Introduction. Neither men with erectile dysfunction (ED) nor their physicians are willing to discuss sexual problem sufficiently. Written information material could facilitate a dialogue and encourage men to seek treatment.
Aim. The central task of this article was to determine the effectiveness and acceptance of patient information material for sexual dysfunction.
Methods. Through an information campaign, men received informational material. Eight thousand men also received a first survey, which asked about the intention to seek treatment and to discuss the sexual problem with a physician or partner. A second follow-up questionnaire, 3–6 months after the first one, asked for the implementation of these intentions. Descriptive and regression-based analyses were applied.
Main Outcome Measures. Help-seeking behavior, subjective assessment of change in disease severity and partnership quality, satisfaction.
Results. Four hundred forty-three men participated in both surveys. Nearly 90% of them became active after reading the information material. More than half talked with their partner (57.8%) and a physician (65%), and one-third sought treatment (31.8%). Especially discussing the problem with the partner and receiving treatment improved erectile functioning and led to an increase in the quality of partnership (P ≤ 0.05). The initial intention to become active was a good predictor for completing an action. The main reasons for not becoming active were inhibitions to talk about ED (46.8%) and fear of a medical examination (27.7%).
Conclusions. Overall, the results demonstrate that written information material is a useful resource for men with ED, because it evokes a high help-seeking behavior. It was perceived both to improve the sexual problem as well as to increase the quality of partnership. Providing such material in the medical practice may be an appropriate way to overcome inhibitions and to initiate dialogue with affected men. However, the results must be interpreted with caution because of possible motivationally driven self-selection bias. Berner MM, Leiber C, Kriston L, Stodden V, and Günzler C. Effects of written information material on help-seeking behavior in patients with erectile dysfunction: A longitudinal study. J Sex Med 2008;5:436–447.