Sometimes it’s hard to advocate for yourself at a doctor’s office. You’re in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by experts, and your internal monologue might be spinning in anxiety about the reason you’re there in the first place.
It’s especially hard when you’re seeing your doctor about a particularly personal matter. Talking about sexual health issues is never easy, and it can be even more challenging when you’re asked to spill your most intimate worries.
But there’s no need to worry — and no need to hide any secrets. Not when you visit a men’s health clinic where the medical professionals are well-versed in discussing the tough issues (you know the ones: erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive and the like). A discussion that might have been difficult can become forthright and helpful in the right environment. And it helps if you’ve prepped a little ahead of time to know just what you want to talk about.
Let’s dig into how to talk to your doctor about your sexual health. Because your quality of life is important, and it’s time to have the discussion.
List All Your Questions and Concerns
The best way to start the conversation with your doctor is to prepare before your appointment. Start by making a list of all your concerns and questions. You can keep a running list so you don’t forget anything when you’re in the room. Some men even like to print off their lists before they come to their appointment to make sure everything of importance gets covered.
Your list should include any symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they seem completely unrelated to your primary concern. (You’d be surprised at how many disparate symptoms can be linked to low testosterone levels!) Among the concerns you might list are:
- Any issues with your sex life, including difficulty achieving erections
- Loss of sexual desire
- Difficulties concentrating
- Lapses in memory
- Weight gain, especially around the belly
- Loss of body or facial hair
- Depressed mood
- Sluggishness or low energy
- Physical weakness or loss of muscle mass
- Poor sleep
Those symptoms may seem unrelated — but each of them can be a result of low testosterone levels. And all of them are worth discussing with your doctor. You might also have questions about specific medications you’re taking or about how your testosterone levels interact with your fertility — so put those on the list as well.
Let the Doctor Know Why You’re Coming In
It’s helpful for your doctor to know why you’re making an appointment ahead of time, in part because it lets our team in Dallas, TX, know how long to schedule the appointment for. We want to make sure that you have time to ask all your questions and get all the information you need.
What to Expect From Your Doctor’s Appointment
An appointment for sexual health issues will start by taking a full medical history and discussing your symptoms at length. We want to hear all the details, including your entire surgical history. Your family medical history is also important here — be ready to talk about any family history of heart disease, prostate cancer and sleep apnea. We may even ask about your daily routine and your eating and exercise habits. And of course, we’ll perform a physical exam.
You can then expect the doctor to tell you all their thoughts about what’s causing your symptoms. They may also order tests, including various blood tests to take specific measurements of your testosterone levels and possibly other hormone levels as well. And we’ll explain what each test means and what we’re looking for.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
In addition, you’ll be asked to list all the medications you’re taking, as well as all the vitamins and supplements you take regularly. Certain medications can have an effect on testosterone levels.
Talk Openly About Your Concerns
Talking about sexual health issues is difficult. We get that. But open discussion is key to solving whatever brought you to the doctor in the first place. You can expect your doctor to ask some questions. As you answer them, you’ll find that you’ve eased into the conversation that you thought would be uncomfortable.
Remember, when you go to a men’s health clinic, we know why you’re here. We have these conversations every day, multiple times a day. Knowing that we don’t find the subject matter awkward and that we’ve heard it all before will help you feel more at ease discussing any sensitive issues.
Remember, we can help you better if we understand the full picture of what you’re dealing with. That picture may include issues you don’t think are relevant. We want to know that you’re too exhausted to go out on a Friday night and about those times your partner is ready for some fun but you just want to go to sleep. Let’s talk about all of it.
Ask About the Appropriate Tests
We’re likely to run tests to determine your testosterone levels. These are simple blood tests — and we can run several tests off one blood draw. Because testosterone levels are at their highest in the morning, we will draw your blood as early as possible. We may ask for a second test to confirm levels.
If your blood tests reveal that your testosterone levels fall below the normal range, then you’re likely to be diagnosed with testosterone deficiency. If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms listed above, you’re likely to feel a sense of relief if you get this diagnosis — it means there really is a reason for what you’ve been experiencing.
Ask About the Appropriate Treatment Options
If you’re diagnosed with low testosterone, your doctor will talk to you about testosterone replacement therapy. This treatment has proven itself effective, with a highly positive impact on men who try it. Your doctor will explain all your options, which include testosterone injections, topical testosterone gels, testosterone patches and testosterone pellets placed under the skin. Which you choose depends largely on your lifestyle, your reliability at self-dosage (how often do you take your vitamins regularly, for instance?) and your personal preferences.
We’ll talk through all the risks and benefits of testosterone treatment. You’re likely to find that the symptoms you came to the clinic with are helped significantly by the treatment. Your sexual performance and libido should improve, your energy levels should increase and your cognitive function should become sharper. Additionally, irritability and depression should decrease, and you should lose weight and increase lean muscle mass.
Ask If You’re a Candidate for Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Of course, testosterone replacement therapy isn’t the right choice for every man, even those with low testosterone levels. If you’ve dealt with prostate cancer or breast cancer, we’ll direct you away from this therapy. Other medical conditions may also indicate that you’re not a good candidate. However, most men are good candidates for this treatment. We’re happy to talk about any concerns you have.
Be Prepared for Return Visits
At our Dallas, TX, location, we’ll want to see you at least twice when you come to us with concerns about your sexual health. At your initial visit, we’ll take all the blood tests you need to have evaluated — and we’ll want to discuss those tests with you once we have the results. Based on those tests, we’ll have a clearer picture of what treatment you need and how to proceed to improve your symptoms.
If you go forward with testosterone replacement therapy, we may see you in the office more or less often depending on the type of treatment you choose. If you opt for subcutaneous testosterone pellets or testosterone injections, we may see you every 1 to 3 months for treatment. And regardless of which treatment you choose, we’ll want to check your hormone levels every few months to make sure your dosage is correct.
This regular monitoring, with tweaks to your dosage as needed, is ultra-important to your overall well-being and health. Your hormones all work together, and as their levels change, we want to ensure you’re receiving optimal doses and treatment. As an added bonus, those regular appointments give you even further opportunity to discuss any new or continuing concerns you might have about your overall health.
What to Do If Your Doctor Doesn’t Listen to Your Concerns
Not every doctor is trained or experienced in dealing with men’s health issues, especially those involving sexual health. We’ve talked to many men here in Dallas, TX, who went to their family doctors or internists complaining of loss of muscle mass, low energy, even erectile dysfunction and low libido, only to have their doctors brush them off or seemingly not understand their complaints.
If your doctor doesn’t have the experience you need or is uncomfortable talking about issues surrounding sexual health, it’s time for you to turn to a men’s health clinic that you can trust. There’s no need to continue to ignore your sexual health concerns (and certainly no need to head to a medical spa that specializes in treatments like Botox). At Texas Men’s Health Group, we are experts in diagnosing and treating men’s sexual health concerns, especially those that result from low testosterone levels. Contact us today to start getting the care and treatment you need.