Recent papers presented at the Congress of the European Urological Association exposed the sexual problems for which most men go see doctors nowadays.
Viagra a game-changer
Sildenafil citrate, marketed since 1998 by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer under the name Viagra, has dramatically changed men’s sexual lives.
The famous blue pill and its generics, prescribed for erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension, allowed more than 37 million men to enjoy their sex lives. So much so that in the last twenty years 65 million prescriptions have been prescribed worldwide.
But what are the sexual problems men face today that Viagra has not been able to solve? The question was asked by the team of Dr. Paolo Capogrosso, the research director at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.
They presented their findings at the virtual congress of the European Association of Urology: while men are complaining less about erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, more and more young men are now complaining about a decrease in their sexual desire and Peyronie’s disease, i.e. penile curvature.
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The changing concerns of men
“Over a period of 10 years, we have seen a real change in what men say when they go to sexual health clinics. This change is probably due to greater openness and the fact that men now accept that many sexual problems can be dealt with instead of being subjects they don’t want to talk about,” said Professor Capogrosso.
To find out why men now go to sexual health clinics, researchers interviewed 3,244 men who visited the sexual health clinic at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan from 2009 to 2019. After asking them about the main reason for their visit, they found that the number of patients with erectile dysfunction increased between 2009 and 2013 and then began to decline, reaching a decline of about 6% over a ten-year period.
By comparison, the number of patients complaining of a decrease in libido or Peyronie’s disease increased by 32 and 30% respectively between 2009 and 2019. The average age at the first clinical consultation also decreased from an average of 61 to 53 years.
“Erectile dysfunction is still the main reason to visit the clinic, but the number is decreasing, while about 35% of men who visit the clinic complain about Peyronie’s disease, and this number is constantly increasing,” Capogrosso noted. Our patients are also getting younger and younger, which could reflect a generational change in attitudes towards sexual problems”.
However, the researcher warns that these figures “do not indicate any change in the prevalence of the disease”. “What they show us is why the men came to the clinic. In other words, they show what they are worried about. The changes probably also reflect the availability of treatment options. As treatment options for sexual diseases have become available in recent years, men are less likely to suffer in silence.
As these findings come only from one sexual health center, they need to be confirmed by more comprehensive studies. “However, there seems to be a growing awareness of conditions such as Peyronie’s disease, with the publication of articles in the major press. In addition, we know that awareness of this disease is increasing in the United States and elsewhere, which could be a general trend,” concluded Dr. Capogrosso.