Erectile dysfunction (ED) is extremely common; in fact, 52% of men from ages 40-70 years have some form of ED. If you have ED, it can be embarrassing to talk to anyone about your condition, let alone a doctor. However, getting the right information about ED can help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with a treatable condition. Preparing for your next visit to the doctor can also make it easier to talk about ED. Consider the following questions and talking points before your visit.
Although it is common to feel uncomfortable when talking about erectile dysfunction, doctors need to know what symptoms you’re experiencing before giving advice or prescribing certain medications. Think about the following questions before your visit and how you would answer them.
- Do you ever get erections?
- Are your erections firm enough for sex?
- When you are having sex, do you ever lose your erection?
If you do, does it ever come back?
- If you masturbate, do you get an erection?
- Do you ever get erections at random times during the day?
- Do you ever wake up with an erection?
- Are you currently taking, or have you ever taken, an erectile dysfunction medication? If so, did you experience any side effects?
Doctors can’t read your mind, so it is important to come prepared and write down important information beforehand.
This list of information should include:
- All medications that you take, including prescriptions, supplements, herbal remedies, and vitamins.
- An up-to-date medical history record that highlights events like recent surgeries or trips to the emergency room.
- Information about the symptoms you have been experiencing. Review the questions your doctor might ask you and have answers prepared.
- Personal lifestyle information, like diet and exercise habits, as well as any major changes happening in your life.
Doctors see many patients throughout the day. Use your time with them wisely and get the information you need to take control of erectile dysfunction. Start by asking these questions:
What physical health conditions can cause ED?
There are many physical causes of erectile dysfunction, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, alcoholism, and sleep disorders, among others. If you are suffering from ED caused by one of these conditions, you may need to treat the underlying condition instead of your ED.
I have high blood pressure.
Is this affecting my erectile function?
High blood pressure can affect the way the arteries carry blood to the penis, which could result in a weak erection. If you suffer from hypertension and ED, tell your doctor.
If I have ED, should I consult a cardiologist?
Your doctor will look for heart disease during your visit if you show signs of ED. Oftentimes, a visit to the cardiologist is not necessary.
Are there medications that can contribute to ED?
Some medications can cause ED. Common culprits are medications for high blood pressure and antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about medications you are currently taking.
Could psychological factors like stress and anxiety be affecting my erectile function?
10-20% of all erectile dysfunction cases are caused by psychological ED. Stress and anxiety can both negatively affect erectile function, so ask your doctor if you believe your mental health is causing ED.
Does having ED mean that I have low testosterone?
Not exactly. Low testosterone is just one of many factors that can cause a low sex drive and could lead to erectile dysfunction.
I sometimes get an erection, but not always.
Could that be erectile dysfunction?
If you can get an erection most of the time, you do not have ED. If you regularly lose your erection when trying to have sex, you should consult your doctor.
Are my symptoms long-term or temporary?
Symptoms depend on the underlying cause of your ED. In some instances, treating the cause can also treat your erectile dysfunction. Consult your doctor to understand how long your symptoms may last.
Can my ED be treated?
There are various treatment methods ranging from invasive solutions, like surgery, to less invasive solutions, like medication. Treatment options include penile implants, penile injections, vacuum erectile devices, and PDE-5 inhibitors. PDE-5 inhibitors are prescription medications that enable blood flow to the penis.
Stendra (Avanafil) is the next-generation PDE-5 inhibitor that works in as little as 15 minutes and is effective for up to 5 hours, with a low rate of common side effects. Ask your doctor if Stendra is right for you.
How effective are medications for ED?
In a study run by Harvard Health, roughly 70% of men who reported taking medications for ED said they could have an erection suitable for intercourse. You should consult your doctor to see what medication options are right for you.
What are the side effects of ED pills?
Most ED pills have a lengthy list of side effects, such as headaches, blurred vision, back pain, and low blood pressure. More extreme side effects include blue vision and spinal damage. Stendra is the next-generation alternative with a low rate of side effects. Ask your doctor for more information about Stendra.
Can you drink alcohol with ED pills?
Many ED pills advise against consuming alcohol when taking the pill because alcohol can cause dangerous effects, such as fainting and severe heart problems. The ingestion of alcohol while on ED medication can also reduce the efficacy of the drug. Stendra is an alternative prescription ED medication that allows you to enjoy up to 3 servings of alcohol. Talk to your doctor about Stendra for more information.
Do I need to eat food before I take my ED medication?
Some ED pills advise against eating greasy food. Other pills require you to take them with water. Stendra can be taken with or without food. Consult your doctor to see if Stendra is the right option for you.
What if the treatments don’t work?
You won’t know until you try, but if none of the treatments are effective, consult your doctor for further advice.
Remember that each person is different. Your doctor is the best person to evaluate the severity of your erectile dysfunction and can create a treatment plan for you.