Category: <span>Health</span>

Erectile dysfunction can be dealt with by a sexologist

Erection Problems – ‘Erectile Dysfunction’

Most men experience short lived or unexpected problems attaining or maintaining an erection at various times in their adult years. It is important NOT to panic or fear the worst with any erection problem.

As a sexologist, I have met many men in my consulting rooms who have been extremely worried, believing that their erectile functioning is ‘at the beginning of the end’. My recommendation is that a man seek help very promptly for any erection concerns so that negative or pessimistic thoughts do not take hold in his mind.

It is known that there are various risk factors for developing ‘erectile dysfunction’ – that is, problems with erections. Even when a man has several risk factors, he is advised to have his particular problem and medical status assessed by an experienced doctor who has a positive and optimistic approach.

The presence of risk factors in themselves do not necessarily condemn a man to ongoing or permanent erection problems. Therefore, following a medical assessment, the aim is to work toward achieving the best possible improvement of erections for the enjoyment of the man’s sexual experiences with his partner. Men who have no current partner and who need sexual confidence can benefit from seeking help for their erectile problems .

This is a wonderful example: Over 20 years ago, a 58 year old insulin-dependent diabetic man consulted me about ‘failing’ erections. This form of diabetes is known to be a very significant risk factor for problems with erections in the long term. Several doctors told him that what he was experiencing (very poor erections and an inability to have intercourse) was a permanent effect of his diabetes and that this was ‘as good as it could get’. This was well before Viagra came on the market. I worked with this man and his partner, suggesting sexual/behavioural techniques for them to practice together. The couple were delighted to experience a significant improvement of erections sufficient for intercourse and more enjoyable sexual experiences. Through various exercises over some weeks, the man was able to relax and focus enough in ways that supported the best erectile functioning his body was capable of.

The main medical risk factors for erectile dysfunction/problems are those that affect the cardiovascular system: diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and high cholesterol. A number of other medical conditions and medications can affect erectile functioning – this is a topic in itself!

Significant lifestyle risk factors include smoking, obesity, high alcohol intake, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and certain recreational drugs.

Men who have the ‘metabolic syndrome’: (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, an excess of body fat around the waist and high cholesterol levels) have a greater risk of a number of medical conditions, particularly heart disease. Metabolic syndrome increases a man’s risk for developing erectile dysfunction.

Viewed another way, men who have erection problems need to be assessed by a doctor for their general cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) health. As erection difficulties may suggest damage to the arteries (blood vessels) supplying the areas that support erections, other areas in the body (including blood vessels supplying the heart) may also be damaged.

There are many statistics about the percentages of men who experience ‘erectile dysfunction’ at various ages. In general, the older a man is, the more risk he has for developing erection problems. However, for the individual man, statistics may not be helpful – and may even cause him to be disheartened and to give up hope.

I strongly encourage any man who is experiencing problems with erections to seek a medical opinion in order to look after his health and to take positive action.

Please feel free to book in with me, Dr Marie Tudor at ‘Adelaide Sex Therapy’ if you would like me to assess your particular symptoms. I am always keen to liaise with GP’s to ensure the best possible health outcomes for people.

Click here to learn more about erectile dysfunction and how I, as a sexologist can help.

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The low down on the latest libido drug for women, sometimes referred to as female Viagra

USA: The FDA approves first ‘libido’ drug for women

The latest news about a new drug recently approved in the USA to help women and their sexual desire.

Since the availability of Viagra for men more than 10 years ago, many women have been hoping for a treatment for their sexual needs. On August 18th 2015 the FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved ‘Addyi’ (flibanserin) to treat ‘acquired, generalised hypoactive sexual desire disorder’ (HSDD) in premenopausal women.

The quest for the approval of flibanserin took about five years, 2 rejected FDA applications, a change of drug company ownership and the inception of an online action group called ‘Even the Score’ (‘Women’s Sexual Health Equity’). The process became heavily politicised, with ‘Even the Score’ declaring that, from a feminist perspective, it is unfair that men have several dozen medications to help their sexual problems and women have none.

Dr Leonore Tiefer, associate professor of psychiatry at New York University has been a vocal critic of the medicalisation of women’s sexual concerns for years. I remember her speaking about this very topic at the World Association of Sexology Congress in Montreal in 2005. Dr Tiefer asserts that ‘womens’ sexual issues shouldn’t be treated with a daily dose of medication that changes the chemistry of the brain, but should be prevented through sexual education and relationships that are equal’. I believe that Dr Tiefer’s view is important. Drugs need to be approved on the basis of safety and need and not due to the pressure of public relations activities driven by the very drug companies who are seeking to profit from drug sales.

