Men with erectile dysfunction told get treated amid urgent health warning

A new survey has found that nearly half of men in the UK are not seeking medical help for erectile dysfunction (ED).

However, they've been sent an urgent warning that ED could be a sign of heart disease or other conditions.

Research has revealed that the stigma associated with erectile dysfunction is resulting in neglect by many men to seek medical advice and treatment for the urological condition.

READ MORE: Most common reasons for erectile dysfunction including being overweight

What’s more, few are aware that erectile dysfunction could relate to other serious health conditions around the body including heart disease, meaning treatment for these concerns is also being delayed or even ignored completely.

Insights from a recent survey of 2,000 men, conducted by TRTed and The Urology Foundation, found that nearly one in two men (46%) would not book an appointment to speak to their doctor about their concern. Instead, 39% would turn to the internet for advice, 13% would speak to family and friends, and 26% of respondents would purchase a pill or non-prescription medication.

The study also found that of the 2,000 men surveyed, those between the ages of 18-24 were the most likely to speak to friends and family (35%) and those aged 55-64 and 25-34 were more likely to purchase a pill (28% respectively). The research also revealed that few men know the potential causes of erectile dysfunction and didn’t know the urological condition could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening disease.

ED is common in the UK, with around 4.3 million men estimated to be suffering from the condition.

However, many men are reluctant to visit their doctors and the survey revealed that a striking 78% of men were not aware that ED is a recognised sign of heart disease.

This alarming statistic could have serious implications and even result in deaths that are otherwise preventable, highlighting the importance for men with ED to visit their doctors.

Most men (63%) in fact, thought ED was a sign of normal ageing, followed by mental health issues, poor general health, and an enlarged prostate.

Interestingly, 15% of the men surveyed said they didn’t think there was a treatment option available for ED. In contrast, 64% said they thought it could be treated with a pill. If men are picking up over-the-counter pills, they are at risk of ignoring the underlying condition causing ED in the first place, or receiving alternative treatment options.

As a urological disease, ED requires specialist help and consultation. This is because ED can be a sign of a serious underlying disease which first needs to be diagnosed and treated.

ED can also cause serious mental health issues. Men with ED are nearly 3 times more likely to experience depression compared to men without ED. This can present several other challenges for men which is why the help of a professional is always the best course of action.

“Erectile dysfunction can be due to a multitude of factors,” says Professor Albert Ferro, Specialist in Cardiovascular Clinical Pharmacology at King's College.

“In recent years, it has been increasingly recognised that ED can be an early manifestation of cardiovascular disease. The findings highlight that more work needs to be done to raise public awareness of ED and to encourage affected individuals to seek early medical attention no matter their age so that further tests can be done.

"Prompt diagnosis of silent heart disease is important because this will allow preventative treatments to be started at an earlier stage, thereby helping those individuals to live longer healthier lives."

Rebecca Porta, Chief Executive of The Urology Foundation, also added: "As a society, we need to break down the stigma associated with ED and open up conversations.

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"ED can have a big impact on someone’s mental health, especially in cases where it impacts fertility and intimacy.

"As medical professionals, we have an important responsibility to ask certain questions as well as make sure every patient feels comfortable about talking about their health.

"When we do, we’re more likely to recognise signs and symptoms of ED more quickly, as well as ruling out any potential underlying health conditions, and we can get our patients the right treatment and advice more quickly.”

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