Life would have been a smooth journey for 52-year-old Zia-us-Salaam (name changed), had frustration not seeped into his life. Victim of erectile dysfunction (impotence), Haq was forced to take a divorce twice - leading to frustration and no hope of a happy life.
A senior government employee, Haq's problem - not being able to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse - is not an uncommon one. A similar situation was faced by 28-year-old Sumanjeet Sikdar, who was bit by a stray dog on his penis when he was just six months old. The dog bit off most of his penis, which went on to become a barrier as he gradually attained a marriageable age.
Urologists in India said that erectile dysfunction is not a "new problem in society", with around 50% men in India having the condition.
According to experts, erectile dysfunction has a "perfect cure", but because men do not feel comfortable in revealing their problems they face marital breakups due to sexual complications.
After being dissatisfied with their friends' advice for treatment, Haq and Sikdar finally went to medical experts who offered them hope.
The two were asked to undergo a penile implant surgery in which devices are placed inside the penis to allow men with erectile dysfunction to get an erection.
While Zia was ready to pay anything close to Rs.10 lakh to get his condition cured and underwent the inflatable penile implant, Sircar underwent the semi rigid penile implant surgery, which cost him less than the inflatable implant but offered effective cure.
PN Dogra, head of the urology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said that penal implants are of two types - semi rigid and inflatable.
"In the inflatable penile implant surgeries, cylinders (placed inside the body) are used to replace the spongy tissue inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. These implants come in a variety of diameters and lengths and range anything from Rs.5 lakh to 8 lakh," Dogra told IANS, adding that such surgeries are very popular in the West.
However, it is the semi-rigid or non-inflatable implant which is more common in India. It costs around Rs.1 lakh, excluding the surgical charge.
"Such implants are firm. They can be bent into different positions," Dogra told IANS.
Another thing about the implant surgery is that the partner is not able to make out about the implant.
Also read: All you need to know about impotence
Experts classify impotency into psychological and physical. While psychological impotency may be due to a man's fear that he will not be able to perform sexually leading to performance anxiety, physical impotence is due to the abnormalities of the penile arteries, veins, and smooth muscle causing obstruction in the flow of blood into the penile erection chambers preventing erection.
Dogra said though implants are a solution, they should be resorted to only when other prescribed medications like penis erection oil or viagra tablets are ineffective in curing the dysfunction.
Zia, who got married for the third time recently, told IANS that the satisfaction level during intercourse is the "same as in natural intercourse".
Vineet Malhotra, senior consultant urologist and andrologist at Delhi Nova Specialty Hospital, Kalkaji, said: "Implants do not interfere with ejaculation, although ejaculation and orgasm are not ensured. Implants neither increase nor decrease sexual desire."
He said the non-inflatable implants and inflatable devices can last indefinitely.
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The urologist further said that the inability to consummate after marriage was emerging as one of the reasons for couples to split in India.
"It is important for men to understand the importance of such implants in the era where women are no more willing to stick to a man with less sexual consummation level," Malhotra told IANS.
Agreed Mayank Gupta, senior consultant, urology, at Sharda Hospital.
"People in India need to understand that hiding the problems related to erectile dysfunction can make their life dull and lead to family tensions and, in the worst case, a divorce," Gupta told IANS.
He also said these implants are also useful when a woman wants to undergo sex change.
"In the coming years, the use of the implant will certainly grow. Society is changing and people want to lead a better and happy life and if technology is lending a helping hand then everyone wants to use it and why not?," Gupta said.