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10/07/2015 07:37 am ET

5 Myths About Erectile Dysfunction We Should All Stop Believing

No, it doesn't mean you are too old for sex.
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When a man starts to say things in the bedroom along the lines of, "I’m stressed out," "just too tired tonight, I guess," or "I'm too old for a sex life," they are wrong on all accounts, says the medical director of  Physicians Erectile Dysfunction Centers. 

While the problem of impotence is very real, Dr. Michael Trombley, Medical Director of the Physicians E.D. Centers, says the common reasons why men believe they have erectile dysfunction are simply myths.

Here are five of them:

1. Erectile Dysfunction is part of the normal aging process.

Erectile dysfunction is not normal and even more than that, it could suggest serious underlying medical concerns, said Trombley. ED has a strong association to cardiovascular disease.  A recent study found that ED may precede a patient's heart attack by five years -- so consider it a possible warning sign and get checked out. Diabetes and high blood pressure have also been linked to ED. 

2. You are the only person suffering from it.

ED is more common than people realize. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 percent of men age 40 and between 15 percent and 25 percent of men age 65 experience ED on a long-term basis.

3. Once it starts, you can't reverse it.

With tailored medical treatments, a return of function certainly occurs in many cases. Improving heart health by losing weight, exercising more and quitting smoking generally enhance erectile performance as well as improve overall health. Sex therapy counseling can also help if the underlying cause is pyschological.

The first step is being examined by a doctor.

4. It's all in your head.

No, actually it may be in other parts of your bodily system. The Mayo Clinic notes that male sexual arousal is a "complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these." Don't underestimate stress and mental health concerns causing or worsening erectile dysfunction.

Trombley notes that for most men, there is an underlying physiological cause for their ED. These include heart disease, clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis), high cholesterol, obesity, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, certain prescription medications, tobacco use, alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, sleep disorders and more.

5. Surgery or pills are the only treatment options.

The popularly prescribed ED drugs don't work for everyone, and sometimes work just for awhile. "Surgery should always be a last resort as it can end up damaging other bodily functions and there is no guarantee it will work," Trombley said. There are physicians who are highly trained to diagnose, treat, and make a patient very comfortable in addressing this problem, he said.  

In the end, if you have any concerns at all, see a doctor.

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