Erectile dysfunction is no laughing matter. When the clothes come off and the anticipation of pleasure is in the air… performance is a must. Yet for millions of men it becomes a challenge they weren’t expecting.
For men who are facing this health challenge it can cause deep emotional pain.
Many of the guys I have worked with mistakenly believe they are suffering erectile dysfunction when they are in a new relationship and have difficulty performing. More often than not it is performance anxiety and can be easily overcome.
However, this often makes talking about ED a pretty uncomfortable situation. You don’t want anyone to know that there are problems with your manhood, but when it comes down to it, it’s important that you find out what’s going on.
That means a visit to your doctor to talk about the erectile dysfunction problems you’ve been having.
Remember: your health is worth far more than a bit of embarrassment. In the end, once you get through the uncomfortable bit, you may be able to find a solution for your ED. It’s worth it to get medical advice on how to overcome erectile problems.
Erectile Dysfunction – When to Schedule a Doctor Visit
It’s normal for men to occasionally suffer “performance problems”. Stress, emotional difficulties, trauma, drastic physical changes, and medications for a wide range of health problems can all cause problems with erections. If you have a few days where you can’t get it up, don’t sweat it. It’s perfectly normal, especially among men over the age of 40.
However, if you find that the erectile problems persist, it may not just be a simple problem but could actually be erectile dysfunction. ED is common among older men, but it’s also linked to other physical causes (low testosterone production, excessive stress, health problems, obesity, etc.). If the erectile problems persist beyond a week or two, it’s best to visit your doctor.
What Can a Doctor Do?
When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction, there isn’t a simple “one and done” cure. Unlike treating an infection or virus, a simple injection isn’t going to clear up the problem. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the root of the problem, as well as the steps you can take to correct it. Recovering from ED is a long-term process. You need your doctor’s help to get through it.
The good news is that there is hope for your future!
Erectile dysfunction is fully treatable (in most cases). There are medications that can help to combat whatever is causing the erectile problems, and your doctor may be able to recommend a pill, injection, suppository, penile implant, or vacuum pump to help improve erectile function. There is a way to move forward and restore healthy function to your penis.
Your doctor visit can also rule out serious health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and arterial hardening and narrowing (atherosclerosis) are all known factors that contribute to erectile dysfunction. If these conditions are causing your erectile problems, it’s vital you learn about them NOW so you can deal with them before they become deadly. With cardiovascular disease being the #1 killer in the world, you need to take it seriously.
Of course, medications and surgeries can all be the cause of the erectile problems. Prostate surgery and radiation therapy are both linked to erectile dysfunction. If they are the cause of the problem, it’s important to know what, if anything, you can do to deal with it.
Preparing for the Visit
Preparing for your doctor visit is an incredibly simple, straightforward process. We like to break it down into four steps:
Step #1: Schedule the appointment. Call ahead or visit the doctor’s office to schedule the appointment ahead of time. If you’re embarrassed about telling the receptionist about the reason for your visit, tell them you want to consult on a “male health problem”. They’ll understand that it’s something you only want to discuss with your doctor, thereby saving you to embarrassment of having to proclaim your erectile problems aloud.
Step #2: Gather medical data. That means your medical history, all the medications you are currently taking, information on any previous surgeries or major treatments, and any supplements, vitamins, or OTC drugs you take regularly. You’d be surprised by the things that can interfere with healthy erectile function, so your doctor needs to know everything about your medical past.
Step #3: Think about your symptoms. How long have they been present? How often do they affect you? Did they set in quickly, or was it a gradual change in erectile function? Could it be linked to outside factors (stress, work, environment, etc.) or internal factors (mood, health problems, etc.)? Are there certain circumstances that make them more or less likely to occur? The more detail you can provide about the symptoms, the easier it will be for the doctor to discover the root of the problem.
Step #4: Evaluate your lifestyle and habits. The amount of exercise you do, your body fat/body weight, and your eating habits can all affect your erectile function. At the same time, your work habits and mood/emotional state may also play a role in your health problems. Think about any “weak areas” in your life that could be contributing to your ED.
10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor
On the big day, it’s time to go in with your head held high and ZERO embarrassment. Remember: ED is a very common problem, one that affects up to 40% of men over the age of 40. That’s 2 in every 5 men! The number rises to 70% by the age of 70. You’re not the first ED patient your doctor will see, and you won’t be the last. You have nothing to be ashamed of—it’s just a health problem that can and does affect anyone.
