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Not All Medical Side Effects Need To Happen

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Hey there Guys,

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of sharing information with your doctor when it comes to treatment and potential side effects.

Just this morning I was visited by another doctor’s patient to review some recent blood tests. One of the results, a hormone called prolactin, was high so I discussed the potential causes and how this could affect him, in particular his sex drive.

When the patient explained to me that he hadn’t had a sex drive for 10 years I was shocked. Worse was that he was able to pin point the exact point where his sex drive had dropped off, with the increase in a medication that was used to treat a psychiatric issue 10 years ago.

After careful discussion and examination it became apparent that indeed it might have been this increase in his medication that lead to not only a drop in his sex drive but it being totally switched off. When I asked if this worried him he replied, “Well sure but for me I would rather not have a sex drive, rather than having the problem I had before the medication.”

I was shocked and saddened. Had his medical team known, there is a chance the medication could have been changed and he could have both a healthy mind and sex drive. Sadly nobody had checked to see if he had this common side effect from this particular medicine.

Good news is that today I was able to organise testing to exclude other causes and I’ve organised for him to see his psychiatrist to see if he could change to a medicine that did not cause such a dramatic change in his sex drive.

What this has highlighted to me is the importance of asking all my patients about side effects as well as encouraging people to feel free to share how their body has reacted to medications. Sadly not all medicines are going to agree with everyone but the good news is that there is usually a chance to address side effects when they occur, and if they do, to have an open discussion about the pros and cons of addressing them.

Given the chance to have this conversation today may help this man not only regain his sexual desires but his 10 year relationship may be due to change as well. Imagine that!

So guys, I urge you, please don’t ever be embarrassed or concerned talking to your doctor about side effects, concerns or worries about medical treatments. The main outcome I want to see in all my patients is complete health, and this includes the biological, psychological and social aspect of vibrant health.

If there is something concerning you let us know! Don’t suffer in silence when you don’t have to suffer at all. Not happy with what one doctor says? It never harms to get a second opinion. Sometimes a different set of eyes can make all the difference. Clearly mine did when I met this patient today.

Certainly something to think about.

Yours in complete health!

Dr George

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