Painkillers affect manhood – Urologist

A urologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr J.E. Mensah, has cautioned the public, especially men, against the regular use of painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin because of their increased risk of causing erectile dysfunction.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Saturday, Dr Mensah said “the side effects of the painkillers are so dangerous for those who take them for a long time.”

Commenting on a new research which has concluded that men who regularly take painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin may be at increased risk of erectile dysfunction, Dr Mensah said “those who take the painkiller once in a while when in pain are not so much at risk as those who take them regularly for a long time.”

According to the research commissioned by Kaiser Permanente, a United States of America health insurance provider, men who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) three times a day for more than three months were at a 22 per cent increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

The observational study, which began in 2002 and was published in the US Journal of Urology this year, featured 80,966 men aged between 45 and 69 who were members of Kaiser’s managed care plans in California.

Erectile dysfunction was assessed by questionnaire and NSAlD use was determined using pharmacy records and self-reported data.

Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

Expatiating on the research findings, Dr Mensah said: “The penis is just like any other blood vessel; if you have erection problems, it could be the first warning sign that you could have a serious heart condition.

“That is why it is important not to go to a herbalist straightaway with such erection problems. You need to see a doctor for him to thoroughly examine you,” he added.

Dr Mensah advised the public not to toy with the condition, since through medical examinations many people had their heart conditions diagnosed in time.

He also advised the public to be extremely careful with the abuse of painkillers and said “you must not use drugs without prescription, especially as you grow older. For young people, they have a lot of reserve that can deal with such drugs but as you grow older, your reserves dwindle.”

“For instance, if you take aspirin for a long time, it affects the ability for your blood clot when you get a cut.

“If you take any of these drugs without prescription, you are calling for trouble,” he cautioned.

He also said some drugs used in treating hypertension induced erectile dysfunction and though the problem was very common in Ghana, “most people do not report it because of its sensitive nature. Less than 20 per cent of the patients report it.”

Statistics from a study conducted in Ghana in 1999, prior to the introduction of Viagra, a sexual enhancement drug produced by Pfizer, an international drug company, revealed that 500,000 Ghanaian men had problems getting erection for normal sexual relationships.

Global estimates put the number of men suffering from the condition at 100 million.

According to experts, the most common risk factors of erectile dysfunction include medical conditions that make it difficult for enough blood to flow into the penis.

Other common causes of erectile dysfunction are damage to the tissues, the arteries, nerves, muscles or fibrous tissue.

Diseases said to account for about 70 per cent of erectile dysfunction cases include cardiovascular and kidney diseases, hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

Regular users of painkillers were about 2.4 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who didn’t use those drugs regularly or at all, the study indicated.

Source: Daily Graphic

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