Discuss Erectile Dysfunction With Your Doctor
If it is temporary and only occasionally occurs, problems getting or keeping an erection are not a cause for concern. There could be several reasons. It could be fatigue, stress, alcoholism, or the side effects of a new drug.
But some men have a common, chronic condition called erectile dysfunction (ED).
It is very common in older men, but aging is not the cause. In about 75% of ED cases, there is a physical cause. That means it’s time to see your doctor.
How Your Doctor Can Help
There are three main reasons why you should not try to deal with erectile dysfunction yourself:
Remedy: Sometimes, it is as simple as taking a pill prescribed by your doctor. There are just ED drugs. Some options that your doctor can help you diagnose include:
- Surgery for penile implants
- Special equipment, such as vacuum pumps, improves blood flow to the penis
It can be linked to critical health conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Arterial stiffness
It may also be linked to other therapies, such as:
- Prostate surgery
- Radiation therapy
If your doctor can find the cause, treating that can also help you in the room.
If stress, anxiety, or depression is causing you distress, your doctor may be able to help you find a licensed mental health professional to talk to.
Preparing for Your Visit
The first thing you need to do is make an appointment. If you do not want to tell the recipient why you are coming in, just say you want to talk to a doctor about a men’s health problem.
Next, make a list of the information your doctor will need. It should include:
- All the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbs, supplements, and vitamins.
- Facts about your symptoms. When did they start? Do they come slowly or quickly? What happens every time you want to have sex? Is it unplanned? Is it only under certain conditions?
- Important personal information. Are you experiencing stressful times? Have there been major changes at home or work?
- Do you drink excessively, or do you use cocaine, tobacco, or opioids?
- Consider asking your partner to come with you. Your partner can fill in details that you may have forgotten or that you may not have thought of.
What You Can Ask
You will need answers to these questions before you leave:
- What causes my ED? Are my symptoms chronic or temporary?
- Can my ED be treated?
- What are the treatment options?
- What if they do not work?
- Will I need to see a specialist?
- Why will you pay me for my insurance?
- Can I make changes in my lifestyle that will help?
- Where can I get more information?
What Happens at a Doctor’s Office?
Worried about discussing your problem? The best way is to just say, “I think I probably have ED.” It is unlikely that your doctor would feel uncomfortable.
If they have a problem talking to you about sex, ask them to refer you to a urologist.
The doctor will start by asking about your medical history. They will do this to learn more about your symptoms, conditions, and what medications you are taking.
The questions may seem personal. But it is important to answer them fully and honestly. The doctor needs this information to know how to treat it.
Questions may include:
- Ever got proud?
- If you do, is it strong enough to have sex?
- When you first have sex, do you lose your erection? What rock?
- Can you be proud of your masturbation?
- Do you ever wake up with an erection?
tests to diagnose
The doctor will ask you if you smoke, how much you drink, and whether you use recreational drugs or not. Then they will do a physical exam. This will involve your penis and prostate. The doctor may also perform blood tests and other laboratory tests to diagnose such things as diabetes or heart disease.
If you need more tests, they can refer you to a urologist. If you see a urologist, ask the same questions you asked your doctor. Expect them to ask questions that are closely related to what your doctor asked you.
The urologist will ask you what happens when you have sex. This will help them know where to start. They will use your feedback to track your progress.
They will ask you many questions about your health and examine you physically. You may need to have more blood work or ultrasound.
It may be difficult at first to talk to your doctor about ED. But starting a conversation is worth it.
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Intimacy: Talking Together About ED
If you have erectile dysfunction (ED), you must overcome your negative emotions and talk things out with your partner. ED is a problem with many solutions – and it starts with both of you. Find a way to overcome the pressure and work together.
“When you’re in love, erectile dysfunction doesn’t just happen to a man – it happens to couples,” says Barry McCarthy Ph.D., author of Coping with Erectile Dysfunction and a professor of psychology at American University. If both partners experience it together, they can prevent the ED from separating them.
Things Couples Should Know About ED
When you and your partner talk about this situation, you both want to remember the important things about ED:
Do not blame yourself. “Men with ED need to know that this is not their fault, and their partners need to know the same thing,” said Holly Richmond, Ph.D., an active psychologist, and certified sex therapist in Portland, OR, and Los Angeles. It is not because of something that one of you did or did not do. No one should blame and there is no need to apologize.
ED does not occur because it is not open enough. Partners need to know that they will not be able to “cure” ED as long as they try hard in the room. Usually, adding sparkle to your sex life is okay, but sex toys and spending money on Victoria’s Secret will not solve the ED.
It’s normal. One large study estimates that almost half of all men have some degree of erectile dysfunction. And it is very common as you grow older.
It is treatable. “ED is not a problem, it’s a speed,” said Roger Libby, Ph.D., a psychologist and sex therapist in Seattle. “You can solve it.”
What You Can Do Now
Talk about it. Think about what you want to say and choose the best time – over a glass of wine or on foot. Talk about how you feel and be ready to listen. Focus on how you want to solve the problem together.
One McCarthy tip: “The worst time to talk about ED is naked in bed,” especially after an unsuccessful sexual attempt. Put on clothes first.
See a doctor.
See a doctor. ED is often related to health problems or medications you are taking. So any man with ED needs to make an appointment with a doctor. They may suggest a change of medication or treatment with ED pills.
Your doctor may also recommend that you drink less alcohol, lose weight if you are overweight, and exercise regularly.
Many experts recommend that colleagues go to appointments, too. It will get the doctor’s attention, and it will help to ensure that the man will tell the story.
See a sex therapist.
See a sex therapist. The term “sex therapist” may sound scary. But Richmond assures his customers to be vigilant. “We won’t touch you!” he says. “We are general mental health professionals with additional training on human sexuality.”
He usually works with couples for 4 to 5 months, meeting once a week, where he guides them through the process.
“Once the couple has finished the hump, they leave,” he said. “One success leads to another.”
Lower the poles.
Lower the poles. Both Richmond and McCarthy recommend that couples not even try to have sex for a while. Once off the menu, there is very little pressure to do – and that makes it easier to have fun and enjoy each other.
In the meantime, focus on other things in bed, such as massage, says Richmond. Gradually increase. After a few weeks or a month, start using your hands or mouth. Once you have broken the cycle, you will be ready to try sex again.
Try to relax.
Try to relax. ED can sometimes sound like a big deal as if it were just the beginning of the end of your sexual life. Not at all. “Don’t go into a bad situation,” Richmond said. “I assure clients that there is usually another parking area near the existing one.”
And while sex is really important in the life of your relationship, it doesn’t have to be complicated or rigid. Sex is fun, remember?
Use this as a time to reconnect, to remember why you fell for each other. Remember that you are a couple, not just roommates or parents. You can get out of this with a more satisfying, flexible, and happier sex life than ever before.