You probably already know that Broccoli, carrots, and oranges are good for you. Yet it’s rarely mentioned that having regular sex is not only fantastically fun, but brilliant for your health! A study at Queens University in Belfast published in the British Medical Journal tracked the sexuality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study compared men of a similar age and health and showed that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm lived twice as long as though who did not enjoy sex.
Science has concluded our ‘Pleasure Pathway’ plays a much greater role in our lives than just the survival of the species. It is now believed this ‘Reward System’ has to be sufficiently stimulated as often as daily, if we are to feel, function and perform to our maximum potential. We don’t have to become “Thrill Seekers” to stimulate our Reward System. Even the wise use of the basic necessities of life, such as eating, drinking and physical exercise stimulate our “Pleasure Pathway.” But staying sexually active has its own set of rewards because you receive so many benefits from one activity. According to recent studies frequent orgasms, at least 100 per year, can increase Life Expectancy by 3 to 8 years.
Regular sexual activity is so beneficial to our health it is amazing how seldom it is discussed within this context. It lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol, and increases circulation. It raises the heartbeat from 70 to 150 beats per minute. Some studies have found that people who indulge in regular sex are half as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don’t have sex at all. Every muscle in the body is worked and toned during sex, particularly the pelvis, buttocks, stomach and arms. Thirty minutes of sex can burn as many as 200 calories. There is substantial evidence it reduces food cravings, helps control your appetite and assists your body in absorbing the nutrients from food more easily. It boosts immunity, aids in tissue repair, increases cognition, reduces stress, improves sleep, promotes strong bones and one study found that regular orgasms even dramatically reduces the incidence of the common cold.
The intimacy and bonding you receive from remaining sexually active are more vital to your long term health than most people think. If you want to live a long and healthy life your biggest enemies are loneliness and boredom. Touch is necessary for all mammals to thrive, babies and animals that are deprived of physical touch rarely develop normally. Frequent touching is one way we enhance each others self esteem and nothing will help you live longer than a strong and vital sense of self worth.
Impotence is an old fashioned, non-specific and pejorative (therefore medically improper) term that is no longer used to describe male sexual problems. The current terminology describing difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection is “erectile dysfunction”. Libido or colloquially sex drive, is a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. Sex drive is determined by biological, psychological, and social factors.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical term that describes the inability to achieve and or maintain an erect penis adequate for sexual function. This condition is one of the most common sexual problems for men and increases with age. It is estimated between 25-40 % men above 35 years of age suffer from ED, although not all men are equally distressed by the problem. However, once a man starts experiencing even mild erectile dysfunction, it is always a progressive condition which worsens with aging as degenerative changes take place in penis and associated blood vessels.
Erectile Dysfunction Can Be a Wake-Up Call That You Are at Risk for Heart Disease(Heart attack)
As the penile arteries are end arteries and are relatively small in comparison with the coronary arteries, they may be more prone to cause ED with even comparatively small amounts of atherosclerosis(blockages).Therefore, generalized atherosclerosis is expected to affect the penile artery long before the coronary arteries (In other words- even a mild erectile dysfunction is an early and reliable sign that the man may suffer from a heart attack within next few years).
Any man taking drugs like Viagra and others should be on a comprehensive program aimed at reversing the underlying cause of impotence, i.e. penile atherosclerosis. Since many men do not get regular checkups, any sign of erectile dysfunction should prompt them to make an appointment for a complete cardiovascular examination.
Most men have difficulty with erections from time to time, yet in some men, it is a regular and more severe problem. Erectile dysfunction often has a major impact on the self-esteem and quality of life not only of the man, but also of his partner. Thus, there are few areas in medicine where so much remains to be done and with so much potential to improve the outlook for the many millions of sufferers as well as for their partners.
Achieving a normal erection is a complex process involving psychological impulses from the brain, adequate levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, a functioning nervous system, and adequate and healthy vascular tissue in the penis.
