If you think you have erectile dysfunction, or ED, you’re bound to have questions for your doctor about what’s happening and how to fix it. Lots of men have been there. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and ask him any and all questions you might have that can start you on the road to getting a solution. Here are the first six questions you should definitely ask:
1. What Is ED?
Erectile dysfunction is when you’re unable to get and maintain an erection. If you have trouble with ED every once in a while, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if it happens frequently or on a regular basis, it could be a sign of other health problems.
No matter how often you experience ED, it can affect your relationship and cause issues with self-esteem. But it’s also very common and, if you talk to your doctor, treatable.
2. Why Is This Happening To Me?
There are a lot of reasons you can get ED, from high blood pressure and diabetes to alcohol and drug use to a hormone imbalance. It could even be due to an injury to your penis, prostate, bladder, and pelvis.
But it’s not always physical. Psychological and emotional issues are sometimes to blame, as well. Stress, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem can cause ED. Even nervousness about how you perform sexually can make it happen.
Some medications may make getting an erection difficult, too. Your doctor can help you figure out what's going on and how to solve it.
3. Is It My Age?
Age does appear to play a role in ED. The older you get, it may take you longer to get an erection, and it may not be as firm as it was when you were younger.
But getting older does not cause ED, it only increases your chances of getting it. In fact, ED can affect men of all ages.
A recent study showed 1 in 4 patients going to the doctor for the first time for ED was under age 40. And almost half of them had severe ED when compared to older patients. The younger patients smoked cigarettes and used illicit drugs more than the older men, as well.
4. How Is ED Diagnosed?
You’ll probably only need a physical and to talk to your doctor about your medical history. But if you have other health problems that could be the cause of your ED, you may want to see a specialist, usually a urologist, for a consultation that could include:
5. How Is ED Treated?
Every situation is different, so your doctor will focus on the specific condition that could be causing your ED. Your treatment could include:
Medications. There are several different ED medicines that can help produce an erection, such as avanafil (Stendra), sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). These medications work the same way: they relax smooth muscle and allow increased blood flow into the penis. Testosterone replacement and medications injected directly into your penis to help with erection are also common.
Treating underlying causes. Your doctor might recommend you make certain lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and drinking, and adding exercise to your daily routine. He may also swap medications that could be contributing to your ED with ones that won’t have that side effect.
Talking to a counselor for psychological, emotional, or relationship issues might also help.
Other options. Surgery and penis pumps are also treatment options you can discuss with your doctor if medication doesn’t work. Penile implants and blood vessel surgery come with risks, so they’re usually considered as last options.
6. Will My Insurance Cover Treatment?
Check your policy’s details. It depends on the type of treatment you’re getting and your insurance coverage. If your ED is due to a medical condition, insurance will usually cover at least some of it.
Treatments like sex therapy that have not yet been approved by the FDA may not be covered. When in doubt, call your insurer.