Talk with your doctor about erectile dysfunction

The conversation can be difficult, but here are tips on communicating your concerns about ED.

talking about erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can be tough to experience. Talking about erectile dysfunction can be even tougher. However, if you have difficulty getting or sustaining erections, you should speak with your doctor. Of course, such as a conversation is never easy, even for the most confident men. Here are three tips that may give you the assistance you need to discuss ED with your doctor, as found in the Harvard Special Health Report Erectile Dysfunction: How medication, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help you conquer this vexing problem.

1. Find the words that are right for you.  Say some of these "icebreakers" to yourself, choose the one that feels most natural, and practice it aloud to yourself or with your partner before your appointment. Rehearsing just a little might boost your confidence and comfort level so you can follow through with your doctor:

  • "I think I might have ED."
  • "How can I tell if I have ED?"
  • "I'm having trouble getting erections."
  • "I want to ask you about a men's health issue."
  • "I'm having some problems in the bedroom."

2. Write down your questions.  Coming prepared with a list of your questions can increase the likelihood that you will get the answers you need. Your list will also help you stay on track if you feel nervous or uncomfortable during the appointment.

3. Keep track of your symptoms ahead of time.  After you initiate a conversation about ED with your doctor, he or she will probably ask you some questions in

order to form a complete picture of your specific issues. You can make the most of your discussion by writing down the details of your experiences before your appointment.

Once you have started talking about erectile dysfunction, most doctors will take it from there. However, even doctors can feel embarrassed discussing certain topics that have to do with sex, even if the topic is medically related. If you sense your doctor is uncomfortable talking about your ED, ask for a referral to a urologist. This person is a specialist trained to treat conditions related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system, and has more experience discussing conditions like ED.

By Matthew Solan
Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

To learn more about the causes of erectile dysfunction, how ED may be an early warning sign for other serious health problems, and a comprehensive review of ED treatments, get the Harvard Special Health Report Erectile Dysfunction: How medication, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help you conquer this vexing problem.


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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