaxed. Starting and ending your day with deep breathing exercises can also help reduce stress. If you’re more inclined towards exercise-based activities, regularly practicing yoga can also help you manage your stress better.
Ultimately, it’s important to identify the daily stressors in your life and find healthy ways to let go of some of your anxiety through mindfulness techniques. It won’t just affect your sexual health, but will also help improve your general wellbeing.