CLEVELAND — It’s a topic we don’t talk about often — or ever, really.
But Tony wants to change that, sharing his success story in the hopes of helping others.
"Something was off, I couldn't pinpoint what it was, but something was definitely off," Tony said.
He went to doctor after doctor, and kept hearing the same thing over and over again.
"They said, 'It's all in your head..' but doesn’t seem like it's in my head," he said. "Went on like this for at least a couple years. 'There's nothing wrong with you, you look perfectly healthy, there's nothing we can do.'"
Tony suffered from erectile dysfunction, which started in his thirties.
Years later, a procedure found a blockage down there, likely from bike riding.
Decades later, Tony finally came across Dr. Mehdi Shishehbor, an interventional cardiologist and president of the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute.
Dr. Shishehbor is also an international leader in minimally invasive vascular procedures. Cleveland is one of the only places this is available.
"The same way we go in and open up the arteries of the heart, arteries of the brain, we can open up the arteries that supplies blood to the penis," Dr. Shishehbor explained.
Pills like Viagra and Cialis don’t work in these particular cases of vasculogenic ED.
A urologist does the workup with ultrasounds, and if a blockage if found, a vascular surgeon like Dr. S does the rest.
He says ED can be a marker for other cardiovascular issues, so it’s not just about improving quality of life, stress levels, and relationships.
"Things like smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease are the things that are associated with vasculogenic erectile dysfunction -- that’s why it has importance both medically and psychologically."
November is men's health month. You've heard of 'Movember' right? And you've no doubt seen the mustaches.
It's meant to raise awareness of men's health issues like prostate and testicular cancer, men's suicide.
ED affects about 30 million men in America.
Dr. Shishehbor says about 40% of men at the age of 40 have some form of ED.
By the time they get to age 70, about 70% of men are impacted.
For Tony, after living with it for 30 years, talking about ED is second nature now.
"The difference has definitely been so very noticeable," he said. "Life-changing."