Silver and Gold Magazine Spring 2015 - Page 20

WELL-BEING Men’s sexual health issues, including impotence and erectile dysfunction, can be an indicator of additional, and potentially serious, health issues. Many men find it embarrassing to talk about it with their doctor, but if there is an underlying health issue, the sooner it is identified the better. As they say, you don’t want to die of embarrassment. MEN’S SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT ALL EQUAL Your doctor can provide professional advice and guidance when it comes to sexual issues, such as a reduced sex drive. Sometimes the cause can be easily identified, and sometimes it can be a difficult and time-consuming process. recalling and/or banning products that are considered to be unsafe. There are nearly a thousand products on the market today that claim to help with men’s sexual issues. So, how does he decide what’s best for him? Once you’ve decided to do something about your declining sex drive, the best place to start may be your doctor, not the internet. If your doctor determines that you are healthy enough for it, they may recommend a drug to address erectile issues. Doctors tend to write prescriptions, and the drugs most commonly prescribed for this are sildenafil citrate, sold as Viagra, or Tadalafil, sold as Cialis. Both are available only by prescription, and both work similarly to help men achieve and maintain an erection. There are drawbacks to these drugs. First of all, they are chemicals. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of taking a prescription drug to be able to have sex, this won’t be your first choice. This type of drug needs to be taken in anticipation of impending sexual activity. There is no extended benefit, so once it wears off, you need to take it again to produce results. You can take a daily dose of Cialis, but that may seem like a big commitment for men only having sex occasionally. Some men with heart disease, diabetes, and other preexisting conditions shouldn’t take these medications. Men taking nitrate drugs (such as nitroglycerin) to ease symptoms of heart disease can’t use Viagra. Again, your doctor can let you know if you’re in this category. There are also many potential side effects associated with these drugs. Side effects can spoil your sexual experience, and even be dangerous to your health. An alternative approach: Natural Supplements Let’s take a look at natural supplements for men’s sexual health. This sounds great: natural ingredients, no prescription required, and the potential for big results. The problem is, knowing who to trust in this category. Health Canada and the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) are constantly 20 Under the FDA’s heading “Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products”, there is an extensive list of product recalls in their Public Notifications (www.fda.gov). Here, they have identified an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for sexual enhancement. The most frequent reason for a recall? “Contains hidden drug ingredient” and “Contains undeclared drug ingredient”. In the Government of Canada’s Healthy Canadians website (www.healthycanadians.gc.ca) there are numerous similar product recalls. The most common undeclared ingredient: Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. So is there anything out there that actually works and is s