A recent survey of doctors uncovered that many of them don’t fully explain the side effects of treatment for lower urinary tract infections or enlarged prostates. The most common side effect is sexual dysfunction, yet many urologists fail to mention it.
The authors of the study reported around half of urologists do discuss ejaculatory dysfunction but many do not offer alternatives to treatments.
Lead author of the study Dr. Simone Giona explained, “We need to think about the entire picture as doctors. Even if patients are 100 percent satisfied with the treatment and can urinate perfectly, they may be unhappy that they can’t ejaculate anymore.”
Many patients only seek out medical attention for their enlarged prostate or lower urinary tract infections after symptoms have worsened because they are aware that treatment could lead to sexual dysfunction.
Giona added, “That’s very important for some men, even if they’re 75 or 80 years old. We need to talk to patients about their expectations and offer the treatments that will help them, including new alternatives.”
The study surveyed 245 urologists and they were asked about treatment options offered for an enlarged prostate, the frequency of discussion of ejaculatory dysfunction, and how often alternative treatments are discussed with patients.
Overall, many urologists reported discussing side effects, but the bulk of them did not discuss alternative treatment options.
Giona continued, “We’d expect that a urologist with more experience would have a wider picture of the best treatment, but maybe they don’t discuss options other than what they prefer or know best. We need to make sure patients have options and we’re not missing the rest.”
Just ask doctors need to fully explain side effects and treatment options, it’s also important that patients discuss fully with their doctors their concerns, needs, and worries about the treatment. This way, doctors can have a better understanding of what would make the patient happy and can recommend better alternatives.
Treatment options for an enlarged prostate are vast so there are far more options available to patients – the key is discussing them.