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Photo of a senior man getting Treatment for Erectile DysfunctionTalking to your doctor about erectile dysfunction can be difficult. You might use a phrase like "I’ve been having problems in the bedroom" or "I’ve been having erection problems."

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Don’t feel embarrassed about seeking help. Erectile Dysfunction is a medical problem and your doctor can help you.

If the interaction with your doctor doesn’t put you at ease, ask for a referral to another doctor. Your doctor may send you to a urologist-a doctor who specializes in sexual and urologic problems. Your partner may want to come with you to see the doctor. Many doctors say Erectile Dysfunction is easier to treat when both partners are involved.

In This Article:

What will happen in the doctor’s office?
How is erectile dysfunction treated?
Points to Remember

What will happen in the doctor’s office?

To find the cause of your Erectile Dysfunction, your doctor will take a complete medical history and do a physical examination.

A. Medical History

Your doctor will ask general questions about your health, as well as specific questions about your erection problems and your relationship with your partner. Bring a list of all the medications you take, or bring them with you to show to your doctor. Tell your doctor about any surgery you have had.

Your doctor will ask about habits like alcohol use, smoking, and exercise.

Your doctor might ask you questions like:

  • How do you rate your confidence that you can get and keep an erection?
  • When you have erections with sexual stimulation, how often are your erections hard enough for penetration?
  • During sexual intercourse, how often are you able to maintain your erection after you have penetrated (entered) your partner?
  • When you attempt sexual intercourse, how often is it satisfactory for you?
  • How would you rate your level of sexual desire?
  • How often are you able to reach climax and have an ejaculation?
  • Do you have an erection when you wake up in the morning?

The answers to these questions will help your doctor understand the problem.

B. Physical Exam

A physical exam can help your doctor find the cause of your Erectile Dysfunction. As part of the exam, the doctor will examine your testes and penis, take your blood pressure, and check your reflexes. A blood sample will be taken to test for diabetes, cholesterol level, and other conditions that may be associated with ED.

How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

Your doctor can offer a number of treatments for Erectile Dysfunction. You may want to talk with your partner about which treatment fits you best as a couple. Most people want the simplest treatment possible. You may need to try a number of treatments before you find the one that works best for you.

Here are the different treatments for Erectile Dysfunction:

Lifestyle Changes

Oral Medication
Vacuum device
Penile Implant

1. Lifestyle Changes

For some men, the answer is to make a few lifestyle changes. Getting more exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight, and cutting back on alcohol solve some erection problems.

2. Counseling

Even though most cases of ED have a physical cause, counseling can help couples deal with the emotional effects. Some couples find that counseling adds to the medical treatment by making their relationship stronger.

3. Oral Medication

Since 1998, doctors have been able to prescribe a pill to treat Erectile Dysfunction. Current brands include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. If your doctor finds that your health is generally good, you may be given a prescription for one of these drugs. You should not take any of these pills to treat ED if you take any of the heart medicines called nitrates. All of the ED pills work by increasing blood flow to the penis. They do not cause automatic erections. Talk with your doctor about when to take the pill. You may need to experiment to find out how soon the pill takes effect.

Even if taking a pill solves your erection problem, you should still take care of the other health issues that may have caused your ED.

4. Injection

Taking a pill doesn’t work for everybody. Many men use medicines that go directly into the penis. Caverject and Edex are injected into the shaft of the penis with a needle. MUSE is a tiny pill inserted into the urethra at the tip of the penis. These medicines usually cause an erection within minutes. These medications can be very successful, even if other treatments fail.

5. Vacuum device

Another way to create an erection is to use a vacuum tube. The penis is inserted in the tube. As air is pumped out of the tube, the volume of the penis expands. Blood then flows into the penis and makes it larger. A specially designed rubber band is then placed at the base of the penis to keep the blood from flowing out.

6. Penile Implant

If the other options fail, some men need surgery to treat ED. A surgeon can implant a device that inflates or unbends to create an erection. Implanted devices do not interfere with the way sex feels.
This operation cannot be reversed. Once a man has a penile implant, he must use a device to have an erection. Talk with your doctor about the advantages and possible drawbacks of having a penile implant.

Points to Remember

  • Erection problems may be a sign of health problems.
  • A doctor can help you overcome erection problems.
  • Smoking, being overweight, and avoiding exercise can contribute to erection problems.
  • Most cases of Erectile Dysfunction have a physical cause, but counseling can help couples build a stronger relationship.
  • Many men can take a pill to treat ED. These men should still treat the health conditions that caused Erectile Dysfunction.
  • Taking a pill doesn’t work for everybody.
  • Men who take any of the medicines called nitrates should not take a pill to treat Erectile Dysfunction.

Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about erectile dysfunction or seek help about it. Remember that a healthy sex life is part of a healthy life. Erectile dysfunction is a medical problem, and your doctor treats medical problems every day.

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