Recent Blog Articles

Men's Sexual Health Archive

Articles

Ask the doctor: Sexual side effects of blood pressure drugs

Updated January 1, 2014

Q. I'm a healthy 58-year-old man recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. My doctor prescribed metoprolol, and my blood pressure is now in the normal range. But I've started having trouble getting an erection. Could the medication be causing this problem, and if so, is there anything I can do about it?

A. Metoprolol belongs to a class of drugs known as beta blockers, which make the heart beat slower and with less force. In the past, doctors prescribed beta blockers as a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure.

New guidelines for treating vaginal atrophy

Updated December 1, 2013

Almost half of postmenopausal women experience dryness and thinning of the vagina and vulva. The North American Menopause Society recommends vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, as well as vaginal or oral estrogen to treat symptoms.

4 things you should know about erectile dysfunction

Updated July 28, 2017

Erectile dysfunction (ED), once shrouded in secrecy, is now in the spotlight, thanks to high-profile advertisements for drugs like Cialis, Viagra, Levitra, and Stendra. But despite this greater awareness of ED, many men — and women — don't really know much about this condition. Here are four things to know about ED.

  1. ED is often the result of diseases or conditions that become more common with age. It can also be a side effect of the medications used to treat them. Other possible causes of ED include prostate surgery, stress, relationship problems, and depression.
  2. Other age-related factors besides disease can also affect a man's ability to have an erection — for example, with age, tissues become less elastic and nerve communication slows. But even these factors don't explain many cases of ED.
  3. Cardiovascular disease is a common cause of ED. Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) affect not only the blood vessels of the heart, but those throughout the body as well. In fact, in up to 30% of men who see their doctors about ED, the condition is the first hint that they have cardiovascular disease.
  4. Intriguing findings from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study suggest there may be a natural ebb and flow to ED — that is, for some men, trouble with erections may occur, last for a significant amount of time, and then partly or fully disappear without treatment.

Regardless of the cause, ED often can be effectively addressed. For some men, simply losing weight and exercising more may help. Others may need medications, and there are other options available as well. Given the variety of therapies available, the possibility of finding the right solution is greater than ever.

Ask the doctor: What can I do about painful sex?

Updated August 1, 2013

Q. Since I went through menopause, sex has become very painful. I no longer enjoy it. Are there any treatments I can try?

A. Sexual intercourse should be a pleasurable part of your relationship, but for some women it becomes very uncomfortable after menopause. One common cause of painful sex (termed dyspareunia) is the drop in estrogen after menopause, which leads to vaginal dryness. Other reasons include conditions such as uterine prolapse, vaginal infections, tense vaginal muscles, endometriosis, lichen sclerosis (a skin condition that causes thinning of the genital skin), uterine fibroids, or pelvic surgery (for example, hysterectomy).

Testosterone therapy: Is it for women?

Updated April 1, 2013

Some try testosterone to boost a sagging libido, but this therapy is still unproven in women.

You've probably seen those TV ads targeted to men with "low T," a drop in testosterone level that often occurs with age. Because this male hormone is an instrumental component in sexual desire, declining libido is a common symptom of "low T." Men with this condition may be treated with testosterone therapy to improve their sex drive and relieve other symptoms.

Sex and your heart

Updated February 1, 2013

Heart disease doesn't have to bring your love life to a halt.

Having heart disease—or a past heart attack—can disrupt your life in so many ways. For one thing, it can make you pause before doing activities you didn't think twice about in the past—including having sex.

Testing your testosterone: It's tricky

Updated October 1, 2012

Diagnosing and confirming low testosterone requires thorough lab testing and careful interpretation of the results.

Feeling less pep in your step? Less interested in sex? Befuddled by a persistent brain fog that hobbles your mood and mental performance? There are many reasons why you might feel this way. Testosterone deficiency is but one possibility.

Resuming sex after a heart attack

Updated August 1, 2012

A new report answers the questions on everyone's mind.

After a heart attack or revascularization procedure, many people wonder whether it will be safe to resume sexual activity, and if so, when. They may worry about having another heart attack, or about dying during intercourse. If they have had bypass surgery, they may worry that sexual activity might be painful. Despite the importance of sex in a healthy relationship, many people (including doctors) are uncomfortable discussing it. As a result, questions go unasked, and information is not volunteered. The whole issue becomes the elephant in the room.

Troubles with sexual release?

Updated August 1, 2012

Don't be reluctant to discuss delayed or absent ejaculation with your doctor. The key to better sex is pinpointing the root cause.

When men think about their sexual woes, erectile dysfunction (ED) usually comes to mind. But some face a different obstacle they may not think to discuss with a doctor—and that doctors themselves may not think to ask about. Despite being able to have erections, a man can have trouble reaching a satisfying climax. Unlike ED, inhibited ejaculation lacks FDA-approved remedies that doctors can offer.

Low libido woes

Updated July 1, 2012

Q. I'm 64, and I don't have any major health problems, but my sex drive just isn't what it used to be. Should I go to a doctor?

A. Decreased sex drive, or low libido, is a common concern in men over age 50. There are many possible reasons for lower libido, including medical problems such as hormone deficiencies, side effects of medications, and psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression. If you are experiencing decreased libido, don't reach for an herbal supplement or vitamin; talk with your doctor about the possible causes and solutions.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.