Both erectile dysfunction and depression spell bad news for men. What’s even worse is that if you’re depressed, you’re most likely to develop erectile dysfunction. And if you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction, you’ll most likely become depressed.
Escaping from this vicious cycle is a huge challenge. But it doesn’t mean that your depression can’t be cured or that your erectile function can’t be improved. Understanding how depression and erectile dysfunction are interlinked can help you fight both.
Interrelated Risk Factors
The association between depression and erectile dysfunction is simple. Each is a risk factor for the other condition. For men with depression, their risks of developing erectile dysfunction increase by almost 40%. For men with erectile dysfunction, their risks of becoming depressed increase by a whopping 192%.
Because of these interrelated risk factors, experts are recommending that men with depression should be screened for impotence. Likewise, men who are having problems with their erectile functions should be screened for depression.
The mechanisms underlying the relationship between depression and erectile dysfunction are not yet fully established. Nevertheless, scientific studies suggest that there are behavioral as well as biological factors that link the two conditions together.
Men with depression have a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts. In addition, they’re also likely to be less confident. This can result in performance anxiety which can then lead to increased erectile and sexual performance problems.
On the biological side, depression, through its effects on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, can cause poor cavernosal muscle relaxation in the penis. In short, depression can cause impediments to your penile blood flow, which makes it difficult for you to achieve erections.
In addition, antidepressant medications used to treat major depressive disorder are also known to cause sexual dysfunction, which can further exacerbate the problem.
Antidepressant Medications Have Adverse Sexual Effects
For patients with major depressive disorder, the standard treatments include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These antidepressant medications help relieve the symptoms of depression and boost the patient’s mood.
To be specific, SSRIs raise your serotonin levels so that you can feel calm and less anxious. However, serotonin actually has inhibitory effects on your sexual responses. So, when your serotonin levels are high, you’ll feel less predisposed to having sex. It’s like having the neurotransmitters in your body telling your penis to calm down and not to become erect.
SNRIs, on the other hand, work by preventing both serotonin and norepinephrine from getting reabsorbed by the cells that released them. Just like serotonin, norepinephrine also plays an inhibitory role with regard to your sexual functions. Norepinephrine is actually involved in the regulation of your erections and orgasms.
When your sympathetic nerves release norepinephrine, it makes your erection go away by causing your penile corpus cavernosa smooth muscles and penile blood vessels to contract.
Hence, if you’re taking SNRIs, it will be very difficult for you to achieve or maintain erections due to the combined effects of increased serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your body.
Unfortunately, erectile dysfunction is not the only adverse sexual effect of antidepressant medications. Both men and women who take antidepressant medications often experience decreased sexual desire. These drugs can also cause delayed orgasms and anorgasmia or the inability to achieve orgasms.
Psychological Effects of Erectile Dysfunction
It can’t be denied that losing your ability to achieve erections can affect you psychologically. Even if you only feel a little bit frustrated by your impotence, that is still considered part of the psychological effects of erectile dysfunction.
It’s common for men suffering from erectile dysfunction to feel stressed, sad, and even angry. Oftentimes, erectile dysfunction also affects one’s self-esteem, confidence level, and even one’s sense of manliness. This is especially true for men who are still in their 30s or 40s but are already afflicted with erectile dysfunction.
When you’re still that young, you wouldn’t expect to have to deal with disorders and diseases that are typically associated with advanced years. Being impotent at such a young age can naturally make you feel resentful.
Even when you’re already in your 60s, erectile dysfunction can still hit you hard. No matter what your age is, erectile dysfunction can have various psychological impacts on you. And it can affect your relationships, too. All these negative emotions caused by erectile dysfunction may lead to depression.
Some of the most common signs of depression include fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, try to talk to your healthcare provider about it. Nipping depression in the bud can help prevent your erectile dysfunction from worsening, so it’s really best to have it diagnosed and treated right away.
Overcoming Depression and Erectile Dysfunction
Whether it’s depression, erectile dysfunction, or both, it’s always a good thing to seek medical attention. At the very least, you can talk to your healthcare provider and learn about what to expect and how your condition may be treated.
Of course, you can also seek alternative ways to treat your condition. For instance, you can try taking supplements like mood enhancers or male sex enhancement supplements. There’s a lot of scientific evidence indicating that herbal remedies can help improve both depression and erectile dysfunction.
For instance, maca is a superfood that is known to have antidepressant effects. Considered an adaptogen, maca can help promote your body’s response to anxiety and depression.
Even better, maca is also scientifically proven to help treat erectile dysfunction. Thus, by taking maca supplements, you improve your chances of overcoming both erectile dysfunction and depression.
You may be able to recover from depression and erectile dysfunction if you take Malegenix, a male sex enhancement supplement that’s safe and effective. Malegenix contains maca as well as other natural remedies for erectile dysfunction like tongkat ali.
Scientifically referred to as Eurycoma longifolia, tongkat ali is a proven adaptogen that can help restore your cortisol-testosterone hormonal balance. Because of this property, tongkat ali is able to help improve your psychological mood state and relieve your symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Aside from maca and tongkat ali, Malegenix also contains Tribulus terrestris and horny goat weed. These two medicinal plants have long been used in traditional medicine as natural remedies for male sexual dysfunction and infertility.