We are all living in a truly unprecedented time. Although plagues and pandemics are nothing new to humankind (just look up the influenza pandemic of 1918, aka the “Spanish Flu”), what makes this go around different is a handy invention that first launched a few miles from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina: the airplane. COVID-19 showed us how truly interconnected we are as it spread from China to Europe and the United States in a matter of a few months in 2019 and 2020.
The next thing we knew, lives were lost and our daily routines were altered dramatically. The biggest change came when we were asked to “shelter-at-home” and practice “social distancing.” Those words are ingrained in the minds of most of us but, I believe, no more so than in the minds of men struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED). Maybe some time at home with your partner means more time for intimacy. But how is this going to work when you struggle with ED?
Seeking out the right resources
If the airplane was the invention that helped bring COVID-19 to your doorstep, then another twentieth-century invention, the internet, is something that will help us all get through to the other side. Like the airplane, the internet brings people together, just in different ways. A resource such as this educational website, EDcure.org, not only provides you with a gateway on your journey toward erectile restoration but it also reminds you that you are not alone. Tens of millions of men are dealing with erectile dysfunction and hoping they don’t have to remain socially distant from their partner.
From online tests to assess the severity of your condition (for example, the Sexual Health Inventory for Men or SHIM score) to a description of various FDA-approved erectile restoration options, helpful, thorough, and unbiased information is out there. On this site, a physician finder tool can help you identify urologists in your area who have expertise in the field of men’s health and erectile restoration. And, in response to COVID-19, many of those specialists offer telemedicine visits in place of the traditional office visit (something that those sites with pop-up ads on Facebook promising cheap Viagra™ without a doctor’s appointment simply cannot match).
Tens of millions of men are dealing with erectile dysfunction and hoping they don’t have to remain socially distant from their partner.
Seeking a doctor’s care
In keeping with the theme of travel and connectivity, it’s important to realize that most men are at different points on their journey to erectile restoration. Some men are just now finding the courage to explore their options, while others are ready to make brave steps toward a cure. Men’s health and erectile-restoration specialists stand at the ready to help all of these men find the answers that they’re looking for even (or should I say especially) during this COVID-19 lockdown.
Most of us know that the first step along the treatment pathway is the use of the widely prescribed oral medications called phosphodiesterase inhibitors (aka Viagra™, Cialis™, Levitra™ and Stendra™). Whether you need a new prescription or just a refill to make it through another weekend sheltered in place, it’s okay to call on your doctor to let him or her know that you plan on being closer than six feet with your partner! A quick telephone call or videoconference is likely all that you need. The same is true if you rely on prescription medications such as urethral suppositories or penile injections. So, as the expression goes – and yes, it works really well with erectile restoration – just keep your head up!
Some men are just now finding the courage to explore their options, while others are ready to make brave steps toward a cure. Men’s health and erectile-restoration specialists stand at the ready to help.
Scheduled for a penile implant surgery?
In mid-March, the U.S. Surgeon General urged hospitals across the country to stop elective cases in order to free up vital resources for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. But what about the men who were making the commitment to cure their erectile dysfunction and were thinking about or had already scheduled their surgery? Don’t despair because there are answers for you!
When someone asks me where I was when the Surgeon General’s announcement was made, I tell them I had just finished a penile implant on a young man with severe Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction unresponsive to medical treatment. I told him he would be the last implant I did for quite a while. This story may resonate for some of you. Perhaps you had surgery that day or were one of the first to have his case cancelled. For those of you who had surgery postponed, you need to keep positive and keep focused on your goal because the answer is on the horizon. Most U.S. hospitals already have or are finding ways to safely restart elective surgeries. You’ll likely be asked to get tested for COVID-19 and to quarantine yourself pre-operatively, but these are small sacrifices to make when seeing your journey through.
For those of you who had surgery postponed, you need to keep positive and keep focused on your goal because the answer is on the horizon.
Penile implant surgery during and after COVID-19
As for your erectile restoration specialist, I know my colleagues and I are planning on working long hours, even weekends and holidays, to help get our patients back on track. For those of you who had surgery right before the shelter-at-home orders were given and don’t know what to do, there are answers for you, too. Most orders restricted travel out of the home to essential workers, trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, and trips to the doctor’s office. That may mean your post-op visit is a reason to venture out of the house.
Early on after surgery, it’s important for the surgeon to check on your progress and make sure you’re healing as anticipated. And, of course, when the time comes, it’s also important for the doctor to teach you how to use your implant. Both of these steps in your journey are best done as a face-to-face office visit, so bring your gloves and mask and make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds when you get home. After all, there are some things that can’t be done over the phone.
The importance of intimacy
In these crazy times when we’re being asked to stay at home and practice social distancing, it’s easy to forget what matters most in life. One of those precious things is the deep connection to your partner that physical intimacy brings. So, when you’re asked what about the erections, you’ll know what answer to give. After all, Mae West once said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
This physician is a Boston Scientific consultant but was not compensated for the creation of this article.