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Premature ejaculation can be cured

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012
The Star/ANN
By Dr Christopher Ho Chee Kong

Ejaculating too early causes sexual, reproductive, relationship and mood problems.

A commonly misunderstood condition which frustrates men is premature ejaculation (PE).

What is PE? It is the act of ejaculating before a man or his partner would like to.

Epidemiological studies have shown that this disease afflicts men of all nations equally. It is also a disease that affects men across all ages.

About a third of men often complain of this problem, but the actual figure is about 1-3 per cent. PE has long been a condition that has been under-reported and under-diagnosed, mainly because of the embarrassment faced by sufferers, who have to put up with the social stigma related to the condition.

The Asia-Pacific Premature Ejaculation Prevalence and Attitude Study carried out among more than 5,000 heterosexual men found that most men are reluctant to talk about it, while the majority of couples do not completely understand the condition.

The International Society of Sexual Medicine defines PE as ejaculating within one minute of vaginal penetration, associated with the inability to delay ejaculation, and causing a negative impact on the man.

Why one minute? Studies have shown that the average time to achieve ejaculation in a man is about five minutes. Among men who complained of premature ejaculation, 90 per cent stated it was less than a minute.

So how do doctors diagnose this problem? By getting a good history. If a man is distressed because he ejaculates early (about a minute) and he has no control over it, he would probably need treatment.

There is a questionnaire called the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool (PEDT) that may aid in the diagnosis. Other than that, there is no special equipment or test that can be used to diagnose this problem.

Previously, PE was thought to be a psychological disorder. We now know this is not entirely true. It has been shown to have a neuro-biological cause as well (organic).

Certain neuro-transmitters (biochemical substances that transmit impulses across nerves) like serotonin are involved in the process of ejaculation. Ejaculation is a complex process involving the interplay of many factors that are not completely understood.

PE may occur in a man who has had normal ejaculation before. This is known as acquired PE. In this situation, it may be due to a psychological problem rather than an organic cause.

On the other hand, if a man has never had normal ejaculation before, he probably has a neuro-biological cause for it. This is also known as lifelong PE.

Hyperthyroidism (a disease where the thyroid hormones are elevated) and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) may also cause premature ejaculation.

Treating PE should not focus solely on prolonging the ejaculation time. It is important that proper attention is given to the emotional and relationship factors as well. PE may be treated by sex therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

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