As part of its ongoing research efforts to assess the impact of erectile dysfunction, the ED Treatment Information Center has launched a new online survey targeting the partners of men suffering from ED. We thus decided to interview Robert Nicholson to learn more about ED.
1. Can you tell us more about the ED Treatment Information Center?
The Center grew out of my own experience. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and had my prostate removed. Following my surgery, I had severe ED. I attended some group meetings of cancer survivors. The doctors presented lots of information about healthy lifestyles to prevent the cancer from recurring. But all the men in the audience wanted to talk about ED, and the doctors had no answers!
And so, I recruited a team of partners and advisors to build a site with reliable, well-researched information about the causes and treatments of erectile dysfunction. We do a great deal of research to be sure that everything on our site is well-supported by science, and we even conduct survey research of our own to understand the impact of ED and the problems that men face.
2. What impacts does ED have on people?
The physical impact is certainly obvious, but our research shows that the psychological impact may be even more important.
Men with ED have a loss of self-esteem and confidence. Their partners often feel unattractive and unwanted. The men and their partner’s frequently experience depression and withdrawal. ED can quite literally destroy relationships. And very few men or couples get any sort of treatment for the psychological impact.
3. Where can ED sufferers get help and support?
ED is generally a medical problem, so we always advised men to talk to their doctor first, to determine the underlying cause and determine the best treatment. If there is a psychological cause, or if men have trouble dealing with the psychological impact, the doctor should be able to refer them to a qualified therapist or counselor.
Unfortunately, we’ve found that many doctors are not well prepared to deal with ED. They will usually prescribe an oral medication, like Viagra or Cialis. If that doesn’t help, they may suggest a different medication, or they may increase the dosage. But they generally provide very little help beyond the prescription.
In some cases, a urologist or a specialist at a men’s health clinic may provide more support, but not all men have access to that kind of specialized care.
That’s where our website comes in. We try to fill the gap with information that doctors should be providing, but often don’t. If someone comes to our site and can’t find the answers they are looking for, we encourage them to use the contact form to send us their questions.
4. Where do you see ED treatment in the next 5-years?
That’s a very good question! ED treatment hasn’t changed in 20 years. We can treat the condition with drugs, but for most cases of ED there is no cure.
There are some promising treatments currently undergoing clinical trials. Both stem-cell therapy and gene therapy look very promising. And the most exciting things about these treatments is that they foster regeneration of nerves and blood vessels, so in many cases they may be able to cure persistent ED.
5. What recommendations would you like to give to those suffering from ED?
Talk to your partner! Explore ways to maintain your intimacy and your relationship, whatever the results of your ED treatment. If you’re not comfortable working on this as a couple, find an intimacy coach or therapist to help you… because ultimately, the impact on your relationship is much more important than the physical symptoms.