Opinion piece: Myths surrounding the investigation and treatment of erectile dysfunction (Part 6)

Opinion piece: Myths surrounding the investigation and treatment of erectile dysfunction (Part 6) There are instances where the onset of ED will not have the same impact on a couple’s relationship. Postprostatectomy ED, for example, is often accepted as part of the disease ‘package’ and can be successfully resolved, in most instances, without the partner’s participation in the treatment plan. It is difficult to find instances where couples therapy would not be beneficial, but certainly postsurgical ED is often handled with a more physiological approach, largely because the partner understands the etiology and does not feel, in part, responsible for the lack of tumescence. Similar attitudes are present in the partners of diabetic patients.
ED sufferers will continue to attend their physicians without their partners and it is paramount that we recognize those couples at risk. It would be appropriate to investigate to some degree the patient-partner relationship and insist on partner attendance if the initial treatment plan is unsuccessful. Partner involvement during the diagnostic and educational aspects of the treatment program is often sufficient to resolve many of the outstanding issues. Unresolved issues can then be referred to a more formal setting. In my opinion, it is not necessary to insist that our ED patients bring along their partners during the initial stages of consultation. However, if a reasonable treatment plan is unsuccessful, then assessment of the partner is mandatory.

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