Depression is believed to be more common in women than in men; the National Institute for Clinical Excellence reports that as many as 1 in 4 women are diagnosed with depressive symptoms at some point in their lives, while a more modest 1 male in 10 is likely to present with the symptoms of depression. However, it is believed that depression in men is underdiagnosed, partly because men are less likely to report symptoms, and partly because the symptoms in males tend to be somewhat different. What is certain is that depression is equally devastating to members of both sexes; men who are dealing with this disorder may experience symptoms ranging from sadness to loss of interest in normal activities to a marked decrease in their sex drive, just to name a few. Fortunately, most of these symptoms can be managed through therapy, medication and/or lifestyle changes, as well as attention to overall physical health and - in the case of low sex drive - appropriate penis care. The following information may help set men on the right path toward seeking the treatment they need to once again enjoy life, family, friends, relationships and, yes, better sex.

What is depression?

Depression is a common mood disorder that affects millions of men, women and children each year. It can result in feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, relationship problems, fatigue and even suicidal thoughts. While mood disorders have often been dismissed as "all in the head," depression is a serious medical illness that requires treatment. Unfortunately, due to the stigma attached, it is believed that at least half of the people who are suffering from depression never seek treatment.

The causes of depression are not fully understood, but it is believed that a combination of genetics, biological factors, environment and psychological factors all play a role. People who have family members with depression are more likely to experience it themselves.

How does it affect men?

Depression tends to affect different individuals in different ways, and males may react differently than females. Some of the more common symptoms in men include:

- Fatigue

- Sleeping too little or too much

- Stomachache, backache or other aches and pains

- Irritability

- Difficulty concentrating

- Anger or hostility

- Stress

- Anxiety

- Substance abuse

- Low sex drive/sexual dysfunction

What types of treatments are effective?

With treatment, most individuals are able to get better. Treating depression usually requires a personalized plan and may involve the following:

- Medications. Antidepressants such as SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are highly effective for relieving many cases of depression. On the other hand, these medications may have side effects that are unpleasant, including weight gain, digestive issues and loss of sex drive, so it is important to work with a doctor to find the right treatment.

- Therapy. Talk therapy and cognitive therapy are both very effective for treating depression, and some patients find that this alone is enough to relieve their symptoms.

- Diet and exercise. Following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise are both strongly recommended by medical experts. Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining the body’s chemical balance, and it is well-known that exercise can significantly enhance mood.

- Taking time to relax and unwind. A stressful lifestyle is often at the heart of depression, so taking a break from the stressors is very important when it comes to managing symptoms and getting better. Any relaxing and enjoyable activity will do - whether watching sports on television, taking a long hike, spending time with friends and family or practicing meditation.

- Getting cozy with a partner. Spending some one-on-one time with a partner is also highly effective for improving mood levels. During sex, and especially after ejaculation, the body releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that can create a sense of well-being and happiness. Even if a man’s sex drive does not leave him up for a wild session between the sheets, simply holding a partner and spending some quiet time together can be beneficial.

- Making time for personal care. When a man feels like he looks good, he is more likely to feel good about himself, so taking the time to keep up the grooming and hygiene is an important aspect of self-care. Simple things like showering, wearing clean clothing, making time for a shave and keeping the hair groomed can help lift a man’s spirits, as can using a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). A cream that is enriched with natural emollients can leave skin feeling fresh and smooth, while amino acids and vitamins give sensory cells a boost, promoting greater enjoyment in sex.