Getting Help for Erectile Dysfunction
Getting help for erectile dysfunction and related sexual health problems often means men have one or two other challenges to overcome. One is embarrassment. Although the subject of erectile dysfunction is the topic of many television commercials and other media, a great number of men are still not comfortable talking about their sexual problems. If you find yourself in this situation, doing your own research can help you better understand your sexual issue. It can also assist you in forming questions for a health care provider when getting help for erectile dysfunction.
Feeling more prepared for your visit with a health professional may alleviate some of your embarrassment and anxiety. What is important to remember is that ED is very common and you are not alone. In fact over 30 million men in the US suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction.
Professional Help for ED
Men who have prostate cancer and who are already seeing one or more doctors for treatment and monitoring can turn to any of them for help. These professionals may include a primary care practitioner, surgeon, radiation oncologist, urologist, or medical oncologist. While any of these professionals may be well versed in sexual medicine, urologists are most likely to be familiar with the topic and thus most likely to be comfortable discussing your concerns with you. Men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction are not the only ones who can feel uncomfortable: many physicians also are embarrassed to discuss the topic with their male patients.
If you do see a urologist for your sexual issues and he or she is not your primary care physicians, make sure all the doctors involved with your care are informed of any medications and/or other treatments you may receive. Also make sure you discuss the use of any herbal or other alternative therapies with your healthcare provider before you take them and that this information is also shared among your care providers.
Talking to a Professional about ED
When getting help for erectile dysfunction, you can expect your physician or other professional will ask you questions of a highly personal nature. Those question will include inquiries about your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, night-time erections, masturbation, ejaculation, orgasms, libido, and overall sexual activity. He or she should also perform a physical examination of your penis and testicles, and if you still have your prostate, you may have a digital rectal exam as well.
Men who have partners are usually encouraged to bring them to the interview portion of the visit. Partners can not only provide insight and information that patients may forget, but also learn from the experience and help the physician determine the best course of action. The presence of a partner also can help patients better comply with the doctor’s treatment suggestions. In advance of any consultation it may also be of benefit to review and complete the International Index of Erectile Function as well as a Prostate Symptoms Test.
You may also consider getting help for erectile dysfunction from a sex therapist. These mental health professionals are specifically trained to deal with sexual health problems, although they cannot prescribe medication. However, open communication between a patient’s sex therapist and urologist can take care of any medication needs.