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Dr Alex George On The Taboo Health Issue That Affects 6.4 Million Men


He’s the dishy A&E doctor who failed to find love in The Villa, but Love Island’s Dr George is on a new mission.

Alongside battling coronavirus on the frontline at hospital, the 31-year-old medic says he’s hoping to help open up the conversation around impotence, after new statistics from Lloyds Pharmacy reveal around 6.4 million men in the UK experience erection problems at some point in their lives.

Since leaving Love Island, Dr Alex has become a leading voice in men’s health, sharing tips with his 1.4 million followers, as well as frequently joining Lorraine and Good Morning Britain as a resident TV doctor.

Here, he explains everything men need to know about the most common sex problem they report to their doctor…

What is erectile dysfunction?

“Erectile dysfunction is where a man isn’t able to attain and maintain an erection that’s firm enough to be able to have sex.

“Some men might be able to get an erection for a short period of time, but can’t maintain it long enough to have satisfactory sex with a partner, while others might not be able to get an erection at all.

“It ranges from person to person, but it’s a very common health issue. New data from LloydsPharmacy has shown around 6.4 million men in the UK experience erection problems at some point in their lives, and men under 30 are one of the groups most likely to experience it.

“A huge number of younger men are affected, so I think it’s important to break down that stigma and get people to realise that it’s more common that you think.

There’s a misconception that there must be something wrong with your masculinity if you experience it, and that’s just not the case.

“I very rarely see any kind of health information about erectile dysfunction and that’s a real shame, given how many people are experiencing it.

I worry about the number of men that may be suffering in silence, with the problem affecting their relationships and their own mental health, because they feel uncomfortable seeking help.”

What causes erectile dysfunction?

“Certain lifestyle factors can have an effect. Alcohol is a big one. If you ask most men, they’ll probably have some experience with drinking and erectile dysfunction.

“Causes can also be split between physical and psychological. Fatigue, tiredness, anxiousness and stress can all have a knock-on effect for men in the short-term.

“Some people can also get a longer-term form of anxiety, where being worried about sex and fears about under-performing can trigger erectile dysfunction. It’s a negative cycle that can make it difficult to sexually perform or enjoy sex with a partner.

“To get an erection, what essentially happens is your brain sends signals via nerves to your penis, which tells your blood vessels to dilate. Blood then collects into the penis, and that’s what makes it firm.

“Physically, if you have problems with your nerves, or the ability to dilate blood vessels, then you can have problems with erections. The common causes are cardiovascular problems, issues with circulation, issues with blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. So there are lots of causes, but the vast majority of the time, it’s down to lifestyle factors.”

How can it be treated?

“The good news is there’s lots that men can do to tackle the issue. Eating a healthy diet, doing more exercise, sleeping better, de-stressing and moderating alcohol intake are a few lifestyle factors that can all make a big difference.

“If you’re having a persistent issue with erectile dysfunction, you should speak to your doctor. For instance, LloydsPharamcy have an online service where you speak confidentially to someone about the issue if you’re feeling any kind of embarrassment or worry.

“Particularly if it’s a long-term issue, you should speak to your GP, because there are underlying things that we look for that can be treated, that will help you over time to improve the function,

“There’s also medication available, which helps men to get an erection, but often other treatments – like talking therapies and counselling – can resolve performance fears.

Speaking to your doctor can help you to get to the root of the problem and find the best course of action for you.”

Dr Alex George is supporting LloydsPharmacy’s It’s Time We TalkED campaign, which aims to reduce the stigma associated with erectile dysfunction in the hope that it will encourage more men experiencing it to seek the right help and treatment.

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