Flibanserin was developed as an antidepressant but never used for this purpose. It’s action is within the brain upon the neurotransmitters and needs to be taken daily. It can take up to several months before an improvement of sexual desire is noticed – and the improvement has been described as ‘less than one extra satisfying sexual experience per month’. Flibanserin is therefore  NOT a ‘Pink Viagra’. Viagra is a drug that is taken only when a man wants to improve the quality of his erection. A man needs to have a significant desire for sex for Viagra to be able to boost his ‘hydraulics’!

Why was there such a long drawn out process to have this drug approved?

Flibanserin has significant side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, nausea and fatigue. More concerning is the potential for a woman to faint and lose consciousness due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. This can happen when flibanserin is taken with alcohol or with medications that use the same processing pathways in the liver. There is also no data available about possible long term side effects. The FDA has instructed Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc. to conduct more comprehensive tests on flibanserin (Addyi) as a condition of it’s approval for use in the USA.

Women who have a concern about loss of libido, no desire for sex or a lower sexual desire than their partner need not despair that this medication is not available in Australia. Even if it were available, having done my research, I would be prescribing it in a very limited way. Sexual desire (or ‘libido’) is dependent on many factors. The person needs to address any significant medical conditions, mental health issues and relationship concerns.

At least a quarter of the people who consult me have sexual desire issues. I am well placed with my knowledge and experience to help you and your partner find solutions to these and any other sexual or relationship concerns. Please feel welcome to phone for an appointment with me. It is my pleasure to help couples experience joy and fulfilment in their intimate relationships.


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sex can be good for your health

Sex is good for your health

How often are we reminded about the ‘dangers’ of sex? It can start at school when messages about sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unplanned pregnancies are emphasised rather than the pleasures that can be experienced during sex. People are often fearful of returning to their usual sex lives after heart attacks or strokes. Many people with very serious or life threatening illnesses have told me their questions about sexual problems were swept aside as their medical needs were seen as more pressing by their specialists.

At the 22nd Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health in Singapore (July 2015) a whole symposium was dedicated to: ‘The Health Benefits of Sexual Expression’.

Dr Woet L. Gianotten of De Trappenberg, Centre for Physical Rehabilitation, Huizen, the Netherlands spoke of our need as health professionals to view the health benefits of sexuality rather than just dealing with the associated diseases and problems.

Dr Gianotten and his team analysed all available journal articles that examined the potential long-term benefits of sexual expression.

These are some of the aspects of sexuality or sexual experience that were found to be beneficial for physical health:

  • increased longevity for men who have more frequent intercourse and for women with a greater past enjoyment of sexual intercourse.
  • a decrease in cardiovascular ‘events’; an Israeli study found that women with ‘poor sex lives’ were more prone to have heart attacks
  • a (5%) decrease in prostate cancer for men who had a history of more frequent ejaculations
  • a decrease in vaginal atrophy (‘thinning and drying) for post menopausal women who continue to have intercourse
  • a slowing down of cognitive decline
  • contact with semen was found to be ‘mood enhancing’
  • a study in Japan found that intimate kissing reduced the incidence of allergic skin conditions
  • he release of the neurotransmitter ‘Oxytocin’ (during massage, touch, breast stimulation and sex) can increase one’s pain threshold, reduce anxiety levels as well as giving a feeling of closeness and trust with one’s partner.
  • the endorphins (opiate related ‘happy hormones’ released during genital stimulation can also increase pain thresholds, hence reducing the experience of pain
  • Orgasm has been found to relieve 50% of migraines (I’m already in pain, why not have sex – it may help!!)
  • More frequent sex may help menstrual cycles for a particular woman
  • more sex in pregnancy can result in a reduced incidence of premature AND delayed deliveries AND a better quality of the post partum relationship of the couple

Dr Gianotten’s conclusion was that ‘sexuality is more healthy than dangerous’!

We need to view sex and sexuality with these positive messages in mind. If you are concerned about your health and your sexual experience and are unsure about the best way to seek help, please feel free to contact me via Email, leave a message for me to return a call to you or by booking in for an appointment.


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