The simplest way to describe the process of erection is to think of a washing machine. The “on-off” switch (the brain) initiates the process; the wires in the washing machine (the nerves) carry the electrical signal to the pipes (the blood vessels), when an appropriate signal arrives a valve opens to allow water to flow in (the arteries carry blood into the penis) and the drain shuts (the penile veins close). Water flows in and fills the tank (the penis fills with blood and becomes erect) and the wash cycle begins (enjoys sexual activity). At the end of the wash cycle this process reverses, the switch goes to the off position (the brain terminates erection), the valve closes (the arteries markedly decrease blood inflow) and the drain opens draining the wash tank of water (the veins open, blood leaves the penis and erection subsides).
When a man is not sexually aroused, his penis is soft, limp or flaccid. During sexual arousal, nerve messages release chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis. The blood flows into two erection chambers made of spongy tissue (the corpus cavernosum) in the penis. The “smooth muscle” in the erection chambers relaxes, which allows blood to enter and remain in the chambers. The pressure of the blood in the chambers makes the penis firm, producing an erection. After a man has an orgasm,the blood flows out of the chambers and the erection subsides.
Because the development and maintenance of a rigid erection depend on achieving a high intracavernosal pressure, it is not surprising that disorders affecting the peripheral arterial blood flow are strongly associated with erectile dysfunction. The most common cause is atheroma (blockage) involving either the common or internal iliac arteries or their more distal branches (arteries supplying blood to penis).
The risk factors for this are similar to those for coronary artery disease (including smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus and obesity). Narrowing or occlusion of the internal pudendal arteries reduces perfusion pressure to the corpora, resulting in a failure to achieve full rigidity. In the absence of such pressure, the normal veno-occlusive mechanisms cannot operate and, thus, the problem is compounded by secondary venous leakage.
b) Venous leakage-
In the presence of a normal arterial inflow, normal veno-occlusive mechanisms should slow egress of blood from the corpora to a virtual trickle during full erection. Failure to do so results in a flaccid erection and leakage of blood, either into the deep dorsal vein.
Tobacco alters penile arterial hemodynamics, causing erectile dysfunction in a high proportion of smokers; pelvic radiation ( beware of unnecessary X-rays!) leads to fibrosis/stenosis of pelvic arteries and accelerates existing arteriosclerosis; venous occlusive dysfunction may be due to decreased distensibility of corpora cavernosa or inherent abnormalities in tunica albuginea.
c) Intracavernosal(penis) smooth muscle fibrosis-
Full erection depends on achieving complete intracorporeal vasodilatation. This, in turn, depends on normally functioning corporeal smooth muscle. During flaccidity, the oxygen saturation of the blood within the lacunar spaces is low(40 mmHg). During erection, however, the inflow of arterial blood raises the oxygen saturation of lacunar blood to >90 mmHg.
The current evidence suggests that the development of intermittent erections may be an important mechanism for maintaining full oxygenation and, thus, function of cavernosal smooth muscle. Conditions of low oxygenation promote the production and release of transforming growth factor-β1. This molecule, in turn, results in the formation of collagen, with the resultant development of intracorporeal fibrosis .This may help to explain the physiological importance of the phenomenon of intermittent nocturnal penile tumescence or also known as ‘night erections’ ( for penis health-regular sex is important!). This is an important concept because it suggests that loss of erection due to any cause may be compounded by loss of cavernosal smooth muscle function and fibrosis.
The dependence of normal erectile and ejaculatory function on intact neural pathways to and from the brain has already been mentioned. Not surprisingly a considerable number of neurological disorders may result in erectile dysfunction. Those involving the central nervous system include cerebrovascular accidents, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Damage or degeneration of peripheral nerves supplying the corpora also results in erectile dysfunction. Examples include diabetic neuropathy, cauda equina lesions due to a prolapsed intervertebral disk, and iatrogenic neural injury during abdominoperineal resection of the rectum.
Testosterone secreted from the Leydig cells of the testes under the influence of luteinizing hormone (LH) is necessary for normal male sexuality and sexual function. Medications such as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists or stilbestrol, which lower circulating testosterone, result in loss of libido and in erectile dysfunction. Patients who are hypogonadal as a result of pituitary or testicular dysfunction frequently suffer from erectile dysfunction, which responds to treatment with exogenous androgens. The so called ‘male menopause’(andropause), a syndrome very common among men over 35 years of age is frequent cause of erectile dysfunction and, therefore, boosting serum testosterone levels has therapeutic benefits. Androgens are necessary for the support of intracavernosal smooth muscle function and maintenance of NO(nitric oxide) synthase levels. Exogenous androgens are certainly capable of enhancing the libido, which is an important component of sexuality. Low testosterone levels are associated with decreased libido.
