Guidance for healthcare professionals to
open discussion about sexual dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction and female sexual dysfunction may be “Smoking causes more than lung cancer, it can lead to a pointer to undiagnosed diabetes or an indicator of a sexual dysfunction (woman) / impotence (man).” Because of this it is important that healthcare Excessive alcohol affects the nervous system and interferes with the signals from the pituitary gland and the genitalia.
• alert to the possibility of the problem It can also reduce the levels of ‘sex’ hormones in the body, • confident to instigate a consultation about it.
testosterone and oestrogen.
Smoking causes a reduction in penile blood pressure decreasing the inflow of blood to the penis probably due The person who pauses at the door of the consulting to atherosclerosis. Nicotine can cause vasoconstriction or room may just have found the courage to approach the spasm within the penile arteries causing them to almost subject. You must make time to listen or the moment close so preventing an erection developing.
In women this would be translated to the flow of Be comfortable
Use the correct terminology when talking to your patient,
• Surgery/trauma to prostate, bladder, pelvis, spinal
but be ready to explain what you mean if you recognise cord, penis.
that they do not understand. If you are embarrassed, they “Were you told after your operation/accident that you may find problems with getting or maintaining anerection/having sex? If this happens, you must come and Be informed
A direct question may not produce any workable reply.
Note for hcp – This may be due to temporary or Possible ‘lead in comments’ could include: permanent damage to nerves or arteries near the penis.
• Medication
• Stress/overwork/tiredness
“The doctor has started you on a tablet for your blood “You have a very busy life/stressful job/lot of travelling. Try pressure. Were you told that it could cause you to have to make sure that you take time for yourself to relax as problems with impotence/sexual dysfunction?” stress, tiredness or overwork can lead to sexual problems Note for hcp – Some diuretics, beta blockers, ACE such as erectile dysfunction/female sexual dysfunction” inhibitors can cause erectile dysfunction. It is possibly due Note for hcp – Stress, anxiety, guilt, depression may to the reduction in pressure flowing through the arteries follow diagnosis of diabetes and contribute to erectile but reassurance for the patient that alternatives therapies There are other groups of drugs which also cause If your patient has decided to talk to you about sexual problems eg – antidepressants, tranquillizers, appetite dysfunction it may be a useful starting point to mention that oral medications, Cialis, Viagra and Levitra, areavailable through the NHS. • Substance use
“Too much alcohol (over the recommended limit of 14
This work has been taken forward by Dr John Andrews, Prof.
units for women and 21 units for men) can cause erectile Wallace Dinsmore, Ms Pat Shannon and Diabetes UK Northern dysfunction often referred to as ‘brewer’s droop’ (or sexual Ireland with the support of an educational grant from Eli Lilly www.diabetes.org.uk
Registered charity no. 215199 Code: 6240/1007/a

Source: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/upload/Professionals/SexDys.pdf

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