How to maintain men's sexual health

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Men's sexual health issues change over time, but some basic health care facts are the same at any age. Dr. Brent Ridge explains how to maintain men's sexual health.

How to maintain men's sexual health
  • The best way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is to choose a partner wisely and use a condom — which is 85% effective against STDs.
  • Testosterone production begins decreasing at age 30. Over many years, this decrease can cause symptoms like fatigue, erectile dysfunction and depression.
  • Men should see their doctors when they have erectile dysfunction or loss of sexual appetite.
  • Until the 1980’s, it was commonly thought that erectile dysfunction was a mental condition. Now it’s known to also have physical causes — mainly cardiovascular — that can be treated with drugs.
  • Preventative management is the key to avoid cardiovascular disease, which leads to ED. Men should check their cholesterol and sugars on a regular basis.
  • Erectile dysfunction medications help increase blood flow.
Transcript LISA:  I’m Lisa Birnbach for howdini.com. You know sometime when your watching TV. It seems like the whole world needs Viagra, at least if your watching commercials. Men’s sexual health, how to maintain it, and it just about Viagra? With us is Dr. Brent Ridge of Mt. Sinai Hospital. Hi.

BRENT:  Hi.

LISA: What is the best way Dr. Right to prevent sexually transmitted diseases?

BRENT:  Really you have to be consciences about choosing your sex partners, and then also, as everyone knows, use a condom. A condom is 85% effective at permitting the transmition of disease such as HIV, a serious sexually transmitted disease.  

LISA:  Is there such a syndrome as Male Menopause? One hears about it in the media but I don’t know if it is real or not.

BRENT:  Well, the answer to that is yes and no. You know menopause in women is the specific day when they stop having their menstrual cycle. To men there is no specific day to when they stop producing testosterone. Beginning at the age of thirty, your testosterone begins to decrease about one percent each year. And as a result that cumulative effect of decreased testosterone can become evident later in life. There are symptoms of fatigue, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and loss of muscle mass, loss of appetite, depression.

LISA:  And when men go to the doctor to check on their maleness, its usually libido and erectile function that they go for, and they can be prescribed one of these drugs that advertises so heavily.   

BRENT:  Right, because those symptoms are very specific. When a man sees that he’s having difficulty with an erection, or has a loss of sexual appetite, those are very concerning. And those typically get a man into the doctor’s office. And what we need to know about erectile dysfunction in particular is that there is an interesting history behind that. For most of last century, up until the 1980’s, people always thought erectile dysfunction was a mental condition. Now we know that the vast majority, at least sixty or seventy percent of men with erectile dysfunction is physical. And the vast majority of those are related to cardiovascular disease.

LISA:  Ahh hah. So there should be no stigma?

BRENT:  No stigma at all. And in fact it is just another reason why men should be very consciences about preventative management. So for instance, making sure your cholesterol is under control, making sure your sugar is under control, because those are the things that are going to lead to cardiovascular disease.

LISA:  Now what about those drugs, the ED drugs, Viagra, Cialis-

BRENT:  Well, of course as you’ve pointed out, everyone’s tried those, they’re very enticing drugs. And the way those drugs work is that they, in order to get an erection, the male penis, the arteries in the penis have to dilate. The blood rushes in, and then the veins kind of close behind it to hold the blood in place. So that’s what gives the pennies its rigidity. And those types of medicines like Viagra, they way the help is the blood vessels dilate, the arteries dilate, the blood goes in and they help those veins close off to hold the blood there. So if you are a man who has significant arthrosclerosis, the plaque build up in your artery, that’s preventing blood from flowing into the penis. Viagra can help dilate those arteries so the blood can get in there and help you get an erection.

LISA:  Dr. Ridge thank you so much for joining us.

BRENT:  Your welcome.

LISA:  For howdini.com I’m Lisa Birnbach.
meet theexpert
  • Dr. Brent Ridge

    Dr. Brent Ridge V.P, Healthy Living, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Dr. Brent Ridge specializes in the field of aging and is currently working with Martha Stewart to develop a new facility to manage chronic health conditions and promote healthy aging. He hosts "Ask Dr. Brent" weekly on Martha Stewart Living Radio. more about this expert »

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