The popular cable TV show, Masters of Sex, brings to life the ground-breaking work that Washington University researchers, William Masters, MD, and Virginia Johnson, did in the field of human sexuality in the 1960s.
“At the time, their conclusion was that 8 in 10 men with erectile dysfunction (ED) developed the disorder because of psychological issues,“ says Arnold Bullock, MD, Washington University urologist. “Today we know there are numerous medical conditions – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological disorders – for which this disorder is a symptom. ED isn’t life threatening, but the reason for the condition can be.”
Dr. Bullock is frustrated by the statistics showing only 1 in 5 men with severe ED discuss the problem with their physicians. Embarrassment and misinformation stand in the way of men receiving treatment for their underlying medical conditions and for ED.
His approach to evaluating patients is comprehensive. He combines his expertise along with Washington University interventional radiologists, endocrinologists and psychologists to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Bullock explains, “While the simplest treatment is oral medication (shown to be effective in 8 of 10 men), we now have a spectrum of options available for treatment of erectile dysfunction. These include: medications, hormone replacement therapy, injections, suppositories, vacuum devices and surgically implanted penile prostheses.”
Dr. Bullock wants his patients to know that the focus is not solely on the symptom of erectile dysfunction. His goal is to find the underlying disease causing ED. When this is determined, the health needs of the patients can be addressed while providing the ED therapy best suited for them.