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Sexual Health


The Science Behind Erectile Dysfunction

Posted Friday 23 November 2018 15:01 by Tim Deakin in Erectile Dysfunction

Despite being one of the most common sexual health concerns for men, many people remain in the dark about what actually causes erectile dysfunction

With the holiday season fast approaching, many men are facing the reality of another festive period with erectile dysfunction. This can put a serious dampener on celebrations, and cause men to lose confidence and feel alone.

Yet, it is important to state that impotence is a widespread problem that can affect many men at some point in their life. One study from the Co-Op Pharmacy found that impotence affects 4.3 million men in the UK, the equivalent of one in five British men. But for such a common condition, many men are still unsure about what is actually at the root of their erectile problems. Understanding the condition is the first step to treating it effectively, which is why we’re here to clarify the science behind erectile dysfunction. Let’s take a look.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

An erection occurs when blood fills the penile chambers. This causes the penis to become enlarged and firm. However, in order to this to happen, a complex series of processes need to take place. An erection requires the release of a chemical called cGMP. This relaxes the blood vessels in the penis and makes it easier for blood to enter the penis and cause an erection.

When orgasm occurs and blood begins to drain from the area, an enzyme called PDE-5 is released to break down the cGMP chemical. However, in some men the PDE-5 enzyme is too active, stopping cGMP from widening the blood vessels before orgasm occurs. This makes it harder for men to reach and sustain a state of erection. This lies at the root of erectile dysfunction.

How does treatment work?

Once you understand the science behind the causes of erectile dysfunction, it becomes easier to understand how effective medication can work to treat the condition. Erectile dysfunction treatments broadly fall under the category of PDE-5 inhibitors. As the name suggests, these treatments inhibit the activity of the PDE-5 enzyme and subdue it, allowing the cGMP chemical to do its job properly. This intervention stops the blood vessels in the penis from contracting and makes it significantly easier to achieve and maintain an erection.

Popular PDE-5 inhibitors include treatments such as Sildenafil, Spedra, Levitra and, of course, Viagra.

Erectile dysfunction and mental health

While the bodily processes behind erectile dysfunction are largely physical, your mental health can play a huge part in increasing your symptoms.

Anxiety and depression can be significant factors in causing erectile dysfunction, and in some cases treating these wider conditions is necessary in order to improve your erectile issues. For most people, erectile dysfunction is the result of a vicious cycle between mental and physical health. Most erectile dysfunction is caused by physical factors, but when it occurs it can significantly increase feelings of performance anxiety, depression and anxiety in general. This can serve to make the condition even worse.

Treating the mental health aspects of erectile dysfunction can consist of something as simple as talking to your partner. Working together to make the bedroom a relaxing, inviting space rather than a pressurised one can be hugely important. Sexual health therapy or couples therapy can also be beneficial.

Certain physical health concerns can also increase your likelihood of suffering from erectile dysfunction, including diabetes. Poor lifestyle choices such as a bad diet, heavy drinking and smoking can also play a part in the condition.

This winter, don’t let erectile dysfunction stop you getting cosy in the bedroom. Explore the range of effective erectile dysfunction medications available from Express Pharmacy. For further guidance and support, get in touch with our team today using our discreet live chat service.


6 Myths About Premature Ejaculation

Posted Wednesday 31 October 2018 15:57 by Tim Deakin in Premature Ejaculation

It’s the most common sexual condition affecting men, but how much do you really know about premature ejaculation?

Defined loosely as when a man ejaculates too quickly during sexual intercourse, premature ejaculation is the most common ejaculation problem for men. However, it can be difficult to define. This is because quite simply there is no cast-iron definition of how long sex should last, and it’s up to each individual man or couple to decide whether they are happy with the length of their intercourse. One study of 500 couples found that the average time taken to ejaculate was around five and a half minutes.

Premature ejaculation can be caused by a variety of factors, both physical and psychological. It could be the result of prostate problems, thyroid problems or the effects of recreational drugs. Likewise, it could be due to mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, stress or problems within the relationship.

As such a vague condition, it can be difficult to really understand premature ejaculation. Thankfully, we’re here to help you bust some myths. Let’s take a look.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation sufferers are very anxious people’

REALITY: Not necessarily

Although anxiety can indeed be a factor in premature ejaculation, it is not a set rule that premature ejaculation sufferers also live with anxiety. In fact, one Belgian survey found that sufferers have the same average levels of anxiety as the wider population. This is because there is a distinction to be made between an anxiety disorder and sex-specific stress. The latter, just like any other stress, is something that can be worked on fairly smoothly by talking through issues with partners, trying different positions and not taking things too seriously.

