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Men’s Sexual Health: What You Don’t Talk About Can Hurt You

by Eileen West, MD, FACP, NCMP

 

Weight? Check.

Blood Pressure? Check.

EKG? Check.

Sexual health? Wait, what?

If you and your doctor haven’t talked about your sexual health, you’re not alone. Many primary care providers and their male patients are often reluctant to address sexual health concerns, such as prostate health, erectile dysfunction and others. And in today’s traditional primary care setting – where physicians are severely limited to the amount of time they can spend with each patient – there just doesn’t seem to be time to address sexual health. But sexual health IS an important component of one’s overall health and wellbeing. By not addressing sexual health, primary care physicians are not only doing their patients a disservice, they are overlooking potential concerns and possibly impacting their patients’ quality of life.

Fortunately, there are tools – standardized sexual health questionnaires – that can help doctors and patients not only address sexual health but also track and monitor symptoms for changes over time. One of the many benefits of a membership model is that clinician and patient have extended visits and a stronger working relationship. Because our patient panel is drastically smaller than a traditional primary care practice, we are able to get to know our patients and partner with them in their overall health and well-being – including addressing sexual health.

These questionnaires have been examined and validated as effective tools for addressing and managing men’s sexual health. I use them in my practice as part of patients’ annual physical exam, as they are helpful in creating a dialogue with patients as well as addressing any concerns or changes over time.

Learn more about screening questionnaires for men’s sexual health in this informative article from Trends in Urologic and Men’s Health

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