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Ask Dr. Gott 10/23
Meds, age likely causes of ED
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: My husband is 52 years old, 6 feet tall and 230 pounds. His cholesterol is 198, and he also has high blood pressure. He has been taking atenolol for 20 years, which has controlled it well. He has a physical every year.
    Since late spring or early summer, he has been experiencing erectile dysfunction. His doctor gave him samples of Levitra, which have not helped. We never had a problem before this summer, and I can tell it is affecting his self-esteem. Should he go back to his physician to try other drugs, or should he be seen by a urologist for testing?
    DEAR READER: Your husband would benefit from being examined by a urologist.
    Erectile dysfunction is common, especially as men age. It can also be the result of uncontrolled high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. The medications used to treat these conditions may also be to blame. The urologist will be able to work with your husband to determine the cause of the ED and the best way to treat it.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Erectile Dysfunction."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a senior citizen who has had shingles on the back of my neck and on my chest for three years. Is there anything I can use for temporary relief?
    DEAR READER: Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. Known as herpes zoster, it causes a painful rash, most commonly appearing as blisters that wrap from the middle of the back around to the middle of the chest. Other parts of the body can be affected as well but are less common. Most rashes last a few weeks or up to a month. Those lasting longer are sometimes known as post-herpetic neuralgia. The older an individual gets, the greater his or her chances are of suffering from such long-term nerve pain.
    Treatment can often be difficult and may require a combination of prescriptions for pain control. While antivirals decrease pain and promote healing, the body responds best when the drug or drugs are given within 72 hours of outbreak. Unfortunately, you are well past that stage. Following that brief time period, topical skin medications, pain relievers, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, narcotics and non-narcotics (or a combination thereof) may be necessary.
    You don't indicate what your primary care physician has put you on for relief of the pain and discomfort. Therefore, I recommend you return to him or her and discuss your options. You can then work together to formulate a plan to bring this problem under control. If all options have been tried, ask for a referral to a specialist, who might be able to offer new ones.
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