You have depression, and one of the results has, unfortunately, come in the form of erectile dysfunction (ED). Or, perhaps you have ED that’s related to your vascular health or age, and it’s causing a good deal of stress and anxiety, which is only exacerbating the problem.
The connection between your mental and emotional health and ED is a strong one and accounts for its fair share of the 30 million men in the United States who struggle with the condition.
As an ED expert, Dr. Robert Cornell understands the close ties between your psychological health and sexual dysfunction, and he’s here to help you untangle them so you can enjoy a better sex life.
In the following blog post, we explore the two-way connection between ED and your mental and emotional health.
Understanding how an erection occurs
To better understand ED, it’s important to understand the chain of events that lead to an erection. Most erections start with a sensation or a thought that leads to arousal. From there, your brain sends chemical messengers to relax the muscles in your penis to allow more blood to flow in, which is what creates the erection.
In this sequence alone, you can see that there are a number of different areas of your health that are involved, including:
- Sensory nervous system
A dysfunction in any of these areas can prevent you from achieving and/or maintaining an erection, which is the definition of ED.
How your mental and emotional health can lead to ED
Your brain plays a large role in your ability to achieve an erection, but if it’s overshadowed by a mood or anxiety disorder, you can encounter ED.
Research shows that depression and ED are often linked. In fact, one study found that 4 out of 5 men with ED also showed symptoms of depression.
Another study, “identified a high prevalence of ED in the anxiety disorder population and [found] evidence that suggests ED may be more severe in this population.”
Given the role that your brain plays in your ability to function sexually, it makes sense that disorders that affect your brain, such as anxiety and depression, can also impact your sexual health.
When ED affects your mental and emotional health
If your ED is tied to something other than your emotional or mental health, a connection can still form. When you have ED, it can cause stress and anxiety and, as we’ve seen, these conditions often serve to worsen ED. In other words, having ED can create a vicious cycle that draws in many areas of your health, and it can be a hard cycle to break.
Treating your ED
To put an end to the cycle of ED, a great first step is to come see us so we can thoroughly evaluate your health to determine the cause of your problem.
If we find that your ED stems from a cardiovascular or hormonal issue, we can take steps to improve these areas of your health to promote better sexual function.
If, on the other hand, we determine that your ED is psychological, we can provide you with some recommendations for improving your mental and emotional health.
Rest assured, no matter the underlying cause of your ED there are solutions that can restore your sex life.
To learn more, contact our office in Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.