Psychological causes were once widely assumed to be the predominant cause of erectile dysfunction. However, if the correct definition of erectile dysfunction is applied, namely, the persistent loss of penile rigidity in all circumstances, then psychogenic erectile dysfunction proves to be less common than its organic counterpart, especially in older men. Psychogenic erectile dysfunction typically occurs in younger men (‘first timers’), and is variable and often associated with performance anxiety. Increased sympathetic vasoconstrictor tone (anxiety) and raised circulating norepinephrine levels are most probably involved. Psychogenic factors also come into play in other forms of erectile dysfunction, as failure of erection itself induces anxiety, loss of confidence and sometimes relationship difficulties. The conviction that an erection will not develop when required, therefore, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Problems with Viagra-
The popularity of Viagra/Cialis/Levitra and the similar class of patented drugs has skyrocketed over the past year. The problem with a short-term solution such as Viagra & similar drugs, is that it encourages people to forget about seeking treatment. Instead of visiting a doctor to address the root cause/causes of the penile dysfunction, most men just pop a pill for instant (thirty minute) results. Viagra does not cure erectile dysfunction, nor does it eradicate the root cause or causes of the real problem. It just temporarily (1-2 hours) increases penile nitric oxide levels for achieving an artificial erection.
Negative aspects of using Viagra/Cialis/Levitra are:
Once a man crosses 35 years( plus or minus 5 years) of age , most if not all men, once in a while get a “revelation” that ‘it is not all the same as it used to be many years ago’. Most men above 35 years of age from time to time experience what I call the ‘Dumb Penis Syndrome’ with following symptoms-difficulty in achieving erection and maintaining it for more than 20 minutes, increased ‘waiting time’ required for second-third time consecutive erections, decreased libido, decreased semen volume, decreased vividity (intensity or quality) of orgasms, loss of early morning erections, and decreased penis sensitivity to touch. Unfortunately, apart from other deleterious health effects, the aging process takes a severe toll on penis health. Erectile dysfunction is frequently regarded as an inevitable part of aging and, thus, as a symptom simply to be accepted with stoicism. However; this assumption is often incorrect. There is an option which you can explore to get back that ‘edge’.
The correct diagnosis of erectile dysfunction depends on an accurate and sympathetically elicited history which recognizes that the physical component may be only part of the problem. The psychological, interpersonal and wider social ramifications also need to be tactfully assessed. Careful physical examination and judicious stepwise use of investigations help to complete the picture.
Physical examination in erectile dysfunction involves careful assessment of the external genitalia to detect the presence of cutaneous penile lesions, a Peyronie’s plaque or testicular abnormalities . A focused neurological evaluation, is performed and peripheral pulses are examined to detect signs of vascular disease. The distribution of body hair may provide a clue to androgen status. Blood pressure is recorded with the patient both standing and lying down, and the presence or absence of obesity and/or gynaecomastia noted. The abdomen is palpated to exclude aortic aneurysm.
Blood and urine testing-
A serum testosterone (best measured as an early-morning sample) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is requested. The free and total testosterone and estradiol tests are needed to make sure that too much testosterone(male hormone) is not being converted into estrogen(female hormone). In addition, if the free testosterone level is low, a prolactin level is measured, as hyperprolactinemia is associated with erectile dysfunction . Prostate function is determined by PSA analysis.
Additional tests depending on each case-
The programme is completely non-surgical, safe, totally painless. It includes combination of following treatment modalities (injections/drips/ local treatment) which effectively eradicate Vasculogenic / Endocrinal causes of erectile dysfunction and reverses the disease process.
At the end of programme patient receives printed booklet on ‘How to maintain the achieved results’ with simple strategies – specific exercises, lifestyle advice, natural ways to enhance testosterone and growth hormone levels, how to prolong the sexual intercourse duration, penis hygiene, specific foods, prohibited food items list, etc.