Lockdown and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction has peaked during the pandemic - here’s what you can do about it

This past year has been challenging and unpredictable for us all. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us indoors for months at a time, unable to see friends or family, with a great number of us unemployed or losing a business altogether. Lockdown in the UK has led to increased levels of stress and anxiety, and has triggered a mental health crisis amongst men in particular; struggling with the added pressures and feeling unable to speak openly about their problems.

A health concern for men that has become more of a problem during lockdown is erectile dysfunction.

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist on how to tackle ED in the UK:

"If there was a list of topics that men are least likely to openly discuss, Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction would be right up there. Anxiety is one of the biggest causes of Erectile Dysfunction in the UK.
Lockdown has added fuel to the male mental health problem in the UK and has directly resulted in an increase in men seeking treatment and help for erectile dysfunction.
Whilst it is encouraging that more men are seeking help for erectile dysfunction instead of suffering in silence, the same is very much needed for men suffering with anxiety and mental health.
ED is very easily treated with medication, however I firmly believe that if more men would open up about their mental health and seek help for it this would eradicate the main root cause of Erectile Dysfunction in a lot of men"

We have analysed 93 million Google searches over the last 12 months to bring this health issue to light and understand how it’s impacted men during this period.

Specific locations around the UK have seen a spike in Google searches on erectile dysfunction; Bristol has the highest number of searches with 7 men in every 100 searching for support, and Leicester has seen the greatest percentage growth with a 58% rise in searches.

The increase of ‘erectile dysfunction’ searches online is no coincidence and highlights a real problem for men during the pandemic. There is a clear correlation between the stress of the coronavirus lockdowns and the increasing cases of men experiencing erectile dysfunction. Neither the mental health or sexual health of men is something to be ignored, and both are important topics that must be destigmatised and discussed outside of the bedroom.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the medical term used for when a man can’t get or maintain an erect penis due to a lack of blood flow. Anyone who is experiencing or has experienced erectile dysfunction must know that it’s nothing to feel ashamed about.

In truth, it is a very common problem amongst men but it’s just not spoken about openly enough. As a result, this can make men feel alone or like they are “failing” during sex, which only adds to the taboo nature of erectile dysfunction.

Many men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Our data proves that it’s become more common than ever before, with over 1 in 25 men in the UK having googled ‘erectile dysfunction’ during lockdown.

Not only is it a common problem, but erectile dysfunction can happen for a range of different reasons relating to an individual's lifestyle, such as stress, tiredness and alcohol consumption. Although erectile dysfunction is viewed as more of a nuisance than a serious health concern, it is still important to see a healthcare professional.

There are a number of cases where erectile dysfunction is a sign of underlying health conditions that require more urgent medical attention, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which means it’s still important to discuss any symptoms with a pharmacist or doctor. 

You may have noticed the word ‘impotent’ being used to describe erectile dysfunction - but don’t let this hold you back from taking action, both to identify the cause of your problem and to easily treat it. There are a range of different and effective methods to choose from, and some don’t even require a prescription - so whatever you do, try not to panic!

Can anxiety cause erectile dysfunction?

There is a misconception that having difficulty getting an erection is down to old age but this isn’t necessarily the case. It is important to note that the causes of erectile dysfunction are not just physical, but psychological too.

In fact, research reveals that the most common cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological, revealing the serious impacts of stress and anxiety on this health condition for men - only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Anxiety in men is a topic that’s almost as private or well-hidden as erectile dysfunction itself. On average, as many as one in five men will experience anxiety as some stage in their lives. There is a high risk of anxiety being unrecognised or untreated for men, and mental health conditions hold similar stigmas that are attached to erectile dysfunction. Men are less likely to seek out support for their mental health because of feelings of shame or weakness that are deep-rooted in ideas surrounding masculinity.

Importantly, mental health conditions can influence the way that the brain signals to the rest of the body, changing its normal response. This means that when men have an erection, anxiety can disrupt how the brain would typically send messages to the penis. Therefore, it is clear how the heightened anxiety from strained relationships or financial pressures during the lockdown have a direct impact on the body. 

What treatment is there for erectile dysfunction? 

Our research demonstrates that more men are searching online for support on erectile dysfunction, with a 10% increase across the UK during lockdown compared to non-lockdown periods. There is a lot of medical information readily available at our fingertips online, and with the potential embarrassment surrounding erectile dysfunction, men are less likely to ask for face-to-face support at a pharmacy or doctors surgery. 

At Medicine Direct, we offer online consultations for any health concerns and deliver prescriptions too, with a range of treatments readily available for erectile dysfunction. There are a variety of tablets to help achieve an erection quickly that last for several hours, such as Vitaros Cream, Spedra, Cialis and Viagra.

Tablets for erectile dysfunction often have a high success rate but for more long-term concerns, speaking with a healthcare professional about any more severe symptoms is advised. After reading the information above, if you’ve linked erectile dysfunction to high-anxiety levels, it is important you receive support for this, and secondly, to help rule out any chronic diseases too.

Now more than ever it is important to speak with healthcare professionals if you have any concerns. Erectile dysfunction and anxiety amongst men are valid health concerns that are only rising in numbers - it is a conversation worth having.

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