Why a Pill is Not Always the Answer

Published March 16, 2017

By Christopher Deibert, MD

When men come to our clinic with a problem, we’re often asked to give them a pill to fix what’s ailing them. If a pill can make you feel better, then why not?

Christopher Deibert, MD

While a pill may provide a short-term sense of relief, sometimes taking a pill may be masking what’s really wrong, and in the long run, could actually make things worse. For instance, problems like sexual dysfunction, low libido or low fatigue and energy are often related to other diseases and these issues are merely symptoms or complications of the primary disease.

At the Nebraska Medicine Men’s Health Program, we value men’s health. We seek to play a large role in the preventative aspects of men’s care including problems like sexual dysfunction, male fertility, low testosterone and erectile dysfunction.

We want to understand the underlying reasons for your symptoms and prevent these symptoms from becoming bigger health issues in the future. Getting medical help is not just about taking a medicine and moving forward. It’s about finding out what’s causing the problem and trying to fix it so you can have better health over the long term.

Our goal is to help you identify problems early on as well as any underlying causes for your problems. We will screen for other preventable diseases, as well as identify the underlying cause of what’s ailing you.

When men have conditions like erectile dysfunction, they often want to get a prescription for a pill and be on their way. Before any medication consult, we talk about potential lifestyle changes that can be made to improve their symptoms. We typically recommend a multi-step approach including medications and lifestyle modifications as well as treatment of any underlying medical conditions.

Lifestyle modifications are often a critical component of helping you feel better. In many cases, lifestyle modifications can enhance the effectiveness of medications, and sometimes may eliminate the need for any medications at all. For instance, recently, cholesterol-lowering medications and Viagra were found to work better in patients who exercise versus those who didn’t exercise at all. We also know that diet and certain exercises, when used in combination, can be just as effective in reducing pain symptoms as prescription medications for a variety of common conditions.

At the Men’s Health Program, we provide a complete health evaluation. We look for common causes of conditions like erectile dysfunction rather than just send you away with a pill. We will test for conditions like diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea, which are all associated with erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is a perfect example of a problem that may be resolved with lifestyle modifications. We have found that erectile dysfunction often can improve on its own with weight loss and blood sugar control. Our on-site registered dietitian will work directly with you to help you find long-term solutions for eating healthier and maintaining an exercise routine.

We also make sure patients are up-to-date with appropriate age-related screenings such as colonoscopy or the pneumonia vaccine.

The Men’s Health Program will help you get on track for a better quality of life. Understanding the underlying causes of a particular problem is the first step. Medications are sometimes necessary, but including them in a holistic approach to improve your health is our primary goal.