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Talking to Your Doctor About Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Erectile Dysfunction | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with erectile dysfunction. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Your Impotence

  • What is the cause of my erectile dysfunction?
  • Is there more than one cause?

About Your Risk of Developing Erectile Dysfunction

  • Do I have a medical condition that is affecting my sexual function? If so, how can we treat it?
  • Are any of my medications affecting my sexual function?
    • If so, can we change them?
    • Is there an alternative medication that will not affect my sexual function?
  • Could any of my lifestyle habits be affecting my sexual function, such as smoking?

About Treatment Options

  • What are the possible treatments for erectile dysfunction?
  • Which treatment is appropriate for me? Why?
  • What should I do to prepare for treatment?
  • What risks and side effects should I expect?
  • Will treatment affect my normal activities?
  • Will I be able to father children after treatment?
  • What is likely to happen without treatment?
  • What medications are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Can you recommend a counselor to help with this problem?
  • Can you recommend a program to help me quit smoking?
  • Can you recommend a program to help me stop using recreational drugs?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • Should I change my diet? If so, what dietary changes should I make?

About Your Outlook

  • What are my chances of returning to satisfying sexual function?

References:

Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org.



Last reviewed September 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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