Vitamin V: Rising to the varsity squad

Vitamin V is Viagra. Viagra has changed the world. I think it has changed the world more than Krispy Kreme Donuts, Bodo's Bagels, green apple martinis, and Tempur Pedic mattresses.

Senator Bob Dole went on national television and confessed that he suffers from erectile dysfunction. I'm not a prude at all, but I really didn't need to know this.

Who is that NASCAR driver with erectile dysfunction? I don't even watch NASCAR, but I know one of its drivers has a problem getting into first gear.

Every television show seems to have an erectile dysfunction medication ad. Cialis­ is the moment right for you? Levitra­ my man likes his results. Viagra­ the naughty horns on the man who pulls his wife into Victoria's Secret.

These ads have driven men into the doctor's office. In the past, it was the last topic brought up by the patient– usually whispered as the doctor was leaving the exam room. Today, it's the first thing that comes up, so to speak.

The problem is that even men who don't really have erectile dysfunction want Viagra. These men claim it makes them feel 18 years old again. These men declare how it has brought them great joy. Sounds great, no?

Then I get the dreaded letter stamped with the word, "Confidential." I open the envelope. "Dear Dr. Hong, thank you for taking good care of my husband. I appreciate your taking care of all his medical problems. I would like to mention one thing, though. I retired from sex a long time ago. Now all you have done is brought misery into my life. Could you please stop giving him Viagra but don't let him know I am the one requesting this. Thank you." What am I supposed to say to the patient?

I usually will ask the patient, "So, it's great the Cialis is working, and how does your spouse feel about it?" The majority of the time in these situations, my patient will tilt his head and say, "Well, to be honest, my spouse is not as enthusiastic about it as I am."

That's when I bring up the idea that he should talk about this with his partner. To this day, before I prescribe an erectile dysfunction medication, I make sure the eager patient has discussed it with his sexual partner.

Viagra is not the wonder drug most people think. A large percentage of men with serious erectile dysfunction do not respond to any of the erectile dysfunction medications. There are other modalities, but in my experience, a lot of men want a pill and nothing else. Pop the pill: out of sight, out of mind, into bed.

I find it strange that most health insurance programs will pay for erectile dysfunction medications but not for birth control pills. I have a sneaky suspicion that the gender of the health insurance executives has something to do with this.

The power of sex to help people feel young again has contributed to the proliferation of erectile dysfunction medications. Even Samantha on Sex & the City became hooked on Viagra with her doctor boyfriend-at-the-time.

Viagra is the only medication I know of that men will pay cash for without blinking an eye. Cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes medications? Lots of complaints for Tier 3 co-payments. ED meds? No questions asked.

I'm not unsympathetic. I just find it interesting how one medication has changed the world. It has made aging J.V. players into varsity jocks again. Maybe that's why all sporting events (except US National Figure Skating, thank goodness) are sponsored almost purely by erectile dysfunction medications.

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