You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Depending on your particular health concerns, you may go directly to a specialist — such as a doctor who specializes in male genital problems (urologist) or a doctor who specializes in the hormonal systems (endocrinologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Take these steps to prepare for your appointment:
- Ask what you need to do ahead of time. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. For example, your doctor may ask you not to eat before having a blood test.
- Write down any symptoms you've had, including any that may seem unrelated to erectile dysfunction.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins, herbal remedies and supplements you take.
- Take your wife or partner along, if possible. Your partner can help you remember something that you missed or forgot during doctor's appointments.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited. Prepare a list of questions to get the most out of your appointment. For erectile dysfunction, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is most likely causing my erection problems?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my erectile dysfunction most likely temporary or chronic?
- What's the best treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Feb. 10, 2012
- What other health problems or chronic conditions do you have?
- Have you had any other sexual problems?
- Have you had any changes in sexual desire?
- Do you get erections during masturbation, with a partner or while you sleep?
- Are there any problems in your relationship with your sexual partner?
- Does your partner have any sexual problems?
- Are you anxious, depressed or under stress?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition? If so, do you currently take any medications or get psychological counseling (psychotherapy) for it?
- When did you first begin noticing sexual problems?
- Do your erectile problems occur only sometimes, often or all of the time?
- What medications do you take, including any herbal remedies or supplements?
- Do you drink? If so, how much?
- Do you use any illegal drugs?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Erectile dysfunction. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/ED/. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.
- Diaz JR VA, et al. Male sexual dysfunction. Primary Care Clinics Office Practice. 2010;37:473.
- Erectile dysfunction. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/male_sexual_dysfunction/erectile_dysfunction.html#v1153706. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.
- AUA guideline on the management of erectile dysfunction: Diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association. http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm?sub=ed. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.
- Alberson M, et al. Evaluation and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:201.
- Martin KA. Treatment of male sexual dysfunction. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.
- Erectile dysfunction. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 5, 2011.
- Aung HH, et al. Alternative therapies for male and female sexual dysfunction. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2004;32:161.
- Hidden risks of erectile dysfunction "treatments" sold online. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048386.htm. Accessed Dec. 5, 2011.