By Terri-Ann Williams
• It’s completely normal for men to occasionally struggle when it comes to getting an erection.
Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, and it’s usually caused by anxiety, stress or too much booze, the NHS says.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not distressing, and being unable to stand to attention, for some men, can really lower their confidence.
Speaking to The Sun, consultant urological surgeon at Spire Southampton Hospital, Mr Rowland Rees said this can spill over into both your relationship and sex life.
“If you’re persistently struggling to get or maintain an erection, it is important to see your GP as you may have an underlying health condition that needs treatment,” he warned.
However, if you’re only occasionally struggling, Mr Rees said there are easy things you can do now to help.
- Drink less booze
Many people have had the experience of going on a big night out, taking a partner home but not being able to get it up.
That’s because overindulging on booze can make it difficult to both get and maintain an erection, Mr Rees said.
For general well-being, it’s best to stick to the NHS guidelines of drinking less than 14 units of alcohol each week, he added.
The NHS says a single small shot of spirits is one unit, while a bottle of lager, beer or cider of ABV 5 per cent, is 1.7 units.
“Anxiety, being overweight and feeling stressed can all affect your ability to get and maintain an erection.
“Regular exercise can help with all of these factors,” Mr Rees said.
However, if you cycle for more than three hours a week and are struggling to get or maintain an erection, take a break from cycling and try another activity to see if this helps, he added.
- Lose weight
Mr Rees explained that being overweight or obese is linked to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
Following a healthy diet, as well as taking up regular exercise, can help you lose excess weight, he said.
- Quit smoking
Smoking reduces the blood supply to all of your organs, including your penis, which can consequently make it more difficult to get or maintain an erection, the expert explained.
“Men who smoke are, therefore, more likely to have erectile dysfunction.
“If you’re struggling to quit smoking, speak to your GP about access to local stop-smoking services, he added.
The NHS states that there are a variety of treatments for erectile dysfunction – this is dependent on the cause.
If you’ve got a narrowing of the penis blood vessels, this could be caused by high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
In this case, it’s likely you’ll be prescribed medicine to lower blood pressure or statins to lower cholesterol.
Some people struggle due to hormone issues and if this is the case, your GP will discuss hormone replacement, such as testosterone.
Side effects from medication can also make it difficult for some people to get an erection, if it’s possible you can discuss a change in prescription with your GP.