Although most men are reluctant to talk about it, an estimated one in 10 is affected by erectile dysfunction. Others may have difficulties with premature or delayed ejaculation or a loss of sexual desire.
Fortunately, an increasing number of men are now overcoming their feelings of embarrassment and seeking help.
The range of treatments available is also increasing dramatically. And since many of the orthodox medical responses remain invasive or carry risky side-effects, it is well worth considering the alternative options.
Erectile dysfunction - or ED - is the repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
It is difficult to estimate how many men it affects. However, it is believed about 5% of 40 year old men and up to 25% of 65 year old men may suffer from this condition.
"If stress is the cause, then the prognosis is good. If someone is impotent because of diabetes or atherosclerosis, then the problem is more complex and there will be slower response"
An erection occurs when a man becomes sexually aroused. Impulses from the brain and local nerves cause muscles in the corpora cavernosa, (penile muscles) to relax, allowing blood to flow in and fill the spaces within the spongy tissue.
The pressure in the corpora cavernosa makes the penis expand and a membrane called the tunica albuginea helps trap the blood, thereby sustaining erection.
The erection is lost when the muscles contract to stop blood flowing into the penis, and open outflow channels.
An erection is sustained and successful when a sequence of events occurs in a precise fashion. Anything that disrupts this sequence can lead to problems - either getting the erection or keeping it.
Common causes of ED include damage to the tissues, nerves, arteries, muscles or fibrous tissue near the penis. ED could also be linked to conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and prostate cancer.
Physical injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder or pelvis can also be contributory factors.
Any male may suffer from erectile dysfunction at some point in his life. Experts believe that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem, and fear of sexual failure may affect and cause temporary sexual dysfunction.
Side effects of some medications, including blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants and tranquilisers may also cause this condition.
There is a range of orthodox ways to treat erectile dysfunction although doctors may consider psychotherapy for patients. Other alternatives include drugs, surgery or herbal remedies.
"The likely success of herbal remedies depends on the nature and origin of the sexual problems", says an herbal practitioner for the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH).
"It stress is the cause, then the prognosis is good. If someone is impotent because of diabetes or atherosclerosis, then the problem is more complex and there will be slower response" he added.
Several herbs may be useful for strengthening and restoring the male reproductive system and may be effective for erectile dysfunction.
- Yohimbine - A nature-based drug derived from the bark of tree yohimbine tree.
- Korean-red ginseng - Traditionally used for male impotence. though no current studies support this usage.
- Tongkat Ali - Herbal aphrodisiac from the root plant found in South East Asia.
- Swiss oats - Green oats and nettles found in Switzerland and renowned for their effects on sexual energy.
- Jamu - Traditional, Indonesian natural medicinal concoction made with herbs.
- Butea Superba- Herb extract found in Thailand that is used as a sex enhancer, it is found to contain bioflavonoids which may support blood flow and promote normal sexual function and erectile capacity. It can be taken orally as a supplementary health or product, or topically for external application.
Other alternative therapies include acupuncture, hypnosis, pelvic floor exercises, and low-frequency electric currents, and mere.
It is important to consult a physician about erectile dysfunction to determine the cause, correct any underlying factor, and receive appropriate treatment.
Nutritional and lifestyle choices that can contribute to difficulties achieving and maintaining an erection include long-term alcohol consumption, smoking and poor nutritional choices (i.e., diet of processed foods, fast foods, and refined foods).
Poor dietary choices may lead to vascular disease (the most common cause of ED), which interferes with the erection process by restricting blood flow to the penis.
It is important to have a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables and to consume sufficient vitamins and minerals, including zinc.
Vitroman Powerplus is a supplement said to boost or enhance men's sexual health. Butea superba extracted from the roots of a herb grown in Thailand - is its main ingredient and it contains fiavonoids and fiavonoid glycosides.
Studies relating to ED or erectile dysfunction have shown that high fiavonoid and fiavonoid glycoside content tend to support blood flow, thus helping to improve sexual function and erectile capacity.
Unlike prescribed drugs, Vitroman Powerplus does not seem to give rise to increased heart burn, heart beat, hypertension, or headaches when consumed. A milder herbal supplement for men, Vitroman Powerplus has come to be regarded as a natural alternative remedy.
A bottle (60 capsules) of Vitroman Powerplus is sold at $60.00 at selected shops and medical halls. For further information, call 65625526.