Treating erectile dysfunction in the privacy of your home

A topic often met with shame and silence, erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, has affected millions of men across all ages and ethnicities worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 1995, globally, more than 150 million men faced some form of ED. It said, too, that the number was anticipated to rise to 320 million by 2025, and does not include those men who may face symptoms of ED but are too ashamed or uncomfortable to speak to a doctor about it. Thankfully, in today’s age of technology, there are options to avoid seemingly intimidating face-to-face consultations in a doctor’s office, via the use of telemedicine.

Erectile dysfunction is a condition that is characterised by an inability to achieve or maintain an erection for any form of sexual activity. An erection occurs because of increased blood flow to the penis; ED can occur at any stage of the erection process and can be related to issues of blood flow, nerve damage or external stressors, including mental pressures. Symptoms of ED can also include a reduction in sexual drive or desire.

A confirmed diagnosis will be given to you if your symptoms last a prolonged period of time, such as a few weeks or months.

It may seem like the diagnosis of ED is simple and, therefore, doesn’t need any professional intervention. This is far from correct.

ED can be just one symptom of a larger health issue. Ageing, diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, spinal cord damage, medication side effects, as well as tiredness are all possible reasons for a patient experiencing ED. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a urologist to assist you in addressing your symptoms. The road to diagnosis may include blood tests, urine tests and/or a physical exam.

If you suspect that you have ED, it is important to have discussions with a urologist before trying any treatments on your own. Since ED can be a symptom of a larger health issue, it is crucial to rule out the other possibilities and treat your symptoms accurately. The treatment of your symptoms will depend on the cause.

According to urologist Dr Adrian Rhudd, “Erectile dysfunction not only causes sexual frustration, but it can be a symptom of more life-threatening cardiovascular diseases. I encourage men to have this evaluated by a specialist.”

Erectile dysfunction may have domino side effects in your life, including negatively affecting your confidence and your sexual relationships. Despite how uncomfortable the conversation may seem, it is important to discuss these issues with a urologist.

In today’s age of technology, there are options where you do not have to physically go into a doctor’s office and discuss your issues face to face with them. Telemedicine options provide the patient with the alternatives of consulting with a doctor using text alone, audio alone, or video call, all in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Men are typically less likely than women to go into a doctor’s office to discuss their issues. This hesitancy can be lifted via telemedicine, where you are able to discreetly discuss your symptoms with a trusted doctor, get a prescription, and even get forms for required lab tests — all without leaving your home or other personal spaces.

Ultimately, if it is suspected that there is a larger issue at hand, you may be required to continue your treatment in person. At the end of the day, making the step to discuss with your urologist in a comfortable space may be the solution that saves you from further distress.

Dr Ch Bowen, a digital health entrepreneur and family physician, is the CEO & founder of MDLink, a digital health company that provides telemedicine options. Check out the company’s website at www.theMDLink.com. You can also contact him at drchebowen@themdlink.com.

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