What you SHOULD do is ask questions that will help you and your doctor pinpoint the underlying cause of the problem. Here are the 10 most important questions to ask:
- What is the cause of my ED? Obviously the first question, and the most important one. Be prepared: the answer may be more complicated and involve more factors than you’d think.
- Will be symptoms be long-term, or is it temporary ED? This will help you know if you need to find a long-term solution, or if it’s just a short-term health problem that is causing the dysfunction.
- Is it psychological, physiological, or related to an outside factor? Understanding which of these three factors is behind the ED will help you prepare to make the necessary changes to your life.
- Is it treatable? In most cases, the answer will be a resounding “yes”.
- What treatment options are there? The doctor will explain to you about the various injections, pills, and suppositories available to you. If surgery or more serious treatment is needed, you want to know about it!
- What do I do if the treatments don’t work? ED is caused by a variety of internal factors, not just direct blood flow to the penis. You need to ask this question to find out what to do if the initial course of action and treatment doesn’t work.
- Should I visit a specialist? This is the question to ask if you’re talking to a General Practitioner. They may recommend that you see a urologist, or a cardiologist to treat heart problems or an endocrinologist to treat hormonal problems. The problem may be beyond your GP’s expertise, so it may be better to work with a specialist.
- Will making lifestyle changes deal with the problem? Sometimes there are simple things that can help to overcome ED: quitting smoking, cutting back alcohol intake, exercising more, eating healthier, losing weight, and so on. Even if the doctor recommends medication, there may be things you can do to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
- What does my health insurance cover? This is a more “nitty gritty” question, but one you need to take into account when considering long-term treatment. You may end up with a hefty medical bill if you opt for a treatment or work with a doctor outside your coverage.
- What further information do I need? Your doctor will no doubt provide you with reading material to help you understand the problem, and they may be able to point you to resources that will explain the things you’ve discussed. It’s worth taking the time to learn as much as possible to understand how to move forward.
10 Questions Your Doctor Will Ask You
Your doctor is going to have a number of questions of their own, which will help them to determine the underlying cause of the problem. First off, they’ll want full details of your medical history (which you will have prepared thanks to Step #2 above). They need to know what sort of medications and supplements you’re taking to determine if they are behind the problem, as well as what surgeries or treatments you’ve undergone.
Here are the 10 most common questions your doctor will ask:
- Can you get an erection? This is to determine the severity of the ED. If you can manage erections (frequently or occasionally), it may not be as hard to treat as full erectile dysfunction.
- Do you wake up with erections? People with ED can still achieve erections, as evidenced by “morning wood”. However, the ED may kick in when trying to have sex.
- Do you lose the erection when you have sex? ED doesn’t just mean difficulty achieving erections; you may also have a hard time maintaining it.
- Does the erection come back during sex? This is another question for the doctor to diagnose how the ED manifests.
- Is your erection firm enough to have sex? With ED, you may be able to get a semi-erection, but it’s not quite firm enough for intercourse.
- Does masturbation help you achieve and maintain an erection? In some cases, people only suffer from erectile dysfunction with intercourse, but not when masturbating. This can be both a psychological and physiological problem.
- How much do you smoke, drink, exercise, and eat? Smoking and drinking can impair blood flow, leading to a higher risk of ED. A lack of exercise and poor eating habits may contribute to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, all of which are underlying causes of ED.
- On your last doctor visit, were you tested for heart disease, diabetes, or other health problems? These health problems could be the cause of your ED. Undiagnosed, they may lead to many more issues.
- Are you sleeping well at night? A lack of sleep can interrupt healthy, normal body functions. It’s possible that your ED could be the result of fatigue and poor sleep quality.
- How would you describe your overall mental state? If you’re stressed, overworked, depressed, or feeling put-upon by something at work or home, there could be an underlying psychological problem causing the ED. Your mind and body are DEFINITELY interconnected!
Once the doctor asks their question, they’ll likely run some tests: blood tests, physical exam (of your prostate and penis), a lifestyle and health questionnaire, ultrasound, sleep study, etc. These tests are meant to help the doctor understand what’s going on inside your body. If they can’t find any underlying physiological problems (high blood pressure, diabetes, low hormone levels, etc.), they may recommend you see a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist. Psychological problems can have a very strong effect on the overall health, including your erectile function.
See, the visit to the doctor about your ED doesn’t have to be embarrassing! Sure, it’s a delicate subject, but to the doctor it’s more like a mathematical formula: symptom + risk factor + blood and physical tests = discovery of the cause of the ED. You don’t need to be ashamed of the health problem, regardless of the fact that it affects your penis. In the end, it’s more important that you figure out what’s causing the problem and take steps to deal with it!