Erectile dysfunction or ED is the inability to get and maintain an erection
That is sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. ED is also known as impotence. ED can be an embarrassing problem, some men are tempted to look for treatment on their own.
It may be possible to buy ED medication over the internet, but this is not recommended by most physicians. These medications are not regulated and the number of active ingredients in them can vary. They could cause unpleasant side effects or they may not be suitable for you. It is also possible that an underlying health condition may be causing your ED and getting this diagnosed and treated by a physician may resolve your symptoms.
Erectile Dysfunction – ED Treatment Options
The symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction – ED can often be improved by making changes to your lifestyle to reduce the impact of known risk factors for ED. As well as helping to improve your ED, these types of changes can also improve your general health.
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Giving up smoking if you smoke
- Moderating your alcohol consumption
- Not taking illegal drugs
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing stress
If a hormonal condition is causing ED, you may be referred to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the treatment of hormonal conditions.
Hormones are chemicals produced by the body. Many hormonal conditions can be treated using injections of synthetic (man-made) hormones to restore normal hormone levels.
Phosphodiesterase-5 PDE-5 inhibitors
Phosphodiesterase-5 PDE-5 inhibitors are one of the most widely used and effective types of medication for treating ED. They work by temporally increasing the blood flow to your penis. There are three common PDE-5 inhibitors that are available for treating ED. They are:
- sildenafil – Phosphodiesterase-5 PDE-5 inhibitors sold under the brand name Viagra
- tadalafil – Phosphodiesterase-5 PDE-5 inhibitors sold under the brand name Cialis
- vardenafil – Phosphodiesterase-5 PDE-5 inhibitors sold under the brand name Levitra
Sildenafil and vardenafil work for about eight hours and they are designed to work “on-demand”. Tadalafil lasts for up to 36 hours and is more suitable if you require treatment for a longer period of time, for example, over a weekend. These medications are triggered by sexual stimulation, so you also need to be aroused for the medication work.
A vacuum pump is another treatment method for ED. It consists of a clear plastic tube that is connected to a pump, which is either hand or battery operated. This creates a vacuum that causes the blood to fill your penis, making it erect. It may take several attempts to learn how to use the pump correctly, but they are usually very successful. After using a vacuum pump, 9 out of 10 men are able to have sex, regardless of what causes their ED.
If your ED does not respond to treatment, or you are unable or unwilling to use PDE-5 inhibitors or a vacuum pump, you may be given a medicine called alprostadil. This is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that helps to stimulate blood flow to the penis.
Penile implants are a type of surgery that may be considered. These can be:
semi-rigid implants – which may be suitable for older men who do not have sex regularly or inflatable implants – which consist of two or three parts that can be inflated to give a more natural erection
A health treatment that is not classified as standard Western medical practice is referred to as “alternative” or “complementary.” Alternative treatments include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and acupuncture.
Nutritional Supplements: Nutritional supplements including the amino acid arginine, bioflavonoids, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and flaxseed meal have been used to improve erectile function. In addition, certain ED patients with low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) showed improvement in erectile function after receiving supplemental doses of DHEA. However, because the long-term safety of DHEA is not known, most experts do not recommend its use.
Herbal Remedies: Asian ginseng and Ginkgo biloba are believed to improve erectile function in some men. However, consult a doctor before taking any herbal supplements to ensure they are safe for you to take.
Acupuncture: an ancient Chinese method of healing that involves sticking very fine, solid needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture stimulates the body’s ability to resist or overcome illnesses and conditions by correcting “imbalances.” Acupuncture has helped some men with ED.