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The Voice of the Black Community

Health

Setting the record straight on erectile dysfunction
Physicians answer embarrassing questions about ED
 
Published Thursday, October 31, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

You’ve likely seen those TV commercials marketing everything from little blue pills to mechanical pumps and other contraptions to help men deal with erectile dysfunction. An estimated 30 million men suffer from ED, but many will not seek treatment no matter how much they are bombarded with advertisements.

“Men typically are less open about their health concerns and issues as women,” said Dr. Michael Trombley of Vitality Health Services. “They are more resistant to visiting the doctor, and once there, often take longer to address sensitive issues related to their physical and sexual wellbeing. While commercials and ads for men’s pharmaceuticals are common, men are still less likely to take advantage of simple screenings and lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve their health.”

Vitality Health Services, which has offices in Charlotte and Raleigh, is a full-service primary healthcare provider for men. Trombley and his partner Dr. Douglas Brooks believe their approach to providing gender-specific treatment in an all-male environment is conducive to encouraging men to be more proactive about their medical care.

“Our hope is by making men more comfortable in the doctor’s office, they will be more open to addressing the issues they typically are too embarrassed to ask,” said Trombley.

Trombley and Brooks said there are misconceptions and myths about ED that keep many sufferers out of the doctor’s office. So, they're setting the record straight to some of your most embarrassing questions about ED. Some questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction is the medical term for difficulties achieving and keeping an erection. It is a sexual health problem that, according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, affects 52 percent of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 to some degree. As with any medical condition, erectile dysfunction is often best treated promptly by physicians with expertise in ED therapies.

Is ED a normal aging effect that men should expect?

No. Patients and doctors should view Erectile Dysfunction as an abnormal occurrence that needs a full medical workup.  In fact, it is now known that ED may be one of earlier signs of heart disease, preceding a heart attack by up to three years.

Why are some men hesitant to discuss low libido with a doctor?

Unfortunately, it is fairly common for men to avoid going to the doctor. Without seeing him it would be impossible for us to determine the cause of his lack of sexual drive, but it could be the result of many conditions or early symptoms of something more serious. I would encourage any man over 40 to get regular check ups and have a baseline on all their numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.)

What about taking hormones for low testosterone? Does that mean a personality change?

Testosterone replacement therapies are designed to restore a man's testosterone level back to where it was when he was in a younger, healthier state. Hormone replacement therapy typically improves mood, concentration and emotional state.

Is testosterone replacement therapy a risk factor for prostate cancer?

Studies have not shown that prostate cancer, which is the top cancer in black men, is caused by testosterone treatment. However, studies have shown that men with higher T levels live longer than men with lower T levels. Other benefits of testosterone include improved cholesterol, lowered risk of heart attack and stroke and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Is it common for a man who used to wake up raring to go in more ways than one to stop?

No, there is no reason a healthy male should stop having regular morning erections. They indicate a healthy vascular system. You should definitely consult a doctor, as this could be an early sign of a more serious condition.

If you have questions about men’s health, email them to editor@thecharlottepost.com.

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