Love Island's Dr Alex George on erectile dysfunction
SINCE leaving Love Island, 31-year-old A&E medic Dr Alex George has become a leading voice in men’s health, sharing tips with his 1.4 million social media followers, as well as frequently joining Lorraine and Good Morning Britain as a resident TV doctor.
Now, alongside working at a hospital on the coronavirus front line, he wants to help open up the conversation around impotence, the most common sexual problem that men report to their GP. We asked Dr Alex about it...
:: How common is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile problems range from person to person, "but it’s a very common health issue" says Dr Ales. "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 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 it?
“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...
“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?
“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. 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.”
:: More at onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com