The branch of medicine called urology is a specialty focusing on the health of the urinary tract system – the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra – of both men and women. For men, two of the most important urological aspects of good health will be prostate and sexual functioning. Urologists are a man’s go-to expert for best managing these issues, guiding men on what to expect, lifestyle changes to make, and when to treat a problem.
A healthy sex life is priceless and needs constant monitoring for any signs or symptoms of something that is not right. Very often, when sexual health fails, it’s likely a urologic condition affecting it.
Here’s a look at various urologic conditions that can impact a man’s sex life:
- Prostatitis – A painful inflammation of the prostate gland that can affect up to two million men a year of all ages. It’s the most common urologic diagnosis in men younger than age 50 that can lead to sexual dysfunction and/or loss of sex drive.
- Orchitis – An inflammation of the one or both testicles occurring when bacteria is spread through the blood from other locations of the body. It can affect sex by causing pain during sexual intercourse or ejaculation.
- Epididymitis – Swelling or pain in the back of the testicles. It is an infection of the epididymis, a long tightly coiled tube lying above and behind each testicle. Men with this infection may have painful sexual intercourse or ejaculation.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – A UTI happens when bacteria in the urethra, bladder, or kidneys multiply in the urine. If bacterium are not completely eliminated and stays in the urinary tract, this can lead to a UTI. Depending on the severity of the UTI, some men may experience frequent, strong-smelling urine, lower abdominal pain or burning or pain during urination.
- Interstitial cystitis (IC) – Interstitial cystitis can affect both men and women and is often thought of as a “woman’s disease.” But men can also get IC. Symptoms in men are similar to those experienced by women: pelvic pain, urinary urgency, and urinary frequency. If men are having pain, they may not tell their doctor and this can lead to a disruption in their sex life.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – BPH is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that can result in urgent or frequent urination (especially during the night), difficulty starting a urine stream, dribbling or not being able to completely empty the bladder. Sexual activities can be disrupted by these symptoms, particularly when men are getting insufficient sleep.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) – The inability of men to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. This is the most common urological problem men report to their doctors and which significantly affects their sex life along with their partner.
- Peyronie’s disease – Peyronie’s disease is when scar tissue or plaque forms in the penis. The plaque that forms is not the same type of plaque that develops in a person’s arteries. It not associated with heart disease, is noncancerous, noncontagious and is not caused by a sexually transmitted disease. A common symptom is a curve in the penis that can lead to painful erections and sexual intercourse.
Other conditions affecting men’s sex lives
Besides the urological conditions that can change a man’s sex life, there are other nonurological conditions also impacting this aspect of a man’s life. These include diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In addition, men experiencing significant stress, anxiety, or depression, are likely to have problems in the bedroom.
How men can support their sexual health
The first step for men supporting their sexual health is to schedule annual physicals with their doctor. Talk to them about any issues affecting their sex life such as ED or low libido. Having this conversation can keep men’s love life burning bright into the future.
Here are other tips on how men can enjoy an active, healthy sex life:
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Gaining weight can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, joint disorders, and heart disease, as examples. Maintaining a healthy body weight may lessen sexual issues related to these conditions.
- Break a sweat – Cardiovascular health is closely related to sexual performance. Men, who are out of shape, may lack sexual stamina and could lead to ED. Make time for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days if not every day helping improve both cardiovascular fitness and sexual health.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – Heart health is closely linked to sexual health and high cholesterol is one of the most common risk factors for heart disease. One of the best ways to reduce cholesterol or even high triglycerides, is to eat more high-fiber, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Aim to have a fruit and/or vegetable at each meal.
- Fill up on healthy fats – Increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon, halibut, sardines, and tuna to help improve cardiovascular health ultimately improving sexual health.
- Get ED treated – Men should not have to suffer in silence if experiencing ED. There are effective medications that can help along with lifestyle changes.
- Lower stress – Granted, stress is always a given but it’s how you approach it that matters. Men suffering from chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels which in turn, suppress libido. Men who take time doing activities they enjoy, practice deep breathing, and exercise, can be just what they need to keep stress in check.
- Get help for urological conditions – Any man experiencing a urological condition, should see their doctor right away. It’s best to get an accurate diagnosis and get treatment than to wait to see if it goes away. When diagnosed early, there is a better chance for a successful treatment and to an improved sex life.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.