ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION: ATTITUDE COUNTS

Men’s Health-Erectile DysfunctionKnowledge alone isn’t enough. The attitude of your doctor is critical to your sexual success. Some people, doctors included, can talk about anything—except sex and death. But a doctor who’s embarrassed discussing sexuality won’t do you much good, no matter how much he knows about the subject. Your doctor should be at ease when talking about potency.

And the reverse is true. A doctor who’s easygoing, intent, respectful, talkative and kind but doesn’t know much about what does and doesn’t make a man potent won’t be of much use to you. Because the erection process is complicated, and currently the subject of much exciting research, ifs essential that you find an expert who treats potency problems frequently and keeps up with the latest findings. Many physicians have received little or no formal training in this area, and the information they do have may be out-of-date. For example, when a patient told one young physician about the usefulness of penile shots, the doctor initially thought it was a joke. But there are physicians, psychologists, sex therapists and other professionals who are well trained and equipped to help you.

We recommend that you start with a urologist who specializes in treating impotence. Or, if you meet all the criteria for psychologically caused impotence we gave in chapter 6, you may want to start with a trained, qualified sextherapist. But even if you suspect your problem may be psychologically caused, we recommend that you have an urologist do a thorough physical evaluation. Many of the physical causes of erection difficulties are subtle and easy to miss.

The only way to find a good urologist who specializes in potency is to ask around. Here are some places to start:

• Ask your family doctor for a referral.

• Call the urology department of the nearest university medical school and ask them for advice.

• Contact your local medical society for a list of doctors who treat potency problems.

• Contact support groups such as Impotents Anonymous.

Once you find a doctor who might be good, if s time to ask some serious questions. Don’t be afraid to quiz your doctor. Remember, you deserve the best. If a doctor “doesn’t have the time to be bothered” with your questions, you should consider looking for someone else.

Here are some questions to ask:

• What training have you received specifically related to erection problems?

• How-do you keep current on the subject? For example, do you attend continuing education courses on impotence, do research into the problem or routinely review medical journals for the latest findings?

• How much of your practice is devoted to treating problems like mine?

• Do you regularly consult other experts?

You should be able to tell from the answers how experienced the doctor is in treating erection problems.

Another important tip is to steer clear of anyone who’s a proponent of just one particular treatment for all potency problems. Unless he’s already seen a complete physical workup of you and thoroughly understands how the problem is affecting you, the doctor should not assume on your first visit that he knows the solution to your problem.

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