I have a weekly dating and relationship column in Sun-Times Media called “Love Essentially,” where I cover lots of different dating, relationship, marital and post-marital issues. The topic of this week’s column (published Thursday, October 23) was Erectile Dysfunction (ED), a problem that no one wants to talk about. I interviewed sexual health expert, Dr. Jeffrey Albaugh, who gave me answers regarding causes, treatment options and emotional effects. Below is “Love Essentially,” published Thursday in Sun-Times Media local.
A Relationship Issue No one Wants to Talk About by Jackie Pilossoph
A typical girl’s night out consists of wine, appetizers and lots of talk about dating, relationships and yes, sex. As for what goes on when guys get together to watch football or play poker, I can’t say firsthand.
What I can guarantee is this: There is a subject that neither group dares to discuss, yet it’s an issue that studies show one in two men will experience in their 50s and 60s, which affects spouses as well — erectile dysfunction.
Upon deciding to write about this delicate issue, I reached out to Jeffrey Albaugh, Ph.D. and advanced practice registered nurse, who is the director of sexual health for NorthShore University HealthSystem. Albaugh said despite the common occurrence of ED, no one wants to talk about it.
“Sex is everywhere, but sexual dysfunction is something that is embarrassing, upsetting and devastating,” said Albaugh, who has worked with patients suffering from sexual dysfunction for more than 20 years. “There’s so much stigma attached to it, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be according to the media.”
Albaugh said erectile dysfunction usually begins when men start to age, and it is commonly a comorbid condition caused by diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other issues that impact blood flow or nerve condition.
He said oftentimes, the reason couples don’t seek medical help for ED is because of embarrassment.
“Many patients break into tears in my office because they are so relieved there are treatment options and that they are finally going to get help,” Albaugh said.
Albaugh explained that possible treatments include PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, but it’s not as simple as popping a pill.
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