Men’s Health reports that erectile dysfunction (ED) is not just a problem for older men, and one startup business is marketing and selling sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, to younger guys in their 20s and 30s. Besides sildenafil, Hims sells a variety of products for hair and skin, addressing issues such as male pattern baldness and adult acne. According to its website, the Hims Mission is to “create an open and empowered male culture that results in more proactivity around health and preventative self-care.”
“The fact that you’re struggling with [erectile dysfunction] has no reflection on you as a man, your self-esteem, or your ego,” Andrew Dudum, the CEO of Hims, told Men’s Health. “It shouldn’t be even conceived that way. It’s just statistically likely to happen. If it happens early, unfortunately you got the short end of the stick, but statistically you’re still in a bucket.”
Men’s Health references 2013 research that found one in four men reporting ED symptoms to be younger than 40 and statistics that show by the end of their 30s, 40 percent of men have experienced sexual dysfunction of some kind. It was reported in 2007 that in the U.S. 18 million men were affected by ED and the incidence of ED has been continuously rising over the past few decades.
Although there is still a stigma surrounding ED it is in fact very common. Research shows that about 40 percent of men in their 40s suffer from ED, and the percent increases as men age, with 50 percent of men in their 50s and 60 percent of men in their 60s reporting ED symptoms.
Unfortunately for those many men of all ages suffering from ED, research has also been indicating that sildenafil and other PDE5 inhibitors have the side effect of increasing melanoma risk. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation one person an hour dies of melanoma and an estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017.
Studies have found that PDE5 inhibitors can increase melanoma risk up to 84 percent and that the drugs cause existing melanomas to grow more rapidly. Men who have used these drugs are wise to be aware of the cancer risk and to be sure to have regular skin checks as early diagnosis can save lives.
Skin Cancer Foundation