ED Doctor: What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Erectile Dysfunction?
If you’re a man, you already know that every now and again things don’t work exactly as you want them to.
On rare occasions, unless you’re exceptionally different or just not old enough yet to have experienced it, chances are you’ll suffer from a bout of erectile dysfunction (ED) may affect sexual intercourse. According to WebMD, almost all men are likely to experience the problem at some point in their lives. For seemingly no reason, your body won’t perform as it usually does and you’ll have no idea why. Then, a short time later, things return back to normal.
For some men, though, this problem expands from a single occurrence to an ongoing problem. Maybe they’ve become older and things don’t work quite like they once did. Maybe they’re struggling overall with their health and their chronic issues are affecting their sexual function. This could include heart disease, blood flow issues, diabetes, vascular disease, high blood pressure, and myriad other options and will need more than erectile dysfunction treatment. Or maybe stress or emotional issues are creating a problem.
Regardless of the cause of ongoing ED, there’s going to come a time when you’ll want to consult a medical professional as erectile dysfunction treatment may help.
As mentioned, erectile dysfunction can occasionally be a symptom of more serious health conditions. If something is blocking the flow of blood to the penis, you’ll need to find out what and do your best to fix it. But this blockage can be an indication of a health issue that can cause far greater problems than ED.
Another reason you’ll want to see a doctor if you’re experiencing ED symptoms is for treatment options.
The problem can be fixed so there’s no sense in living with it and expecting your partner to live with it. And, perhaps, best of all, many of the treatments available for ED are all natural and not all that invasive. It might be an easy problem to fix and the sooner you see a doctor the sooner you’ll be able to determine your next step.
Erectile Dysfunction Doctors
So, how do you know what type of doctor to see for ED, especially if you’ve never had a problem before? There aren’t doctors who call themselves ED doctors, even though that’s exactly what they cover.
You’ll probably want to talk to your general practitioner (GP) first. They will give you an overall exam and help you determine what’s probably causing the problem. They won’t fix it (unless it’s a simple fix like a vitamin deficiency or they also specialize in the problem) but they can put your mind at ease by assessing your overall health. By the time you reach your ED specialist, you’ll likely have an idea of the cause of your problem and you can jump right to fixing it.
Where will you go after the GP visit? That all depends on what your they find but, more often than not, the next stop is a urologist.
What Does a Urologist Do?
A urologist specializes in the health of your urinary system and reproductive systems so it makes sense why it would be the first stop for those experiencing ED. If your GP finds no underlying condition that could be causing your ED, a urologist is the next person who can investigate and determine if there’s an issue with the systems that are most closely related to your penis. They’ll administer various tests and give you an exam.
One of the most common problems urologists find that causes ED are issues with the prostate gland. This is especially true for older men whose prostate has swollen over time. A prostate examination is typically the first test you’ll get when you visit a urologist. During the exam, the doctor is looking for excessive urine volume, signs of prostate cancer, enlargement of the prostate, or nerve damage to the prostate. Any of these things can interfere with a man’s ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
In addition to—or instead of—a urologist, your GP might also recommend seeing an endocrinologist. This is a doctor who specializes in hormones and can determine if an imbalance in your hormones is causing a problem with ED.
Testosterone is the hormone that affects sexual health the most in men and low levels are one of the primary causes of ED. There might also be issues with low production of growth hormones as men age, elevated levels of prolactin, or problems with the thyroid—all of which can affect sexual performance.
An exam by an endocrinologist will include a fertility test, a prolactin test, a testosterone test, and a DHEA test.
Psychologist or Psychiatrist
The final stop, or perhaps the only stop, on the path to better sexual function, is a mental health doctor.
There are many instances when ED issues are linked to mental health issues, even if the patient is absolutely sure this is not the case.
There is a long list of emotional issues that can affect sexual health and cause ED including:
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Relationship issues
- Performance anxiety
You’ll undergo an assessment by a mental health provider who will likely include answering questions about your day-to-day thoughts and feelings and your overall mental health. These questions will be personal and probing, but answering them honestly is the only way to get to the root of your issue—and to resolve it.
From there, once the reason for the issue is identified, you’ll either be given medication or other tools to help you cope, advised to participate in more therapy, or given instructions for working on your own to fix the problem.
For instance, if you’re suffering from high levels of stress at work and you’re bringing that stress into the bedroom, you might need to plan a vacation or cut back on the amount of time you’re dedicating to work.
Sometimes, solving the issue with ED is simple, but other times it’s not, even when you’re dealing with a mental health issue. If you’ve been diagnosed with a personality disorder or depression, it will take more than relaxation and time away from stress to fix the issue.
Regardless of the underlying reason for ED, it’s important to see the right medical professional or professionals and get answers for why you’re struggling. That’s the only way you’ll be able to fix the problem.