- By Deb Balzer
Men’s Health: Erectile Dysfunction Can Indicate Other Health Concerns
Erectile dysfunction is very common for men yet many do not seek treatment with their health care provider. Mayo Clinic urologist and men's sexual health specialist Dr. Landon Trost says he understands it can be uncomfortable for men to discuss erectile dysfunction or impotence; however, it can mean there are other underlying issues.
Dr. Trost says, "It's often said the penis is the barometer of your overall health. When we see dysfunction in the penis, it often precedes dysfunction in the heart, kidney or in the brain. Sometimes, it can precede five to 10 years before we see heart attack or stroke."
Watch Dr. Landon Trost's interview:
"Most men make dramatic changes after their first heart attack," says Dr. Trost. "We should push that back to when they start to notice erectile dysfunction because if they make these changes early, it can greatly elongate the time before issues arise. It can be an early warning."
Erectile dysfunction can be split into two types: medical conditions such as diabetes or hormonal disorders, and psychological issues which include changes in relationship status, anxiety levels or perhaps state of adrenaline. Dr. Trost says depression can also be a factor if men begin to experience low sexual desire or lack of desire.
When treating erectile dysfunction, Dr. Trost says he likes to use a step approach by starting with what's reversible such as a change in medication, and then move to behavioral modification. He says, "Exercise has a direct impact on your erectile dysfunction." After that, prescription medications, injections, prosthetics and surgery may be in order.
The bottom line? "Don't be embarrassed," adds Dr. Trost. "Talk to your health care provider, and make discussing erectile dysfunction the main goal or your appointment."