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5 unexpected factors ruining your sex life

Image: 123RF

Sowetan Live recently reported on Fournier's gangrene, which has brought several men to a KZN hospital that specialises in the infection, which causes gangrene in the penis, scrotum and perineum.

While the infection is sure to affect the sexual activity of those who contract it - and even those who have it successfully treated - there are other not-so-well-known reasons you can't seem to get it up. Here is a look at five factors that could be ruining your sex life.

Gum disease

According to Daily Mail UK, erectile dysfunction is likely to occur among men with chronic bacterial infection of the gums, also known as periodontitis. Gum disease is also thought to be linked to heart disease and researchers from the University of Granada in Spain said it tended to affect the small blood vessels in the penis. "Fortunately, gum disease is an entirely preventable and treatable disease but avoiding it and lowering the risk of poor performance in the bedroom requires an effective and consistent oral health routine," Oral Health Foundation CEO Dr Nigel Carter told Daily Mail.


While old wives’ tales claim riding horses can cause infertility among women, Dr Azad John-Salimi told Men's Health riding bicycles can cause erectile dysfunction in men, due to damage to the pudendal nerve. "Serious cyclists can injure the body, continuous seat pressure can risk nerve compression and maybe nerve injury," said John-Salimi. He also noted horseback riders and motorbike riders were less at risk due to the seating being wider and comfier. The article advised avid cyclists to try numerous saddles before settling on one that felt comfortable.

Image: 123RF


At most, smokers are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as non-smokers.  According to Health24, cigarettes contain up to 40 000 chemicals, a number of  which (including arsenic, tar, lead, carbon monoxide, acetone and ammonia) can damage blood vessels, narrowing arteries, which makes it difficult for blood to flow to the penis. According to Health24, men who stopped smoking for one year had better erectile dysfunction status than those who did not quit.

Rheumatoid arthritis

The International Society for Sexual Medicine identifies rheumatoid arthritis as a disease that causes joint pain and inflammation all over the body, including in the penile blood vessels. An article for Family Practice News said two-thirds of men with rheumatoid arthritis were at risk of being affected by erectile dysfunction.

Male hypogonadism

Web MD wrote that men who experienced hypogonadism, which lowers testosterone levels, were likely to have a decreased sex drive. It can also lead to developmental problems among men. It said testosterone replacement therapy had a good track record of restoring men’s sex drive. This, however, did not stop them from needing a little extra help from medication and erectile dysfunction treatments, such as Viagra and Levitra.

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