Erectile dysfunction

Updated 19 June 2014

Time to strike up a conversation

Sexual dysfunction should receive the same respect and consideration as other sphysiological disorders, an expert says.

The treatment and management of sexual dysfunction should receive the same respect and consideration as the treatment and management of other physiological disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and not least, stress, experts say.

“This should be considered not only by healthcare professionals, but patients and partners as well,” Durban physician and sexologist, Dr Prithy Ramlachan, noted in a presentation to colleagues and media representatives at a meeting convened by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

“A sexual disorder such as erectile dysfunction (ED) is, in fact, often an underlying problem in patients with a cardiovascular disorder. In fact, it has been shown in studies that ED screenings often uncover conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid problems and other malignancies.”

ED itself, he said, was clearly associated with morbidity presenting as anxiety and depression, decreased self-esteem and resulting relationship problems.

Explaining this further, Dr Ramlachan said that one of the problems was the fact that it generally takes an ED sufferer up to five years before seeking treatment: “During this time frequency of intercourse and sexual intimacy decrease while emotional dissatisfaction increases.

“This is why one has to break the silence, so to speak, early. And this is why we, as sexual health practitioners, encourage partners with the problem to strike up a conversation on the problem not only between themselves but also a healthcare professional as soon as possible.”

A “Strike Up a Conversation” campaign has been launched in South Africa by Bayer to promote positive, long-term behavioural changes between healthcare professionals, patients and their partners. Communications tools and shared language are being provided and facilitated to improve discussions associated with ED to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment for the condition as early as possible.

Further information for readers available on the Bayer Helpline (011) 921-5042 .


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Erectile Dysfunction Expert

Dr Kenny du Toit is a urologist practicing in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He is also consultant at Tygerberg hospital, where he is a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, Colleges of Medicine South Africa and Société Internationale d’Urologie. Board registered with both the HPCSA (Health professions council of South Africa) and GMC (General medical council UK). He has a keen interest in oncology, kidney stones and erectile dysfunction.

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