So What Good Is An Erection Anyway?

As an acupuncturist we were trained to consider the whole person when working on a particular problem. We ask lots of questions and look at rather strange parts of the body, like the tongue for example, in determining a person’s health. In women we ask a lot of questions and can gain a lot of information about their health by inquiring about her menses. But in men, we have the penis--and thank god for that. But in having a penis we have to constantly worry about how well it is functioning. It is true that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is on the rise, but is it really a problem with our penises themselves, or like a woman’s period, are our penises really just little, or excuse me, large and monolithic health meters that are trying to tell us something about our underlying health? More times than not it is the latter, believe me.

To drive this point home further I will share with you a story that my father told to me. My father recently underwent a liver transplant operation and was surrounded by other men in the same situation. In getting to know one man at the hospital it became known that this man hadn’t had an erection for many years since becoming ill. Sure enough the first thing that this man came to realize when waking up in the recovery room after his transplant was that he had one of the fullest erections of his life. Good for that guy! So, he didn’t have a problem with his penis, but rather a problem with his health. In this case, it was a new liver that did the trick, but most of the time it is much more subtle. This is a concept that we need to embrace. Far too often we try and override the basic necessity of good health by taking little blue pills. They can be good in a pinch, but it is sure no way to live.

Unfortunately, there is no one thing that causes ED. In fact, there are probably too many to count. However, the biggest contributing factor to ED that I see in my practice is due to the side effects of medications. Blood pressure medications can make erections nearly impossible at times. High blood sugar and Diabetes is another quick path to ED. Hormone imbalance due to hormone replacement therapy can eventually lead to ED as well because it hinders the sensitivity between the sex hormone and the receptor. This will eventually lead to "lazy sex hormone receptors," so to speak. Depression is another good example of why a man might come down with ED.

Whatever the reason for the ED, the goal should be to find out how to fix the problem. We as a society need to demand that our bodies remain functional without all the added medication complicating matters further. In doing so we can avoid many of the current health problems, fix many of the health concerns where they start and of course have better erections as a result! The answers are out there. And given the opportunity I would love to tell you about them.