Why Primary Care Doctors Are Falling Short in the Area of Men's Sexual Health

Sep 15, 2014

An interesting article in the September 2014 edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine finds that primary care physicians in Argentina are unlikely to ask their patients about sexual problems and less than half applied basic diagnostic methods to men with sexual dysfunction. Based on my experience, similar results would likely be found in the United States.

Why are primary care doctors falling short in the area of men’s sexual health? Based on discussions with my primary care colleagues I think a few reasons are clear.

Most primary care doctors receive little to no training in the field of men’s sexual health. It is not unusual for a primary care doctor to go through medical school, internship and residency without spending a single day with a urologist, a specialist who deals with men’s sexual dysfunction.

Primary Care doctors are busy and in short supply. What about the select few who have spent some time during their training learning about men’s sexual health? These doctors are seeing more patients than ever and sexual concerns often take a backseat to more pressing issues such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. For even excellent physicians, there’s simply no time to address sexual issues.

In my humble opinion, primary care physicians are being asked to do too much these days. It’s always a good idea to bring up these issues with your primary care doctor. But, if they aren’t well versed in the topic ask for a referral to a urologist. Sexual health problems are too important to ignore or misdiagnose. Don’t be afraid to seek out a specialist.