Erectile Dysfunction: You can do something about it!

Dr. S.M.Sadikot.
Hon. Endocrinologist,
Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre,
Mumbai 400026

Erectile DysfunctionErectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to attain or maintain penile erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Widely known as "impotency" it was in 1992, that the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference recommended use of the term "erectile dysfunction" rather than "impotence," because it more accurately defines the problem and has fewer disparaging connotations.

Erectile dysfunction is not new either in medical texts or in human experience. There are some who feel that the famous scupture of the Thinker was really a self portrait of the sculptor who had erectile dysfunction. Judge for yourself.

In any case, erectile dysfunction is not openly discussed by most people as our misplaced concepts of "manliness" forces many a man to refrain from mentioning it even to their physicians. Which perhaps is a good reason why the nomenclature has been changed from importancy (a term which comes from the Latin meaning "loss of power.") to erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is a major problem in men with diabetes. It has been reported that after around 15 years of diabetes, more than 60-70% of men will show varying degrees of erectile dysfunction. But as we have seen above, it rarely forms a part of the complaints by the patient. Men do not talk of it to their doctors and doctors also avoid discussing this problem. Men feel that bringing up this problem is a sign of their "unmanliness", whilst it is possible that the physician's attitude may have to do with the fact that till a few years back there was little that one could offer by way of definite help.

Moreover, it was widely believed that erectile dysfunction was more a psychological and emotional problem, and had little to do with somatic medicine, falling into the realm of psychotherapists.

This should no longer be accepted as true.

Increased understanding of the male erectile process and the development of several modes of therapy in correcting erectile problems, have brought about a sea change in this dismal picture.

Slowly, but surely, awareness that erectile dysfunction is treatable is growing and more and more men are seeking help and returning to near-normal sexual activity because of improved, successful treatments for impotence.

Do you feel that you have sexual dysfunction. If so, you can answer this interactive questionnaire in the privacy of your own home and see whether you really do have male sexual dysfunction.

The full 15 question IIEF which helps in distinguishing what type of sexual dysfunction is present can be accessed here.

Many of you may have sexual dysfunction, but is it that you have problems with erections or is it some other type of sexual dysfunction.

The shortened 5 question IIEF for judging the severity of true erectile dysfunction (impotence) can be accessed here.

If you do have erectile dysfunction, no matter how severe, please speak to your doctor about this. So many new therapies are now available that most of you will be able to return to near normal of not totally normal sexual activity.

But unless you ask your doctor and insist that something be done, then what is your doctor to do!

At the same time, it is also absolutely essential that you are well aware of the basics of the sexual erection problem, some simple causes which may be the real cause of your problem even though you have diabetes, the tests which your doctor may do, and most importantly, the varieties of treatment available so that your doctor and you can take a decision on the best option available for you.