In March, 2018, the ED Treatment Information Center completed a detailed survey on the impact of Erectile Dysfunction. The results of that survey are now available for download.
A survey of 597 adult men suffering from erectile dysfunction found high levels of stress, dissatisfaction with medical care and treatment options, and mental health issues.
A significant majority of men:
- were dissatisfied with the care provided by their doctors and therapists
- were dissatisfied with the treatments they had tried
- felt that their condition had a negative impact on their self-esteem and their relationships, and
- were uncomfortable discussing their erectile dysfunction
A survey instrument consisting of 73 questions was developed and presented on an online survey platform . Participants were recruited for the survey through posts on online media. Posts included paid placements on FaceBook.com, as well as posts on FrankTalk.org, LinkedIn.com, SupportGroups.com, Patient.info, ProstateCancerInfoLink.ning.com, Reddit.com, and our own website.
A total of 694 participants began the survey, but 97 either (1) did not suffer from ED, or (2) did not complete the survey. These 97 responses were discarded.
Erectile dysfunction is generally not taken seriously in our society. In fact, it is often the subject of jokes.
This study shows that ED has a profound negative impact on men’s lives and relationships, including their confidence, self-esteem, and general happiness.
Because of feelings of embarrassment and shame, men are often uncomfortable talking about their condition, even with their partners, doctors, or counselors. This may prevent men from getting the support and help they need, and contribute to feelings of isolation and depression.
The strong negative feelings experienced by men with ED may be due to their failure to find satisfactory treatment; this is certainly reflected in the open-ended comments. Men also reported strong dissatisfaction with doctors and counselors, and with every treatment method tried7.
Men are more willing to try “natural” treatments for ED (lifestyle changes, naturopathy, herbal supplements) than more “invasive” approaches (vacuum pumps, penile injections, penile implants). However, among men who have tried the natural treatments, satisfaction rates were very low.
The highest satisfaction rate reported for all treatments was 36.3% (combined “Somewhat Satisfied” and “Very Satisfied) for oral medications such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. This was also the most commonly used treatment, probably due to both extensive advertising, and prescriptions by doctors as a first line treatment.
Our conclusion is that the real needs of men suffering from ED are not being met, often due to their own reticence to seek help.
There is an urgent need for:
- Outreach and education for men suffering from ED
- Greater availability of counseling and support
- Development of more effective treatment options