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Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Scotty Bowman is Teaching More Than Hockey

 By Dr. Gifford Jones

There’s a funny cartoon in The New Yorker magazine. It shows an elderly couple at the pharmacist’s counter. The man is saying, “I want the night-before-pill and she wants the morning-after-pill!

Let’s hope these cartoon characters had a pleasant and successful evening. But what happens to real people? And can the world’s most famous hockey coach make a difference for males too embarrassed to seek help for erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Unlike cartoon characters the majority of men do not seek help for erectile dysfunction (ED). It’s estimated that one million Canadian males suffer from ED and only 20 percent are being treated for this condition. This in spite of the huge public promotion of ED drugs.

Since sex is such a driving force that it has often decided the fate of nations, why have ED drugs been such a hard sell?

Being impotent is an ego-shattering experience for macho males. One man confided to me, “I’m embarrassed to ask my family doctor whom I’ve known for years”. Another confided, “I was given the prescription, but it wasn’t filled for days. The first time I went to the pharmacy there was a young female pharmacist behind the counter. I thought she would think I was a dirty old man and left without the medication.”

This isn’t the only foolish thought. Today the younger generation admit that they think old folks just hold hands. One university survey revealed that 80 percent of students were sure their parents didn’t indulge in sex!

My mail tells the same story. When a letter begins, “Please don’t mention my name in your column” I immediately assume that in all probability the question is about sex and/or ED drugs. Men want to tell me anonymously what they cannot tell their own doctor.

Pharmaceutical companies have tried to circumvent this psychological problem by using role models. If Bob Dole, former vice-president of the U.S., can admit on TV that he has ED and needs Viagra, why can’t others do the same thing? In Canada, Guy Lafleur, the hockey great, has also urged men to use Viagra, but he quickly adds he doesn’t suffer from ED.

Now Scotty Bowman, the most winning coach in hockey history, has jumped off the bench and says he has ED, takes Levitra, and that it acts fast. And if anyone can prod the 80 percent of males with impotence to seek medical attention for this condition, it’s Bowman. He was the “great motivator”, noted for not mincing words with his multi-millionaire players.

Bowman says Levitra has changed and speeded up his sex life. That he takes the pill, brushes his teeth and by that time he’s ready for bed and sex. Or as one of my patients who takes Levitra told me, “from the first kiss I’m ready to go”.

A report in the Journal of Sexual and Reproductive Medicine outlines what most men and their wives want from an ED drug. Like Bowman, they want a quick response within 25 minutes or less and they want to be able to use an ED drug after food and alcohol.

Today Viagra, Cialis and Levitra usually provide good results. But I hear often about two major mistakes in my office. In some instances, an ED drug will be a complete flop. This is when men forget the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again”. The fact that one drug failed does not imply that they will all fail. It’s worthwhile to try another.

But what if they all fail? During a visit to Harley Street in London, England I talked with Dr. Malcolm Carruthers. He’s a world authority on impotence and one of the early pioneers of male menopause. He says that cases such as these need a double-barreled approach using both testosterone and an ED. The two can end impotence.

My advice? If Bowman can stand at center ice and announce to the world that he’s impotent and needs an ED drug, so can you admit it. The first step is to see your doctor who can prescribe the appropriate ED medication.

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Dr. Gifford Jones  Bio
Dr. Gifford Jones Most recent columns

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of The Harvard Medical School. He’s been a ship’s surgeon, hotel physician and family doctor and later trained in surgery at McGill in Montreal, University of Rochester N.Y. and Harvard. His medical column is published by 60 Canadian newspapers and several in the U.S. He is the author of seven books. Dr. Walker has a medical practice in Toronto. His Web site is: http://www.mydoctor.ca/gifford-jones

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