Stress is your reaction to anything that happens to you or occurs in your environment that requires you to make an adjustment or to respond. Everyone experiences stress, but not everyone responds to a given situation in the same way. Although a small or moderate amount of stress can be healthy because it keeps you alert and ready to face challenges, too much stress or chronic stress can cause a wide variety of physical and emotional problems, including erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction can result when men experience stress related to their job, relationships, financial difficulties, or other issues. In fact, losing an erection, even if it happens only occasionally, can be stressful, and men can then begin to expect failure, which feeds their self-doubt and their stress level, setting up a vicious cycle and reinforcing their erectile dysfunction.
Even if stress is not the main cause of a man’s erectile dysfunction, it can exacerbate the problem. For example, if a man is experiencing erectile dysfunction following a prostatectomy, feeling anxious about his condition and perhaps worrying about how it is affecting his relationship with his partner can make the problem worse.
The key to coping with stress is to identify its causes and then taking steps to reduce them. Some men respond to stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, relaxation exercises, or yoga, while others get relief by talking with a sex therapist or counselor or by discussing their concerns with a trusted physician. It is often helpful to engage the man’s partner in any therapy or discussions sessions, as having a supportive mate can be an effective stress reducer.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.