Weak Erections( also known as Erectile Dysfunction) are a pervasive problem, and is present in men of all age groups. However, as a man ages, the prevalence of weak erections increases significantly. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study reports that whilst the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men aged forty to fifty years old is around 30%, this figure increases to 75% amongst men aged 70 and older. What is also pertinent is that the prevalence of moderate to severe impotence is far higher in the latter age group.
The average age of men presenting to erectile dysfunction clinics in South Africa is 54 years old, with 70% of patients between 40 and 69 years of age.
The relationship is fairly easy to understand, reports Dr Willie Jordaan, managing director of Mens Clinic International, the largest group of erectile dysfunction clinics in South Africa. The underlying causes of erectile dysfunction are in a majority of cases, physical in nature, through disease processes that affect the arteries, veins, nerves, hormones or tissues of the penis. They are caused by diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, neurological disease and hormone deficiencies. As these disease processes are more prevalent in the aging population, so the association of erectile dysfunction with aging is established.
Declining sexual capability is a devastating problem for aging men. The importance of being able to function normally from a sexual point of view is a major issue in mens lives, and the decline in potency represents a clear indication of a man's mortality. The subsequent psychological manifestations of the problem, like depression, frustration and anxiety represent a further complication of the underlying physical disease process. The impact of this syndrome on marriages, family and social relationships, is considerable.
Often, a man's retirement, may coincide with the onset of this problem, increasing the perception of aging and sexual decline.
There are two critical messages, Dr Jordaan continues: the first is that impotence, or weakening erections should send a clear message to the man that there is possibly an underlying disease process in the body which is manifesting as poor erectile performance. Heart attacks, stroke, or kidney failure for example are very real threats in a man with vascular disease sufficient to cause impotence. Sexual medicine practitioners at these clinics undertake investigations to establish the underlying pathology and institute treatment protocols to retard their progress. No man should ignore the message that his failing penis may be sending out to him.
The second message is a positive one: treatments for erectile dysfunction have advanced to such an extent that it is now possible to return up to 90% of men with erectile dysfunction to normal sexually active lives, even well into the eighth and ninth decades of life. For the first time in history, there are reliable, safe and effective medical methods to address this common and serious male health issue.
With appropriate therapy, couples should be able to maintain sexual intimacy as part of their lives, as long as they may wish to.
Mens Clinic International has clinics around South Africa, and offers a helpline on 0860 362867 or +27 11 523 5100.