Talking To A Doctor About Erectile Dysfunction

What You Can Expect During Your Visit

Photo Credit: Ani Kolleshi/Unsplash

It’s not exactly a new phenomenon that men are less likely than women to seek medical help. Antiquated yet persistent notions of the stoic macho-man make for a situation in which societal pressures can cause men to put off seeing the doctor. When medical advice needed relates to sexual health, men can be even less likely to ask for help, choosing instead to deal with it on their own. 

Whether it’s an in-person or virtual visit, men should take advantage of resources available to them to address erectile dysfunction. Here are a few things to consider and an idea of what to expect when it comes to taking the important step of talking to a doctor about erectile function issues you might be experiencing. 

When You Should Seek Help

Occasional erectile dysfunction is common and can be due to a variety of factors. Stress, fatigue, too much alcohol, and some prescription medications can cause ED. 

If that’s the case, when whatever stressful situation you’re dealing with gets a little less stressful, you get a good night’s sleep, take it easy on the booze, and your body adapts to new medication, your erectile function might return to normal. 

However, if you’re having trouble getting and keeping an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse more than half the time and over a period of a few months, you should talk to your doctor. 

How To Prepare For Your Visit

If you plan on making an in-person, give your doctor’s office a call. If you’re looking to avoid telling the receptionist the precise reason for your appointment, you can say you’re interested in discussing a men’s health problem. You can avoid the chat with the receptionist altogether by arranging an appointment online. You’ll have to answer a short survey about your current health and wellness. 

No matter which option you choose, you should take stock of some information beforehand. 

  • What medications are you currently taking? Including:
    • Prescription medication
    • Over-the-counter medication
    • Vitamins
    • Dietary or other supplements
    • Herbal / organic medicine
  • Information about what you’re experiencing:
    • When did you first notice the issue?
    • Does it happen every time you have sex or only on certain occasions?
    • Has it been gradual or all at once?
    • Are you under particular job/relationship stress at the moment?
    • Have you recently met a new partner?
  • Drinking / drug use:
    • How much alcohol do you consume?
    • Do you smoke pot, if so, how much?
    • Do you smoke cigarettes
    • Do you use cocaine?
    • Do you use opiates recreationally?

Communicating with your doctor 

We often revere doctors as unquestionable authority figures. Obviously, most docs are good people whose purpose is to improve your health. But that doesn’t mean that he or she should be the only one asking questions. Consider asking some yourself. Such as:

  • What do you think is causing my ED?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • How much does ED medication cost?
  • Where can I find more information?

It’s also important to keep in mind that doctors are professionals who aren’t likely to be surprised by your symptoms or condition—especially something as common as ED. Be straight up with him/her and say you think you have erectile dysfunction. Some of the questions they may ask you are:

  • Do you ever get an erection, if so, when?
  • Can you get an erection by masturbating?
  • Do you wake up with an erection?
  • Are your erections firm enough for sex?
  • Are you a smoker / heavy drinker / recreational drug user?
  • Are you physically active?

Tests and Exams for ED

How your doctor decides to proceed in terms of next steps will depend on the doctor as well as your symptoms and potential causes. He or she may refer you to a urologist for further tests, and/or perform some basic tests right then and there:

  • Physical examination of you penis and prostate
  • Blood tests 
  • Other lab tests for heart problems or diabetes 
  • Ultrasound 

Finding Solutions

Erectile dysfunction is a very treatable and common condition. Your doctor may prescribe medications like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, in combination with some recommendations for lifestyle changes. 
These medicines are effective and available in lower-cost generic varieties. Whatever you and your doctor decide is the best path forward, take control of your health and make an appointment with a professional. You won’t regret it.