Discussing Erectile Dysfunction With Your Doctor
What Will Happen at the Doctor's Office? continued...
The doctor will start by asking about your medical history to learn more about your symptoms, medical conditions, and medication use. Many of the questions may seem extremely personal. But it's important to answer them fully and honestly. The doctor will need the information in order to know how to approach treating you. The questions may include:
- Do you ever get an erection?
- If you do, is it firm enough to have intercourse?
- If you do start intercourse, do you then lose the erection? Does it ever come back?
- Can you get an erection by masturbation?
- Do you ever wake from sleep with an erection?
The doctor will want to know whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, and whether or not you use recreational drugs. All of this information is essential for identifying or ruling out factors that can be contributing to the ED.
The doctor will also do a physical exam, including examining your penis and prostate. The exam may include blood tests and other lab tests to check for potential medical problems such as diabetes or heart disease that could be related to ED.
If further tests or exams are necessary, the doctor may refer you to a urologist. When you see the urologist, ask the same questions you asked your own doctor, and you should expect the urologist to ask questions very similar to the ones your doctor asked.
Most urologists will have you complete a confidential sexual questionnaire, which will focus in on sexual functioning. This will provide the urologist with information as to where the ED investigation should lead. The questionnaire will be reviewed by you and the urologist, and also track your progress and outcomes, as well. You will be asked questions about your health and undergo a physical exam. Based on the exam findings, you may have to undergo further studies, such as blood work, an ultrasound, or sleep studies, for example.
It may feel awkward at first to talk with your doctor about erectile dysfunction. But because there are effective treatments available, many of them simple, starting the conversation is well worth doing. Once you do, chances are very good you'll be glad you did. Also, don't forget that ED may be an early indication of significant, underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or vascular disease, for example. So, it is important that your doctor considers other potential medical conditions that can cause or contribute to ED.