You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Depending on your particular health concerns, you might 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 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 know 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. When you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. For example, your doctor might ask you not to eat before having a blood test.
- Write down any symptoms you've had, including any that might 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 partner along, if possible. Your partner can help you remember something that you missed or forgot during the appointment.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For erectile dysfunction, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my erection problems?
- 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?
- How can I best manage other health conditions with my erectile dysfunction?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will the visit be covered by my insurance?
- If medication is prescribed, is there a generic alternative?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to your prepared questions, 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. Be prepared for questions such as these:
- What other health concerns 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 alcohol? If so, how much?
- Do you use any illegal drugs?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?
April 21, 2017
- Montague DK, et al. The management of erectile dysfunction: An AUA update. The Journal of Urology. 2005;174:230.
- Erectile dysfunction. Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction. Accessed Nov. 26, 2016.
- Cunningham GR, et al. Overview of male sexual dysfunction. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 26, 2016.
- Erectile dysfunction. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/erectile-dysfunction/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed Nov. 26, 2016.
- Cohen SD. The challenge of erectile dysfunction management in the young man. Current Urology Reports. 2015;16:84.
- Sexual function in Parkinson's disease. American Parkinson Disease Association. http://www.apdaparkinson.org/sexual-function-in-parkinsons-disease/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2016.
- Besiroglu H, et al. The relationship between metabolic syndrome, its components, and erectile dysfunction: A systematic review and a meta-analysis of observational studies. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2015;12:1309.
- Hidden risks of erectile dysfunction "treatments" sold online. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048386.htm. Accessed Nov. 26, 2016.
- Guay AT, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: A couple's problem – 2003 update. Endocrine Practice. 2003;9:77.
- Berookhim BM, et al. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier. 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Nehra A, et al. The Princeton III consensus recommendations for the management of erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87:766.
- Ferri FF. Erectile dysfunction. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Brown A. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 6, 2016.
- Trost LW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 7, 2016.
- Silva AB, et al. Physical activity and exercise for erectile dysfunction: Systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;0:1.
- Kratzik CW, et al. How much physical activity is needed to maintain erectile function? Results of the Androx Vienna Municipality study. European Urology. 2009;55:509.