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Medical Conditions Affecting Sexual Health in Men

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Sexual health is conditioned by physical, emotional, mental, and social factors. Read the article below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ramchandra Lamba

Published At August 26, 2022
Reviewed AtMarch 8, 2023

Introduction

Sexual problems can lower the desire for sex (libido) and capacity to become sexually aroused. It could prevent one from having an orgasm, cause premature ejaculation, or cause discomfort during intercourse. Sexual problems obstruct a joyful sex life, hurting an individual's emotions, relationships, and general health. One out of every ten males is thought to have a sex-related issue, such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.

Whether straight, gay, bisexual, or transgender, any male can have sexual issues, making it essential to understand the factors that affect sexual health.

What Is Sexual Health?

Sexual health is defined as more than just the absence of sickness, malfunction, or infirmity; it is a condition of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being concerning sexuality.

Which Medical Disorders or Conditions Have an Impact on Male Sexual Health?

Any condition that impacts the overall health and well-being may also affect sexual health. Cardiovascular illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hormone issues, melancholy (severe depression), or anxiety, might make it challenging to engage in sexual activity.

What Impact Does Diabetes Have on Sexual Health?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body fails to generate or absorb insulin properly, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. The following are the key distinguishing features that occur in men when it comes to diabetes:

  • Erectile Dysfunction- The inability to obtain and maintain an adequate hard erection for intercourse is called erectile dysfunction (impotence). Erectile dysfunction in men under forty-five may indicate type II diabetes. Diabetic men are two to three times as likely as non-diabetic men to develop erectile dysfunction.

  • Genital Thrush- Diabetes causes a weaker immune system (the body's defense against pathogens), making infections, such as thrush, more common. The candida fungus causes thrush, which is an infection. It is also known as a yeast infection or candidiasis. People with diabetes, on the other hand, face a more significant challenge.

  • Anejaculation and Premature Ejaculation- Other than erectile dysfunction, men with diabetes may experience other sexual problems. Examples are reduced sexual desire, anejaculation (or retrograde ejaculation) during sexual climax, and premature ejaculation. The coordination of three neurologic events is required for successful antegrade ejaculation: seminal emission, bladder neck closure, and contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. As diabetes affects the musculature of the genital area, premature or retrograde ejaculation may occur.

  • The pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction in diabetes mellitus is multifaceted, with vascular, hormonal, and cerebral insults all playing a role. Blood sugar levels that are not well regulated can harm small blood vessels and neurons.

  • Nerve damage that regulates sexual stimulation and response might make it difficult for a man to achieve a hard enough erection to engage in sexual activity. Damaged blood arteries might potentially contribute to erectile dysfunction by reducing blood flow.

  • Diabetes is also linked to a lack of smooth muscular relaxation. These can lead to concerns like nerve damage and cardiovascular issues over time. Both have sexual health concerns.

  • Diabetes can impair a person's mental health and self-esteem, impacting sexual health.

  • Low testosterone levels can cause a reduction in sexual desire and, indirectly or directly, erectile dysfunction. The cause of low blood testosterone in diabetic men is unknown, but it could be related to a decrease in pituitary hormone levels.

How Does Genital Thrush Develop in Diabetic Patients?

Various fungi and bacteria thrive naturally on human skin and inside the body. They and the immune system have a delicate equilibrium that prevents them from wreaking havoc. However, if the balance is tipped, the bacteria or fungus can grow out of control and create an infection. Diabetes impairs the immune system by altering the cells that fight pathogens regularly. The body's ability to defend and mend itself is harmed. As a result, diabetic males are more susceptible to infections of all types, including genital thrush.

What Impact Does Hypertension Have On Male Sexual Health?

  • Decrease in Libido - A decrease in blood flow might also indicate a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are transported throughout the body through the blood. Without this proper distribution, libido may be decreased.

  • Overall Sexual Performance - Men with hypertension who do not receive sufficient therapy risk blood vessel damage, which can lead to hardening and narrowing of their arteries. As a result, their circulatory function deteriorates, particularly the circulation required to maintain an erection, and their sexual performance suffers as a result. Furthermore, hypertension might impair sexual desire by interfering with ejaculation. All of this could cause them to avoid sexual activity and have an impact on the level of intimacy they have with their spouse.

  • Hypertensive Drugs - Although blood pressure medications can enhance general heart health, some of them can also have an effect on a person's sexual life.

What Effect Does Hormonal Imbalance Have On Male Sexual Health?

  • Hormones, which are molecules produced by glands in the endocrine system, are vital to the body's functioning. These molecules carry messages to tissues and organs through the bloodstream. Hormonal imbalances occur when the body has too much or too little of a specific hormone. Metabolism, heart rate, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles, sexual function, growth and development, mood, and body temperature can all be affected by a hormonal imbalance.

  • The male sex hormone testosterone is produced in the testicles. Testosterone levels are crucial for appropriate male sexual development and function.

  • Low testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in strength, vitality, stamina, and sexual performance.

What Effect Does Obesity Have On Male Sexual Health?

Obese males have increased estrogen levels and lower amounts of sperm-producing hormones such as inhibin b and androgen. This can cause problems with sperm count, focus, and motility ability.

What Effect Does Depression Have on Sexual Health?

  • Because of human biology, depression affects sex. It all starts with neurotransmitters, which are molecules found in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that let the brain connect with the sex organs.

  • When the brain perceives desire, the body reacts by boosting blood flow to the sex organs.

  • Arousal is triggered by increased blood flow, which an erection or vaginal lubrication can cause.

  • The sex-related hormones are out of balance in a person who is depressed. As a result, sexual desire is either absent or poor. Low amounts of these substances might also make it challenging to enjoy pleasant feelings.

  • The medications used to treat depression also have side effects on sexual health.

  • While antidepressants have been shown to boost libido, there is still a risk that antidepressants will have additional adverse effects on sexual performance.

How to Deal With Sexual Issues Caused by a Medical Condition?

Addressing the underlying medical ailment usually solves the sexual issues. Other options for treatment include:

  • Changing the prescription may be beneficial if a medicine is the source of the malfunction.

  • Hormone shots, tablets, or creams may help men with hormone deficits.

  • Men with erectile dysfunction may benefit from mechanical assistance such as vacuum devices and penile implants.

  • Learning about sex and sexual actions and responses might help overcome sexual function fears.

  • Therapy with a qualified counselor can help deal with prior sexual trauma, anxiety, dread, guilt, and a negative body image.

Conclusion

Every facet of one's health is linked to another. A medical problem will almost certainly have an impact on sexual wellness. It is a good idea to be aware of changes in sexual function and ask a doctor for help.

Dr. Ramchandra Lamba
Dr. Ramchandra Lamba

Psychiatry

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sexual health
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