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How do I talk to my doctor about erectile dysfunction?


Some topics can be a bit tricky to bring up with your doctor. I find that a lot of guys that I see will be living with erectile dysfunction (ED) for a while before they bring it up with me. The downside to this is that often ED is something we can really help with and the longer you leave it the more stressful it can become! So, if you're not used to chatting with your doctor about intimate issues then it's important to go in prepared! 

When you book your appointment, think about the questions you would like answered and write them down on a piece of paper or the note app on your phone. When you're chatting about something that makes you nervous, it's common to forget things and this can help you make sure you leave the consult with all your questions answered. Often the hardest part is starting the conversation. I think it's great to start off by asking a more general question to break the ice. By starting general, you won't feel the pressure to jump straight in. Here are some examples: 

  • I want to talk about some issues in the bedroom
  • I've got a men's health issue that I want to discuss
  • I'm having some problems with my sexual health
  • I'm a bit nervous, but I want some help with something personal

From here, I'd encourage you to use language that feels natural for you. Feel free to use words like hard or stiff if this feels more normal. Once you've brought up the topic, your doctor should follow up with questions to learn more about your situation. To prepare yourself, in the week before your appointment, track your symptoms. Is it an issue with all types of sex or just one? Does it happen when you masturbate? How long do erections normally last? Do you get spontaneous erections overnight or first thing in the morning? Most doctors should feel comfortable asking these questions and talking about this topic, but if you get the feeling they don't then it might be best to find a doctor who is more familiar with men's health.

Dr Rhys Young
Dr Rhys Young

Dr Rhys Young is a General Practitioner who loves all things men's health, sexual health & LGBTQ health. He writes monthly health articles as DocQ for QNews, a magazine that celebrates Australia's LGBTQ Culture. Dr Rhys is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and a Medical Educator for GP trainees in Brisbane. 

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