Talking with Your Patient About ED


Your patients with ED may be sensitive when it comes to discussing problems with sexual intimacy, but it is important to talk with your patients about their sexual health:

Your patient's overall medical health: ED may be linked to common vascular conditions such as cardiovascular disease. By evaluating your patients for ED, you may identify additional, undiagnosed medical conditions.

Patients may be reluctant to discuss ED with you. Religious and cultural issues may also make it difficult for patients to open up regarding their sexual function.


Discussing ED To start a conversation about ED and help patients feel more comfortable, it is important to let them know that ED is a common condition that can be treated successfully in most men.


You may want to share some of the following ED facts with your patients:

  • ED is defined as the inability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory   intercourse.

  • Up to 30 million men in the U.S. experience ED1

  • Incidence increases with age: the overall prevalence of ED in a cohort of men 40 to 70 years old    was 52%; by age 70, the prevalence may be as high as 67%2


ED is treatable in most men. More men have been seeking help and returning to sexual activity because of improved treatments for ED Educating your patient regarding the common nature of ED may help to counteract some of the stigma associated with the condition.


If your patient has diabetes or other ED-related condition such as cardiovascular disease, you can discuss the association of these conditions with ED. Starting the conversation this way may put the patient at ease and allow him to share with you any erectile function problems he may be having.


1. NIH Consensus Conference. Impotence. NIH Consensus Development Panel on Impotence JAMA. 1993;270(1):83-90.

2. Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, et al. Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Urol. 1994;151(1):54-61.



HealthcareProf Patient Info