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Premature ejaculation is a male sexual disorder in which ejaculation and orgasm occurs prematurely. It is one of the most common forms of sexual dysfunction, affecting over 30% of men around the world. There is currently no universally recognized definition of premature ejaculation, making the analysis and examination of the condition in clinical and research settings more complicated. Not surprisingly, premature ejaculation is often undertreated and underdiagnosed. Premature ejaculation is typically diagnosed when the patient always (or almost always) ejaculates within one minute of penetration, or if the patient is unable to delay ejaculation during sexual intercourse all the time (or nearly all the time). Premature ejaculation tends to cause distress and frustration and consequently, patients may try to avoid intimacy. It is believed that both biological and psychological factors are involved in premature ejaculation. Conventionally, premature ejaculation is treated using pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy. In addition, topical products such as Emla cream are also used to treat premature ejaculation.
Emla cream belongs to a type of drug known as local anesthetics. It contains prilocaine and lidocaine as its active ingredients. The cream exerts its action by temporarily numbing the skin’s surface, thereby alleviating pain. Clinically, Emla cream is indicated for numbing the skin before having a needle inserted. In adult patients (and adolescents), Emla cream is also used to numb the genitals before wart removal or injections. When used for these purposes, the cream should be applied by a nurse or doctor. While Emla cream has pain-relieving effects, patients may still feel touch and pressure.
When applied on the penis, Emla helps to numb the skin, thereby prolonging the time to reach ejaculation. Psychosexual therapy is currently the mainstay of premature ejaculation treatment. For optimal treatment results, Emla cream should be used in conjunction with psychosexual therapy (a behavioral therapy that may also involve physical therapies) and pharmacotherapy such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs have been clinically proven effective in treating the symptoms of premature ejaculation, although their mechanism of action remains unclear.
In a 2002 study by Atikeler et al, Emla cream has been proven effective in treating premature ejaculation. Based on the findings, Emla is able to increase the pre-ejaculation period by up to 8.70 minutes (+/- 1.7 minutes). The study found the best results were when participants applied Emla cream 20 minutes before a sexual intercourse.
When used exactly as directly, Emla cream is generally safe and well tolerated. Having said that, Emla cream can potentially cause side effects such as local skin reactions. This includes swelling, redness, and paleness at the treatment area. Plus, patients may experience a mild sensation of warmth, itching, or burning during treatment. While these symptoms are relatively common, they are usually self-limiting in nature and will eventually resolve themselves without further treatment.
In general, Emla should not be used in patients who have a known hypersensitivity to prilocaine or lidocaine. Similarly, patients who are allergic to local anesthetics of the amide type, or any other inactive ingredients in the formulation should not use Emla cream.
For the best results, Emla cream should be applied 20 minutes before intercourse. Emla cream should not be used on open wounds. When used on newly shaven skin, the absorption of active ingredients may be enhanced. Therefore, patients should follow the recommended time of application and dosage to avoid any undesirable effects. Patients who have atopic dermatitis are advised to use Emla cream cautiously. Furthermore, Emla cream should not be used if the patients have eczema or skin rash. Be aware that the cream is not intended to be used on the genitals of pediatrics.
Patients should not use more than the prescribed amount of Emla cream. Using too much Emla cream can potentially cause symptoms such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, abnormal taste, numbness of the tongue, tingling of the skin around the mouth and lightheadedness and dizziness.
In order to preserve the potency of active ingredients, it is recommended to store Emla cream at a room temperature lower than 30°C. It is not advisable to freeze the cream.
If you are thinking about using Emla for premature ejaculation, discuss the treatment with a medical professional.