Who Should Be on Your Erectile Dysfunction Health Care Team?
Your treatment team for erectile dysfunction (ED) will be dependent on the cause. For example, many men have underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, and these conditions should be treated by a specialist in that particular health field. Read on to learn about the different types of health care professionals and people who may make up your ED health care and support team.
Primary care physician
Many men start with their primary care physician. This is usually their family doctor and is familiar with their health history. They can perform a physical examination and order tests to determine the cause of ED. If needed, they will refer you to a specialist. For example, if laboratory tests indicate diabetes or prediabetes, you might be referred to an endocrinologist. Some family doctors choose to treat ED initially with oral medications, and if those don’t work, refer you to a specialist.
Unless you have specific health conditions that require treatment, your first referral will probably be to a urologist. These doctors specialize in treating problems with the urinary tract and reproductive systems. They will evaluate you for prostate problems, such as excessive urination, enlarged prostate, and prostate cancer.
ED can be associated with heart disease. If this is the case for you, your doctor might recommend that you see a cardiologist for an evaluation.
Your doctor might recommend seeing an endocrinologist if the underlying cause of ED is diabetes or hormonal. Endocrinologists will look for and treat diabetes, low testosterone, thyroid disease, and prolactin levels.
Mental health professional
A psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist can be helpful in dealing with ED. If your ED is caused by psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety, these professionals can provide treatment. ED can also cause stress or relationship issues. A mental health professional can help you cope with these effects of ED.
If you are taking ED medications, your pharmacist can answer questions about the medication, side effects, and how you should take it. In addition, your pharmacist keeps track of all medications you take and can alert you if your medications might have interactions.
Personal trainer or exercise coach
Regular physical activity can decrease symptoms of ED. Participating in a supervised exercise program that has been tailored to meet your physical and medical needs can be helpful in terms of your ED and beyond.
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can help to improve your ED and prevent further disease. A nutritionist can give you information on how to make healthy eating choices.
If ED is causing stress in your relationship, you might choose to work with a sex counselor or therapist. These professionals can help you find new ways of approaching your sexual relationship and help you and your partner to better meet one another’s sexual needs.
Your significant other
One of the most important people to have on your treatment team is your significant other. Consider having your partner come with you to doctor’s appointments and learn about ED. The more both of you understand this health condition, the better you can work together to find the best treatment.
Keep in mind…
As you manage your health care, your treatment team may change. For example, you might begin with a urologist but learn that diabetes or heart disease is the cause of your ED, and therefore find a specialist in those areas. Keeping track of your health is a big job, so it’s also important to have all your health records sent to your primary care doctor. That way, one person can help to coordinate all of your care.