Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day: Here’s why erectile dysfunction doesn’t mean infertility

There is a common myth among people that erectile dysfunction (ED) is synonymous with infertility. However, ED doesn’t mean infertility but it can cause infertility. It is a symptom and not a disease. Thus, getting to the root cause of the condition can help to deal with infertility that is seen due to it. There are many causes of infertility and ED is just one factor contributing to it.

“Men usually don’t speak about it as they feel low self-esteem. Remember, you should not hesitate to consult a doctor if you have erectile dysfunction and must seek prompt medical attention when advised,” said Dr Pavan Devendra Bendale, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Pune.

This Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day, observed annually on February 12, here’s all you need to know about ED and infertility relation.

What is ED?

Erectile dysfunction, a common occurrence in majority of men, means a man will be unable to obtain and maintain an erection for long period in order to
have sexual intercourse. This can also cause low libido. “ED and symptoms of infertility are considered as same but that is not at all true. If a man has erectile dysfunction then that doesn’t mean he cannot be a father,” said Dr Bendale.

stressed man Erectile dysfunction is a common occurrence in majority of men. (Source: Pexels)

Amongst many causes of the condition, few are high blood sugar, cholesterol and high blood pressure. Other causes can be attributed to heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, excess alcohol ingestion, drugs and smoking, sleep disorders, cancer treatments and genital injuries. Additionally, psychological factors such as depression and stress can also be the underlying factors.

Decoding the connection between ED and fertility

ED will not have any direct implications on fertility. But, having it can make it difficult for a couple to conceive and embrace parenthood. “ED can lead to
stress, anxiety, depression, communication problems, guilt, shame, embarrassment, poor-self esteem in a man and he will avoid having sexual intercourse. ED is one of the causes of male infertility because there is ineffective ejaculation, which is necessary for the sperm to enter the vaginal canal and reach the woman’s egg
whereas, infertility itself raises chances of anxiety and depression that in turn causes ED,” Dr Bendale said.

How to combat ED?

A few things which will help combat ED are, having a healthy lifestyle, managing your diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure levels with the help of an expert. Eat a well-balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise daily. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs as these things can have a negative impact on the sperms. You should de-stress yourself by yoga, meditation, or any other activity that you like, mentioned Dr Bendale.

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