If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED), you might feel unsure about how to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Here are some questions to ask your doctor that can help you understand ED and the treatment options that are available.
1. What Exactly is Erectile Dysfunction or ED?
Many men self-diagnose themselves with ED without having a complete understanding of what it is. They may associate it with having decreased libido, but that’s not the case. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or sustain an erection firm enough for sexual activity. Roughly 50% of men over age 40 experience symptoms, but it can affect men of any age. Doctors who treat the condition are knowledgeable and can discuss all the details of ED to help men better understand what’s happening.
2. What Causes ED?
There are many potential causes of ED, and your doctor can help determine if there are any underlying medical problems that are contributing to your symptoms. Causes can be physical (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, or neurological problems) or psychological (stress, anxiety, depression). Smoking, alcohol or drug use can also cause ED symptoms, as well as some prescription medications.
3. Is ED Temporary or Chronic?
There are 2 types of ED: primary and secondary.
Primary ED is when a man has never been able to have or sustain an erection. This is rare and can be difficult to treat.
Secondary ED occurs when a man who previously had normal erections begins to experience trouble getting an erection later on in life. This is the most common type of ED and is often temporary and reversible with medication, lifestyle changes, or treatment of any underlying causes.
4. Can ED Be Treated?
Yes! Your doctor can help pinpoint the exact cause and the best approach to handling ED. Treating any underlying medical problems can improve symptoms. Medications, such as Sildenafil and Tadalafil, are commonly prescribed to treat ED. Leading a healthy lifestyle also helps. In more severe conditions, ED can be treated with other medical procedures.
5. How Effective are Sildenafil and Tadalafil?
Sildenafil and Tadalafil are popular medications to help fight ED. When taken correctly, both begin working within 30 minutes to an hour, and can remain active in a man’s body for a sufficient amount of time after consumption, but will vary depending on the prescription.
6. Which Medication Works Better?
When it comes to selecting an ED medication, patients should thoroughly discuss their lifestyle and health with their doctor. For example, Sildenafil is shorter acting and is generally taken on an “as needed” basis. Tadalafil remains active in the body for a longer period of time and can be taken on a consistent schedule. While this offers a larger window to utilize its effects, it also can lead to higher chances of Tadalafil interacting with other prescriptions.
7. What Are Potential Side Effects of ED Medication?
All medications have possible side effects. Sildenafil and Tadalafil can be associated with headaches, flushing, or dizziness. Other side effects can include muscle aches, pains, blurred vision, or diarrhea. Priapism (an erection lasting four or more hours) is a rare complication which requires immediate medical attention.
8. Do Certain Medications Make ED Symptoms Worse?
Some prescriptions, such as high blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can either cause ED or worsen symptoms. If you suspect any of your medications might be the culprit, talk with your doctor about options to adjust dosage or switch medications to help ease symptoms.
9. How Can Lifestyle Changes Affect ED Symptoms?
Healthy lifestyle choices can improve or even eliminate ED symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering alcohol use, and being physically active can improve not only ED symptoms, but overall health as well.
Asking the right questions can go a long way to help you understand your ED symptoms and make informed choices about treatment. Your doctor can help evaluate any underlying health issues and guide you toward the most appropriate treatment options.