Doctor's Advice - Should I get Viagra at 16?
- Should I get Viagra at 16?
Q. Doc, I would be grateful if you could give me good advice. I am a guy of 16, and I am a virgin. But I like girls a lot. Last week, I was in Clarendon and I met a girl of 18 there. She told me she would be willing to have sex with me, so I tried. But I could not do it. You see, I lost the erection, Doc. I am very worried about this. Is there something wrong with me? Have I got some sickness, Doctor? Also, if I went to our local Doc, would he give me Viagra?
A. I think it is most unlikely that any doctor would give Viagra to a boy of 16. Viagra is mainly used by men aged over 40, who are having trouble with their erections. Mostly, those guys have problems because of narrowing of the arteries - the tubes that carry blood to the male organ. Viagra opens up these tubes.
But I do not think for one moment that you have any physical problems like that. When teenage guys cannot get an erection, it is almost always because of nervousness and anxiety.
I don't exactly know what the circumstances were in Clarendon last week, when that young lady offered to have sex with you. However, my guess is that you were excited and nervous. And nerves are the enemies of erection. It is almost impossible to get erect when you are scared.
In some ways, it is a good thing that you were unable to have sex with that girl. After all, she might have given you a sexually transmitted infection. She might possibly have had HIV. And you might have got her pregnant.
My advice to you is not to fret. There will be a time in the future when you have sex with a woman. And I am sure you will get a perfectly good erection on that occasion. Please, make sure you practise safe sex!
- Why am I not happy?
Q I am 18 years of age, and ever since I was 13 years old, I can't remember a time when I was completely happy for a day. Don't get me wrong, Doc. I don't have a terrible life, but I do have problems. There are times when I am around friends or family and I am having a blast. But suddenly my mood changes and I feel extremely depressed. Then I exclude myself and just immerse myself in the state of sadness and depression that comes over me. I usually end up crying uncontrollably for hours.
Over the last couple of years, I've been trying to ignore all this, because I thought that maybe I'm the type of person that only enjoys my own company. But a year or two back, during one of these fits of crying, I saw a sharp object. I just grabbed it and started scraping myself. Afterwards, I had a total of 43 scrape marks on my arms or legs, but I did feel better. However, I knew it wasn't healthy to cut myself, so I didn't do it again.
But a couple of nights ago, I had another breakdown, so I used my fingernails and repeatedly scratched myself violently. I'm really worried, because I have no idea what's wrong with me. Could it be that I have depression or something? Please, I'm afraid I might start contemplating suicide, and I do not want it to get to that.
Also, I know you'll probably recommend that I see a therapist, but I can't afford that, and my parents can't either. And I don't want them to know about any of this, because they'll worry too much.
A. Yours is a very sad email. My sympathies go out to you. From my long clinical experience, I can assure you that you are indeed suffering from clinical depression.
Furthermore, you may have the type which is called manic-depression or bi-polar syndrome, in which the person plunges from excessive activity into deep, deep sadness. In addition to all this, you have shown a tendency to self-harming, which is always a sign that something is seriously wrong.
Why does all of this happen to you, and to many other young people? It is mainly because of an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. We don't know why that occurs, but in some folks it just does.
The urgent thing is that you should see a doctor, rather than a therapist. Maybe a therapist could help later, but at the moment you need to consult a medical doctor, who can prescribe medication for you. The idea of this medication is to reverse the chemical changes that are making you so unhappy.
I think it would be very wise to tell your parents about your situation before you see the doctor. If you like, you could just show them this question and answer, and say "Look, this is me in The Gleaner".
I appreciate that you don't want to worry them, but they would be far more worried if you got so badly depressed that you tried to kill yourself. But whether you tell your mother and father or not, I beg you to consult a doctor during this coming week. All my good wishes to you.
- Mystery lump
Q. I think I can feel a lump in my testicle. My doctor says he can't feel one there. But he has ordered an ultrasound scan. Will this hurt me, Doc?
A. No it won't. Ultrasound is just a kind of sound wave, as the name suggests. And it doesn't pain a guy at all. It will tell whether you really have a lump or not.
Email questions to Doc at email@example.com and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.