7 Common Erectile Dysfunction Myths: Know the Facts
While the information about erectile dysfunction on the internet is vast, so is misinformation - we are exposing the most common ED myths and misconceptions.
Updated: Thursday 15 April 2021
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is widely experienced by men of all ages and seeking erection treatment is a fast, easy and discreet process. However, when it comes to seeking advice and guidance, quite often men feel more comfortable researching online rather than visiting their GP in person. Interestingly, the Mirror recently published a survey revealing that only 28% of men with ED visited their GP to discuss treatment options and gain further advice.
While you shouldn’t be embarrassed about erectile dysfunction, it is understandable to want to seek discreet advice given the personal nature of the condition. While information online about health conditions such as ED is often reliable, it can lead to misinformation which can cause confusion when looking to identify erectile dysfunction treatment.
To help separate fact from fiction when it comes to ED, we’ve rounded up seven of the most common myths and misconceptions on the internet… dispelling them for good!
Myth #1: ED only affects older men
The claim that erectile dysfunction only affects older men is simply untrue. ED is experienced by men of all ages, from early 20s up to the age of 70 and over.
This particular myth is common, mainly due to the relationship between age and the increased prevalence of ED in men. Research does indicate that the likelihood of men experiencing ED increases with age due to physiological changes that take place as part of the ageing process. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol and being obese can also contribute to increasing the risk of experiencing ED.
Myth #2: All erectile dysfunction medications are the same
ED medications share multiple similarities, however, they also differ in many ways too. Commonly known ED treatments such as Viagra (Sildenafil), Viagra Connect, Cialis (Tadalafil) and Spedra are all in the same class of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors. The enzyme PDE5 is responsible for restricting blood flow to the penis following an erection. For men with ED, the activity of this enzyme can make it difficult to get and maintain an erection. PDE5 inhibitors prevent the constriction of blood vessels in the penis allowing an erection to be maintained long enough for sex.
ED medications do vary in some ways, such as how long they take to work and how long they are active in the body for. An example is Viagra, which takes up to 60 minutes to work and remains active in the body for 6 hours. Cialis, an alternative PDE5 inhibitor, has a similar time to take effect but is active in the body for a much longer duration of 36 hours.
Myth #3: Difficulty getting an erection is all in your head
ED is commonly caused by existing medical conditions and physiological factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and as a side effect of certain medications. However, in some instances, it can also be caused by psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety. Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by a combination of both physical and psychological causes.
Given that there are multiple causes of ED, it’s important to seek advice and review your lifestyle to see if you can reduce or rule out some of the common causal factors of erectile dysfunction.
Myth #4: I’ll need to see a specialist to treat ED
ED is a very common condition in men, it’s also easily treatable. While it’s always useful to seek advice from a trusted professional, you do not need to have a face-to-face conversation with a specialist such as a Urologist or GP. Here at Pharmica, you can contact our expert pharmacists online by either calling, messaging or emailing. They can offer quick and reliable advice on which medications may work best for you. We also have a wealth of reliable, expertly written resources in the form of articles and guides to help inform your treatment decision. We offer a fully private, discreet and confidential service so you can order treatment in full confidence.
Myth #5: My lifestyle won’t affect my ED
An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to an increased incidence of ED. Excessive smoking, alcohol consumption and being obese can contribute to causing erectile dysfunction. For example, tobacco in cigarettes is known as a vasoconstrictor which causes the blood vessels to narrow which in turn can lead to reduced blood flow to the penis. Therefore, it is important to try and reduce or stop unhealthy habits altogether to best support your sexual health and ED.
A healthy lifestyle, characterised by exercise and a balanced diet can help to reduce the risk of ED. Physical activity helps to avoid the risk of weight gain and obesity, while also helping to regulate and reduce stress levels. Combined with ED medication, aligning treatment with a healthy lifestyle is optimal to treat ED.
Myth #6: Natural erection remedies will help cure ED
Natural erection remedies such as pomegranate juice, red ginseng and L-arginine often claim to cure ED. However, these claims are often unfounded, with very limited supporting research. Natural remedies can also incur unwanted side effects, especially if taken incorrectly.
The first-line therapy to treat ED is medication; it is safe, clinically proven and cost-effective.
Myth #7: If ED medication doesn't work the first time, it won’t ever work
ED medication is often very reliable. However, the efficacy of ED medication can be influenced significantly by several notable factors which may lead you to think that treatment will not work in the future for you.
Alcohol can influence your ability to get an erection, as a depressant it can dampen the level of stimulation you experience. This is important when it comes to the efficacy of ED medication such as Viagra (Sildenafil) because it requires sexual arousal to work effectively.
It’s also important to wait for the recommended amount of time for erection medication to become active in the body. If you take the ED treatment too close to intercourse it will not be active in your system in time and won’t take effect.
Sexual arousal is also an important factor. A common misconception is that you can take ED medication and it will work without the need for sexual arousal. Sexual arousal is still important to ensure full effectiveness.
If you are seeking treatment for ED, we have a range of clinically proven, effective ED treatments at Pharmica. After selecting your preferred treatment and completing a short medical questionnaire, your ED treatment will be delivered to you quickly and discreetly.
You can visit our ED treatment guide or compare treatments below in our ED treatment summary table below.
Authored by Toby Watson
Pharmica Medical Writer
Toby (BSc) is an experienced medical writer, producing educational articles on many areas of health including sexual health, fitness, nutrition and mental health.
He particularly enjoys debunking misconceptions around heath conditions and their treatments, researching each topic in detail and writing easily-accessible content.