The Importance of Malaysians Seeking Healthcare Practitioners for Erectile Dysfunction as a Common Medical Condition

On the 7th of March 2023, I attended an event by A. Menarini Singapore Pte Ltd (Malaysia Branch) in The Slate @ The Row KL about Erectile Dysfunction: The Real Check & Chat. According to A.Menarini’s survey (1), awareness and understanding of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is high among Malaysians but more than half of respondents would not seek healthcare practitioners.

For those who may now know, ED is defined as the persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance (2). On the report of 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, it was found that among sexually active Malaysian men aged 18 and above, 47.1% had probable mild ED and 31.6% had probable moderate to severe ED.

At the event, we got to hear some insights from regarding ED in Malaysia from Prof Dato’ Dr Zulkifli Md Zainuddin, Consultant Urologist, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Chan Fun Shin – Registered Counsellor and Sex Therapist, and Jasmine King – Sex Positive Advocate and Founder of Jas Explains.

How does a person get ED and what are some of the physical causes of ED? 

Prof Zul stated, “The most important factor that needs to be addressed is diabetes. A large number of people struggling with ED has diabetes. Medication for certain health issues like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and low testosterone contributes to ED.”

We know that ED is not just physiological but also partly psychological. What are some of the psychological issues associated with ED? 

Chan Fun Shin gave four major points: 
  • Stress – work, family, partners, obligations, etc. (Internal & External)
  • Anxiety – traumatic experiences in bed can cause forms of ED / performance anxiety for performance-oriented people
  • Unhappy Relationships – Pressures, unresolved issues outside the bedroom,
  • Low self-esteem – Due to influences from porn because of expectations

What is your experience or understanding of the Malaysian culture in starting the conversation about ED?

Sex positive advocate and influencer, Jasmine King replied...
  • I started my platform in 2019 – I wondered are Malaysians ready for sex-positive conversations?
  • Yes. Malaysians are interested and are eager to have these conversations.
  • Malaysian female often struggle with body image issues and males on the other hand worry about performance – how to last longer, how can I please my partner, etc
  • The age groups of the people that attend my workshops are between the ages 20 – 40 y/o.
  • Those with ED- find it difficult to have a conversation regarding the problem with their partner due to insecurities.

ED Awareness is Not Enough to Make a Change

According to the survey conducted by A. Menarini, 87.9% of respondents were able to understand the meaning of ED and identify the common symptoms and causes of ED. However, the survey also revealed that 41.5% responded somewhat unlikely when it comes to seeing a health practitioner if struggling with ED. Despite general awareness and understanding about ED, Malaysians are still hesitant about seeking out professional help.

From left to right:Dr Thirnathrama Seriramulu, Medical Advisor, A. Menarini Singapore Pte Ltd, Josie Ong, Commercial Director, A. Menarini, Amelia Mok, General Manager, A. Menarini Singapore Pte Ltd and Alex Lee, Group Product Manager, A. Menarini at the launch of A. Menarini’s ED Awareness campaign, “Erectile Dysfunction: The Real Check and Chat”.

“At A. Menarini, male health is a priority and understanding the sensitivities and taboo surrounding the topic of ED can be a difficult conversation to have not only with your partner, loved ones and your doctor. Findings from the online survey revealed that while Malaysians are aware of ED and how it manifests, there are still more conversations to have about understanding that ED is a treatable condition,” said Amelia Mok, General Manager, ​A. Menarini Singapore Pte Ltd (Malaysia Branch).

The Impact of ED on Patients and Loved Ones

Naturalness and spontaneity are parts of the drivers of sexual intercourse, and for ED patients, time-to-effect plays a big role in achieving successful intercourse (3). For ED patients, spontaneity in sex can add to psychological concerns further reducing the ability to have successful intercourse. 

Click on the infographic above to view larger image

The male survey respondents cited the top three causes for their struggles with maintaining an erection as stress and anxiety (34%), exhaustion (32.1%), and other personal reasons (15.1%). From the point of view of the female respondents, the top three causes for their partner’s struggles with ED are stress and anxiety (71.4%), exhaustion (65.7%), and embarrassment or low self-esteem (31.4%). In general, the survey findings have revealed that ED is a medical condition that takes a toll on not only the patient but also the loved ones.

Taking The Next Step: Seek Professional Help

Starting the conversation on ED can be difficult and the Malaysian respondents of the A. Menarini surveys are able to have conversations about sexual health with their partners, most of the respondents are unlikely to see a health practitioner when struggling with ED. 41.5% of male respondents and 44.3% of female respondents are able to have conversations with their partners regarding sexual health and intimacy.

Taking the next step to meet with a health practitioner, is the way forward to help patients struggling with ED and their loved ones to improve their quality of life. Malaysians are aware of ED but there are still great strides to be taken to help Malaysians understand that ED is a common issue and the importance of seeking out professional help to manage their struggles with ED. When the survey respondents were asked to identify the top three common ED treatments, Malaysians named oral drugs or pills (70.1%), testosterone therapy (52.3%), and traditional and herbal remedies (43%).

“For us at A. Menarini, we aim to raise awareness of men’s health, and with ED, it is not enough to just know about ED but to continue to drive the message that ED is almost always a treatable condition. It’s important to educate the public about the benefits of reaching out to health practitioners as ED is a common medical condition,” Amelia concluded.

In my very own opinion as a male, having ED is definitely an embarrassing matter but the people who would know about it is yourself, your own partner and those who can help you to diagnose this problem which is the healthcare practitioners. One important thing that I've learnt through the chat is that ED may not only cause issues in relationship but it also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases for about 20%. 

So if you really value happiness in your relationship and your own precious life too, do reach out to health practitioners, get yourself checked before it becomes more severe.

1 - A. Menarini. 2023. Awareness and Knowledge on Erectile Dysfunction – An online survey conducted with a sample group of 107 Malaysians aged 21 – 60 years old with a total of 53 men and 54 women from the Klang Valley region.

2 - Salonia A, Bettocchi C, Boeri L, et al. European Association of Urology Guidelines on Sexual and Reproductive Health-2022

.: Peace Out :.