Premature Ejaculation and Serotonin

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation (PE) is characterized by a lack of voluntary control over ejaculation. Many men occasionally ejaculate sooner than they or their partner would like during sexual activities. However for men suffering from premature ejaculation this occurs almost every time they engage in sex – and often ejaculation occurs in 2 minutes or less. PE is a frustrating problem that can reduce the enjoyment of sex, negatively impact relationships and affect quality of life. Occasional instances of PE might not be cause for concern. However, when the problem occurs frequently and causes distress to the man or his partner, treatment may be of benefit.

Although the exact cause of premature ejaculation are not known, new studies suggest that serotonin, a natural substance produced by nerves, is important. A breakdown of the actions of serotonin in the brain may be a cause. Studies have found that high amounts of serotonin in the brain slow the time to ejaculation – while low amounts of serotonin can produce a condition like PE. A number of anti-depressant drugs – also known as SSRI’s – can sometimes help men suffering from premature ejaculation. The precise mechanism by which SSRIs help to prevent premature ejaculation is not clear. The various SSRI treatment studies of premature ejaculation are characterized by a low incidence of erectile difficulties

Psychological factors can commonly contribute to PE – although scientists believe this is a contributing factor – and not the actual cause of premature ejaculation. Temporary depression, stress, unrealistic expectations about performance, a history of sexual repression, or an overall lack of confidence can cause PE. Interpersonal dynamics may contribute to sexual function. PE can be caused by a lack of communication between partners, hurt feelings, or unresolved conflicts that interfere with the ability to achieve emotional intimacy. Basic and clinical psychopharmacological studies suggest that premature ejaculation is a not a psychological disturbance but a neurobiological phenomenon.

Premature ejaculation (PE) can occur at any age. Surprisingly, aging appears not to be a cause of PE. However, the aging process typically causes changes in erectile function and ejaculation. Erections may not be as firm or as large. Erections may be maintained for a shorter period before ejaculating. The feeling that an ejaculation is about to happen may be shorter. These factors can result in an older man having an ejaculation earlier than when he was younger.

Sometimes premature ejaculation (PE) may be a problem in men who have erectile dysfunction (ED)—the inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. Some men do not understand that the loss of erection normally occurs after ejaculation and may wrongly complain to their doctor that they have ED when the actual problem is PE. It is recommended that the ED be treated first if you experience both ED and PE, since the PE may resolve on its own once the ED has been adequately treated.

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