We Have Forgotten About the Diabetics

November 13, 2015

Remember the Viva Viagra commercials on TV? They stirred heavy doses of nostalgia for youthful adventure. They implied a lot of sex. They served pharmaceutical interests well. Did they serve patients well?

Viagra commercials have gotten more direct. The roaring motorcycles of Viva Viagra have been replaced with a sultry woman whispering suggestively at the camera. They’ve also been joined by commercials for Cialis, which promises erections and fewer trips to the bathroom. There do not seem to be any commercials for vacuum erection devices, injection therapy, urethral suppositories, or penile implant surgery. So televised commercials offer a narrow view of treatments for erectile dysfunction. They do not serve patients well.

What about medical societies? Do they serve patients better than television commercials? Let’s look at the American Diabetes Association as an illustration.

Diabetes causes many issues: heart disease, kidney failure, neuropathic pain, and more. Among its manifestations is erectile dysfunction, not as an esoteric curiosity but as a very common feature. So diabeticians, endocrinologists, internists, nurse educators, and anyone else who provides healthcare services to diabetics is guaranteed to meet a diabetic man with erectile dysfunction. Who educates this provider?

Not the American Diabetes Association. Along with one of our advisors, we recently surveyed diabetes journals to see what was written about management of erectile dysfunction. Not much. Looking specifically at material about penile implants, we found that most original content was published 15-20 years ago, a period in which penile prostheses and penile implant surgery were evolving. 

An example. Here is the entire content on erectile dysfunction in the 67-page guide to management of diabetic patents published by the American Diabetes Association in Diabetes Care in 2014:

“Treatments for erectile dysfunction may include
phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, intracorporeal or
intraurethral prostaglandins
, vacuum devices, or penile prostheses.”

As another example, the not-for-profit Taking Control of Your Diabetes has two citations of articles about diabetes and erectile dysfunction, the most recent of which was published 13 years ago. Does anyone seriously think that anybody can remember what happened in 2002? That the material published then does not need repetition and updating? Doctors, nurses, and educators who rely on the ADA for educational content need more than a few words about erectile dysfunction and its medical and surgical management. They need it recited more often than every 10-20 years.

Surgeo is not a diabetes educator. Surgeo is a service that simplifies access to quality care. Among its services are comprehensive surgery packages for penile implant, which is one of many treatments for erectile dysfunction. Penile implant surgery is a last resort, not a first or second resort, for diabetics and other men with erectile dysfunction. 

If you have diabetes or other cause of erectile dysfunction, talk with your doctor. Ask about physical and emotional and wellness approaches to managing your diabetes and erectile dysfunction. If these do not work, you can see a urologist and ask about medications, vacuum devices, injections, and urethral suppositories. If those approaches don’t work, ask about a penile implant. If that becomes your decision, then Surgeo will provide you with flat-fee, transparently priced, comprehensive surgery package choices.

If you are a doctor, nurse, or educator who is working with diabetics and want more information about penile implant surgery, give us a call. We will be happy to understand your needs and do what we can to help you help your patient.

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