As we know, sexual health is not something Irish people would have spoken a lot about, traditionally. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of shame, embarrassment and misinformation have formed around topics, such as premature ejaculation, STIs, and contraception (among others!). We want to change that though. Sexual health is part of healthcare. It is important to be informed so you can take charge of your sexual health. To kick things off, we’re going to shed some light on an extremely common topic – premature ejaculation. Here, we’re going to talk about the condition, its potential causes, and how we can treat it.
What is Premature Ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation (PE) is usually said to happen when a man reaches sexual climax and ejaculation occurs within a timeframe of two minutes. However, in severe cases, this can occur over a much shorter time period such as during foreplay. Either way, it can prove extremely frustrating and upsetting for both parties. It’s difficult to know exactly how many men are affected by PE, as many are too embarrassed to talk about it or seek treatment. However, it is believed that approximately 1 in 5 Irish men struggle with the condition. Therefore, it is a lot more common than many realise!
What Causes Premature Ejaculation?
It can be tricky to talk about premature ejaculation, but it can also be tricky to pin down an exact cause for the condition. This is because there are a number of psychological and physiological factors that can contribute to this condition.
Stress, depression and anxiety can all contribute to premature ejaculation. Sexual performance anxiety can be a major contributing factor, especially if you’re at the beginning of a new relationship or if you have experienced problems with performance in the past. Similarly, relationship problems can also contribute. Some other psychological factors that can contribute include predisposition and history of sexual abuse.
In addition, there are some physiological factors that can cause premature ejaculation. For instance, obesity, thyroid problems, low testosterone, prostate or urethral problems, and hypersensitivity are common factors. Some people also struggle with premature ejaculation due to nervous system problems, such as multiple sclerosis or peripheral neuropathy. The use of recreational drugs is another known contributing factor.
Are There Any Premature Ejaculation Treatments Available?
Up to now, the mainstay of therapy was via the use of psychosexual therapy from an appropriately trained and accredited counsellor. This treatment is based on the groundbreaking work of Masters & Johnson in the USA in the 1950s and 60s. As you can imagine, this was very controversial at the time!
More recently, the local anaesthetic cream EMLA™ has proven helpful. This was developed initially to anaesthetise the skin prior to undergoing a procedure. For instance, it can be used when having blood taken, especially in the case of young patients. But it has also been used ‘off licence‘.
Every medicine is licensed for specific indications by the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority. However, some medications have therapeutic uses other than their intended use. EMLA, for example, can be used to numb the skin of the penis to help manage premature ejaculation.
In 2014 a new medication (Priligy) became available, used as a specific treatment for this problem. An interesting fact about this medicine is that it belongs to a group of medicines called SSRIs, used in the treatment of depression. It came to light that some members of this group of medicines can have an effect on delaying ejaculation. So it’s no surprise that they’re used to do exactly that when premature ejaculation is a problem!
It’s important to note that the use of this medicine is not advised where there is a history of psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This is due to the potential for these medicines to cause destabilisation of symptoms and for drug interactions with existing treatments.
How Do I Use EMLA Cream for PE?
As mentioned above, EMLA is an anaesthetic cream. You can apply this to the glands (or head) of the penis. This causes the nerve fibres in the head of the penis to be numbed over the course of a few minutes, helping to delay ejaculation. If you are using EMLA, you should apply the cream approximately 20 minutes before having sex. You will also need to make sure to wash the remaining cream off just before you have sex to avoid any unwanted numbing effects for your partner!
EMLA is a popular treatment for premature ejaculation as it is very easy to use. However, it is important to note that this cream can damage latex condoms. Therefore, if you are relying on latex condoms as your sole form of contraception and wish to protect against pregnancy, you will need to consider using additional methods of contraception or opting for Priligy to help with PE.
How Do I Use Priligy for PE?
Priligy is a tablet treatment that can be used for PE. To use it, you will need to take it 1- 3 hours before sexual activity and it should be effective for 2-4 hours. You may need to try this medication on 4-6 occasions before you experience the full effects. However, if it is not working for you after this trial period, you should speak with one of our GPs via video consultation.
Priligy works by increasing serotonin levels in the body. This causes a delayed reaction in the part of the brain that controls ejaculation. Therefore, it increases the time it takes to ejaculate and does so for the majority (usually over 80%) of men.
It is important to note that you cannot take Priligy more than once within a 24-hour period.
Where Can I Get A Prescription for Priligy or EMLA Cream?
You can easily get a prescription for Priligy or EMLA via our online Premature Ejaculation Treatment prescription service. Simply fill in the discreet and secure questionnaire to explain your symptoms to your doctor. Then, one of our Irish Medical Council registered doctors will review your request to make sure the treatment of your choice is medically safe and suitable for you. Once approved, we will send your prescription directly to an Irish pharmacy of your choice. It really couldn’t be easier!