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PLoS One. 2018 Jul 25;13(7):e0201105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201105. eCollection 2018.

The willingness of Saudi men with type 2 diabetes to discuss erectile dysfunction with their physicians and the factors that influence this.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of General Practice, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.



The study's objectives were to find out the proportion of Saudi men with type 2 diabetes who have been asked by their physicians about erectile dysfunction (ED) in the last year, to determine the willingness of Saudi men with type 2 diabetes to discuss ED, and to explore the factors that may be related to their willingness to discuss ED with their physicians.


This study employed a cross-sectional survey design using a quantitative self-administered questionnaire among 309 Saudi men with type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted in hospital-based primary care clinics at King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the period from July to September 2015.


The mean age of the patients was 60.2 years with the mean duration of diabetes approximately 12.5 years. Few of the patients (9.7%) had been asked by their physicians about ED within the last year of attending the clinics although most patients (84.8%) were willing to discuss this issue. The presence of ED among the respondents was 89%. Two participants' characteristics were associated with a willingness to discuss ED with the physicians. These characteristics were age above 60 (OR = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.11-0.55), and having severe ED (OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.08-0.85). The respondents' main barriers to discussing ED with their physicians were embarrassing the doctor, ED is a personal issue, too old or too sick to address ED issues now, no effective treatment available, and the doctor is too young to discuss ED with.


Most patients who have type 2 diabetes are not asked about ED within the last year of attendance even though most are willing to discuss it with their physicians. Being older and suffering more severe ED will result in being less willing to discuss ED with their doctor. Further research is needed to explore the barriers which prevent physicians from discussing ED with their patients who have diabetes.

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