Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a frustrating problem to have, as not being able to have or keep an erection while still experiencing sexual desire is taxing mentally and can impact a relationship with even the most supportive partner.
This common condition, which can affect a man at any age, according to WebMD, can be caused by psychological or medical issues, and it's sometimes a mix of both. The good news is that you don't have to suffer silently with ED.
Many men experience it at different points in their lives, and it is treatable. The first step is determining whether your ED is caused by a medical condition, a psychological block or both.
While medical conditions contributing to ED do need to be addressed with your doctor, it's helpful to tackle this problem mentally, too, and one proven way to do that is through the use of hypnosis.
What causes ED?
The mechanism of an erection is pretty simple on a physical level; when the arteries that carry blood to the penis swell and then close the veins which allow blood to circulate through the body, the erectile tissue and blood contained therein form and keep the erection. So, ED happens when there isn't enough blood flow to the penis for it to become fully erect or stay erect for any period of time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many medical causes that could be behind ED. Cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and high levels of cholesterol can all contribute to this condition, since these can all negatively affect the flow of blood in the body.
In addition to cardiovascular conditions, nerve and neurological disorders can also cause or contribute to ED, since these conditions may interrupt the signals of the nerves in the body and prevent an erection.
Diabetes can play a part in the development of ED as well, as it can cause nerve damage over time. Certain medications may also prompt ED, including high blood pressure medicines and anti-depressants. If you think your ED is strictly related to medications you are taking, speak to your doctor, as there may be alternatives available to you which won't cause this side effect.
Certain lifestyle elements bring on a higher risk of ED. Drinking more than two alcohol beverages a day regularly, smoking and being overweight all increase the likelihood of developing this condition.
While it can strike at any age, the risk for ED climbs as a man gets older. As reported by Web MD, one study showed that 26 percent of respondents first experienced the condition between the ages of 50 and 59, and that figure jumped to 40 percent for men aged 60 to 69.
It's also estimated that around 20 million men in America suffer from ED. If you are overweight, losing some weight may help your ED, as well as lifestyle changes that eliminate behaviors which are putting you at increased risk.
While there are many treatments for ED, it's understandable if you don't want to rely on them, especially since they don't usually treat the root of the problem. As WebMD also points out, there are many "holistic cures" for ED on the market, but these can be dangerous.
These types of supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so there could be harmful ingredients in them, and you may not even know what you are taking for sure. Your risk is increased if you are already taking a medication since your medication could interact with an ingredient in the supplement.
Where does the brain come in?
Erections do, on some level, start in the brain. ED can be caused by any of the scenarios outlined below or these scenarios in combination with an underlying medical condition.
• Shameful feelings about sex
• A negative sexual experience in the past
• The circumstances in a specific encounter
• A lack of intimacy
• Outside stressors that don’t relate to sex at all, such as a toxic environment
• Memories of a past ED episode, which can contribute to future ones
For many men, erections start when a thought or touch indicates to the brain that it's time to send arousal signals to the penis nerves. This is where hypnotherapy comes in, as this treatment can address the mental causes behind ED, making it helpful even if the ED is caused on medical and psychological levels.
How to start
Generally, you may want to start working with a hypnotherapist directly so can learn the self-hypnosis techniques for practice on your own. You can work with a therapist in person or through the web or video conferencing sessions.
One simple starter exercise can be done right in your own home. Close your eyes and relax them to the point where you can imagine that they are so relaxed and heavy that you can't open them. Give into this feeling and reinforce to yourself just how heavy they are.
Next, try to open your eyes but notice that you can't. Once you reach this point, start to picture your partner in sensual detail. Imagine that you have a simple dial which you can use to increase the blood flow to the penis.
Just keep picturing yourself turning that dial up, which increases your blood flow. Visualization is key here, as it helps you maintain an erection.
Note that hypnotherapy may not necessarily center on getting an erection but moving past the psychological issues that are contributing to the ED. For example, if you have an emotionally damaging experience in your past that is contributing to your ED now, it may be helpful to address it in your sessions so you can let it go.
Your brain can't tell the difference between imagination and reality, so you can use hypnosis to imagine that past scenario a little differently.
As with any other treatment, you may need to practice hypnotherapy for a while before you see the benefits in relation to your ED. This practice does help relieve stress and can get you to relax more, and these are more immediate benefits for most people. Also, it's important to keep your mind open to the idea.
Hypnotherapy is not like the hypnosis you see in movies; you need to be conscious of suggestions to follow them, and it's more of an intense state of relaxation than anything else.
At no point will anyone be waving a pocket watch in your face! Hypnosis is easy enough to try and affordable, too, so give it a chance today, as it can really help with your ED.
If you are experiencing ED, be sure to see a medical professional if you haven't already. Since this condition can have many medical causes, too, you should be examined by a doctor in case medical treatments are necessary in your case.