PERCEPTION: ‘People with premature ejaculation experience it all the time’

REALITY: False

Premature ejaculation is more often than not a situational condition, meaning the circumstances surrounding intercourse have a significant part to play in the duration of a man’s performance. Studies show that when men feel more relaxed – usually with a long-term partner – they tend to perform for longer, while more casual relations can lead to increased feelings of stress and excitement which can bring on premature ejaculation. Likewise, life stressors like family issues or money troubles can also bring on the condition.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation is a young man’s problem’

REALITY: False

It’s widely thought that premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction exclusively affect men on opposite ends of the age-scale (i.e. young people suffer from PE and old people suffer from ED). In actual fact, premature ejaculation can strike at any age. One survey found that the rate of sufferers remains fairly steady at 25-30% from teens to age 50.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation is just as distressing for partners as it is for sufferers’

REALITY: Generally false

Men regularly project their premature ejaculation anxieties onto their partners, but research actually shows that partners don’t care as much as you might think. For women especially, the rate of orgasm in sex in general is only around 25%, with traditional methods often not doing enough to bring about climax on their own. Other methods are therefore welcomed by many women, and these don’t often need men to maintain an erection.

PERCEPTION: ‘If you can’t perform for an extended period of time, you have premature ejaculation’

REALITY: False

As we said earlier, premature ejaculation is hard to define. Consequently, this leads many men to assume they have it just because they can’t last for extended periods of time. The common consensus among health professionals is that being unable to perform for more than two minutes is an indicator of premature ejaculation. However, many men that last longer than this still assume they are sufferers.

PERCEPTION ‘There is effective treatment for premature ejaculation available’

REALITY: True!

For those who do indeed live with premature ejaculation, effective and safe treatment is available. Priligy and Emla are two proven treatments for the condition that can be prescribed by Express Pharmacy.

For more information on the premature ejaculation treatment available, contact the team of NHS-approved pharmacists at Express Pharmacy today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or get in touch via our discreet online Live Chat service.


6 Myths About Emergency Contraception Made Clear

Posted Tuesday 27 February 2018 10:21 by Tim Deakin in Emergency Contraception

There is a lot of information out there about emergency contraception. But how do you know what to believe?

Emergency contraception is an effective method of ensuring that sexual intercourse doesn’t result in pregnancy, especially following unprotected sex. Even if other contraceptive methods are used, using the morning after pill can help provide extra protection for any margin of error.

However, many people get confused about the prospect of using emergency contraception, and there is a lot of misinformation fuelling the fire. When should you use it? What are your options? Is it safe? Let’s myth-bust some common misconceptions about emergency contraception.

“There is only one option when it comes emergency contraception”

Actually, there are several emergency contraception options out there which can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are two main forms of emergency contraception: the emergency IUD (otherwise known as the emergency coil) and the morning after pill. Whilst the morning after pill is the more commonly used of the two, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional about which option is best for your specific circumstances.

There are also options within these options too. Both Levonelle and ellaOne are popular and effective emergency contraception tablets.

“Emergency contraception can terminate a pregnancy”

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are two completely different kinds of medication and should never be used interchangeably. If you are already confirmed to be pregnant, emergency contraception like the morning after pill will make no difference to the development of your pregnancy. It should only be used to prevent pregnancy.

“Emergency contraception affects your future fertility”

There is no evidence to suggest that even multiple uses of the morning after pill can affect your fertility in the long term. It will not reduce your future chances of falling pregnant. Even if you have unprotected sex again several days after taking the contraception there is no evidence that your chances of falling pregnant will be any lower.

“You will experience a lot of unpleasant side effects”

Like many medications, emergency contraception carries with it the risk of experiencing side effects. However, like many medications, most people will be able to use the treatment without experiencing any negative symptoms at all. If you do experience side effects, they will most likely be mild and temporary.

Possible side effects of the morning after pill include headaches, nausea, stomach pain and irregular menstrual flow.

“It only works if you take it straight after sexual intercourse”

Modern emergency contraceptive treatments like Levonelle and ellaOne have an extended period of effectiveness, meaning you can take them up to 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex and still reduce your chances of falling pregnant.

However, it is true that the sooner you take emergency contraception, the more effective it is. EllaOne has been shown to be around 98% effective if taken within twelve hours of sexual intercourse, but can be taken anytime up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.

Similarly, Levonelle is 95% effective if taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex, 85% if taken between 12 and 24 hours after sex, 75% effective if taken between 24 and 48 hours after sex and 58% effective if taken between 48 and 72 hours after sex.

“Emergency contraception is difficult to get”

Research suggests that only 7% of women are aware of just how simple it is to acquire emergency contraception. It can be obtained directly from your local pharmacy, from a sexual health clinic, your GP or a walk-in centre. You can even obtain it without leaving the house by ordering from trusted online pharmacies like Express Pharmacy.

For treatment and advice on emergency contraception and other healthcare queries, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

Related Products: Levonelle ellaOne

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