SME of the Week: Regimen – Erection Therapy beyond pills

In the month of Movember, organisations and individuals traditionally raise awareness of men’s health issues as well as raising funds for research, therapy and prevention. The issues most often focused on during the month include prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide.

What has been less of a focus, however, is the devastating health impact of erectile dysfunctions (EDs) on men’s mental, physical, and relational health. This is perhaps due to the incredible stigma and shame surrounding EDs—despite how widespread and common these issues actually are. Indeed, studies have found that up to one in three British men has erection problems. And up to 45 percent of sufferers won’t see a doctor due to embarrassment, and many of whom say they would rather break up with their partner than seek help. 

One might assume that treatment of EDs is both standardized and excellent due to how common these issues are. This is, unfortunately, not the case. My conversations with clients  often follow the same themes. Patients remain unsatisfied with the care they are receiving at British healthcare facilities, citing doctors who don’t really take the time to listen to them and just prescribe pills. By prescribing a short-term crutch like PDE5-inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis or their generics), most doctors ignore the opportunity to improve ED patients’ erections (and mental health) in the long term holistically, while ignoring the risk posed by the underlying issues – with potentially fatal consequences. 

While erectile dysfunctions are widely seen as distressing because they inhibit men’s ability to perform sexually, they often also indicate more serious health problems, particularly around cardiovascular health. We know that 57% of men who have had bypass surgery and 64% of men hospitalized with a heart attack, had an erectile dysfunction before their treatment for heart issues in a hospital setting. Most interestingly, the erectile dysfunction generally presents five to 10 years earlier than the cardiovascular event, offering an early opportunity to detect and prevent a serious heart problem. Thus, patients with an erectile dysfunction should also always be checked for immediate risk factors (such as through testing for qrisk3). 

Ultimately, erection problems can be treated extremely effectively by improving cardiovascular health, resulting in both better erections and better cardiovascular health, and thereby preventing heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. The outcomes for patients are spectacular: A 2019 review claimed that effect sizes of regular cardio training are better than 50mg Viagra for erections. The implications of this for the NHS is as promising: a significant reduction in all cardiovascular health diseases, preventing a massive immediate cost burden to the healthcare system and society as a whole. 

We also know that mental health issues are a key predictor for erection problems. Strengthening mental health through stress reduction, mindfulness, and a more positive outlook on life has an impact on the quality of erections. And vice versa: men with erection problems have a significantly increased prevalence of poor mental health, including depression. Improving erections involves care for mental health. And as an output, men can spiral up – healthier erections lead to improved mental health.

Consequently, the latest guidelines of the British Society for Sexual Medicine call for a more holistic approach to treat erections. Every man with erection problems should be offered the tools to adjust their lifestyle. While pharmaceutical solutions like pills can be like a crutch for immediate relief, it is absolutely essential to offer long-term therapy as well as a screening for underlying risk factors. That’s what we at Regimen are all about.

Of our initial several hundreds of customers, 75 per cent improved their erection within four to 12 weeks (measured on the International Index of Erectile Function) with average effect sizes of close to five points on this scale. Regimen is a digital therapy for men with EDs. We help our clients with exercise plans (improving cardiovascular, pelvic, physiotherapeutic, and mental health), educate them about the role of risk factors such as smoking or alcohol abuse, the role of nutrition, their overall lifestyle, and we help them track their progress. We are also working on integrating risk factor tracking to identify those who need cardiovascular attention or should see a therapist.

Through the hundreds of feedback questionnaires and the data we are collecting, we understand the opportunity that we are offering. Our clients are active on the Regimen platform on average four days per week, on average for over 17 minutes. They stay committed for months, starting to exercise regularly, changing their diet and working on an overall more positive approach to life, all resulting in better erections, and better overall health.

For a long time, doctors have seen erectile problems as an isolated health issue, managed by situational support such as pharmaceutical solutions. It is hard for them to educate their erectile dysfunction patients about lifestyle adjustments and monitor for underlying risk factors in a time-effective manner.  

We are offering Regimen as a solution that can be easily integrated into every treatment journey. Regimen’s goal is to be accessible to everyone with erection problems and so we are presenting doctors and therapists with a time-efficient solution to identify those who need to see a specialist while also offering care for every patient with an erectile dysfunction.

Join us! Let’s take this opportunity to help erection patients to take care of their immediate needs while preventing severe health events – and save the NHS money.

Reach out to join our early program for doctors, therapists, and practitioners to integrate Regimen into the journey of your patients: