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Premature ejaculation

Premature Ejaculation: Causes and Treatment

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Men's Health

Commonly referred to as the act of “coming too soon”, premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when someone experiences early ejaculation during any form of sexual activity. Premature ejaculation is a top contender for the most common sexual problem facing men in Australia, alongside erectile dysfunction.

PE may be more common than you think, with between 30-40% of men reporting experiencing the condition throughout some point in their lives.

Although a diagnosis of premature ejaculation can be disheartening, it’s important to understand that you can treat PE, through an effective combination of medication, healthy lifestyle choices and behavioural techniques.

Understanding PE

What is premature ejaculation (PE)?

It’s important to note that PE can occur both during sexual intercourse or through solo bedroom activities. There are also two distinct types of premature ejaculation, acquired PE and lifelong PE, which we’ll get into more detail about below.

Whether you are afflicted with acquired or lifelong PE, the end result is often similar and is commonly categorised as needing less stimulation before rapid ejaculation occurs.

Both men and women have a sexual response cycle, which consists of distinct phases surrounding excitement, plateau, orgasm (or ejaculation) and resolution. When we compare normal ejaculation to premature ejaculation, studies have revealed that men with PE experience a rapid period of excitement, followed by a minimal plateau, before rapid ejaculation occurs.

Lifelong premature ejaculation

Research points towards lifelong PE being linked to chemical imbalances in the brain. Despite this evidence, however, this condition has also been associated with various psychological implications, such as chronic anxiety.

Acquired premature ejaculation

Unlike lifelong PE, acquired premature ejaculation develops later in life, after having previously experienced normal penile function. The possible causes of acquired premature ejaculation are virtually endless, but can often be traced back to compromised mental health issues or a history of sexual abuse. In some cases, men develop PE due to anxiety, stress, relationship problems or poor self image.

What causes male sexual dysfunction?

Whether we’re discussing premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, there are a number of factors that can contribute to sexual dysfunctions, in both men and women. When it comes to premature ejaculation, specifically, it can often be caused by an underlying diagnosis of erectile dysfunction.

More than 50% of men will experience erectile dysfunction throughout some stage of their lives.

Although causes and treatments are highly unique for each individual, it’s always a good idea to have some knowledge about how your body works and what you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

By developing a better understanding of the causes and treatments for common sexual problems, you will not only have the knowledge to protect against the unexpected, but also the peace of mind that comes with knowing what solutions are available to you.

Biological or physical problems

Sexual and reproductive systems for both male and female health are vastly complex to say the least. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, hormones play a significant role in our sexual response system.

Irregular hormone levels can cause sexual dysfunction, directly relating to testosterone and oxytocin, which play a crucial role in positive sexual function for men.

Physical conditions have also been known to create problems for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction; including injury or illness that causes swelling and infection of the urethra or prostate.

Psychological factors

As with irregular hormone levels in the body, a chemical imbalance in the brain may also result in the development of acquired premature ejaculation. Dopamine and serotonin are both vital in generating arousal or sexual desire and the decrease of these levels may negatively impact your sex life.

Research also points to psychological factors, such as low self image, depression and anxiety having the potential to compromise sexual function.

Lifestyle choices

Alongside medical conditions and psychological problems, everyday lifestyle choices can also play a role in negatively impacting sexual performance, including:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking or vaping nicotine products

Difficulties with sexual relationships

Relationship problems can be the cause of or even contribute to the severity of sexual dysfunction, in some cases. It’s important to create an open dialogue with your sexual partner, where you both feel comfortable and safe, expressing any concerns or problems you may be experiencing (both in and out of the bedroom).

If you are finding it difficult to start this conversation with your partner, some couples choose to engage the services of a counsellor, sex therapist or be guided by the recommendations of a trusted health care professional.

Relationship difficulties

How is premature ejaculation diagnosed?

A doctor will diagnose premature ejaculation through a discreet questionnaire and consultation, to determine the best course of action moving forward. It is often recommended that you discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor (those you feel comfortable talking about); including current medications, pre-existing medical conditions and any physical or psychological factors that you believe may be contributing to your ejaculation problems.

Premature ejaculation treatment options

Although it can be disheartening to experience premature ejaculation, it’s important to remember that, in most cases, it is a highly treatable condition.

As with many health problems, there are a variety of methods available for treating PE.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

When combined with behavioural therapies, studies have shown that patients reported an 85% success rate when using SSRIs, as prescribed by their healthcare providers.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recommends SSRIs and topical anaesthetics as the first line of treatment. Although this is the most commonly prescribed solution, your PE treatment will depend on your individual circumstances and the recommendation of your GP.

Behavioural techniques

In some cases, people have found that they are able to delay ejaculation through the use of behavioural techniques. While there are a number of different methods to experiment with, some of the most well-known techniques include:

  • Edging method

  • Squeeze technique

  • Start and stop method

Can you treat premature ejaculation without medication?

After your condition has been medically reviewed by a health care professional, you will be provided with the most effective treatment options for your individual circumstances.

Even though most people will relate Kegel exercises to vaginal sex or the female anatomy, pelvic floor muscles are just as important for the sexual experience of males. Practising pelvic floor exercises can allow you to regain control of your sexual satisfaction and offers the possibility for greater muscle manipulation to delay ejaculation.

In many cases, a doctor will recommend a combination of prescribed medication, such as SSRIs, and behavioural or lifestyle changes.

Doctors

We’re here to help

Premature ejaculation treated with a combination of behavioural and medicinal solutions often produces the most effective results.

If you’re concerned that PE is impeding your sexual function, start a conversation with the team at hub.health and discover the right treatment for your needs.

hub.health

Here at hub.health we are committed to everyone getting the best out of every moment. Love yourself!

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