Sexual dysfunction is a very real thing for people with Parkinson's disease and you're going to be learning today about the connection with Parkinson's disease in this area, as well as what treatments are available.
So does Parkinson's disease cause erectile dysfunction in men? The answer is yes. However, it's not always the case that Parkinson's is the primary cause of ED. The reason why this is the case is that PD directly results in damage to the autonomic nervous system. This, in turn, can result in issues of sexual function or result in sexual dysfunction because it is primarily a brain function. This is why anything that affects the brain can affect this area as well.
And so with that being said, Parkinson's can result directly in issues with ED. And if that's the case, it can be treated basically the same way it would be if it was any other cause. The one thing that I would stipulate here is that you need to be cautious to have your primary care physician and probably a urologist to do a consultation with you and to do a thorough workup to make sure that there are not other physiological causes of the ED. Examples would include conditions such as diabetes, which can result in nerve damage that can cause issues with this area. Peripheral vascular disease affects the blood flow and could also be a cause. You could have problems with enlarged prostate as well. Psychologically, even depression can result in issues with erection. Other medical conditions that aren't listed may also be causes and that root cause needs to be ruled in or out before treatment. In other words, another condition or conditions may need to be treated in addition to medication for the ED.
The Parkinson's Foundation website has a page on male sexual health that I will link here. There's a list of common medications, though with the oral medications there's really not really any reason to introduce those. I feel like pretty much everybody has heard of these, but there are also a list of injectables and other alternative treatment options. Please note that the injectable treatments are directly into the penis, which is quite alarming to hear about and think about as a man, though if you are having issues in this department you will probably do whatever it takes. This is especially understandable if you are in an intimate relationship. I would hope that your physician is going to have a much more individualized recommendation rather than just a cursory look at the medications we're talking about. One other side note too is that there are some heart conditions which may be a contraindication or maybe preventing you from taking medications for ED. Outside of that they tend to be safe alongside Parkinson's medication. And as a matter of fact, I've had clients that are taking ED medication at the same time as their Parkinson's meds and they're doing fine.
So, in summary, ED can be linked to Parkinson's disease, even though the other causes may result in the problem. One way or the other, getting it treated is going to make a big difference in your life.
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Dr. Michael Hyland, DPT, CEEAA has been a physical therapist since 2012. He is a Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult and an expert in Parkinson's Disease. He owns Hyland Physical Therapy and Wellness in Broken Arrow, OK