Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
There are several erectile dysfunction treatment options available, offering you a good chance of overcoming your erection problems with the right treatment. The treatment type applicable to your condition is based on the underlying reason for your erectile dysfunction.
The most common treatments for erectile dysfunction include:
Treating Underlying Health Conditions
The first thing your doctor will do is to look for underlying health problems that may be causing your erection problems. This is because there are physical causes behind 80-90% of all Erectile Dysfunction cases.
If an underlying health problem is discovered then it can be sufficient to treat them in order to resolve your erectile problems, e.g. by controlling hypertension (high blood pressure) or optimizing blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes.
Underlying health problems may though require medication that may interfere with your erection quality and then additional erectile dysfunction treatment may be required.
Also, if you are already taking some medication, check if they list erectile dysfunction as possible side effect. If this is the case, then continue taking them but see your doctor about switching you to different medication (if possible).
Did You Know?
Penis hardness is one of the best indicators of man's overall health. Addressing your erection problems can literally save your life. Weak erections can also lead to additional penis health problems, e.g. increase the chance of penis injury, which can result in Peyronie's disease.
Erectile health monitor is an excellent way of keeping track of your erectile health. Treating and correcting erectile dysfunction is easier the sooner you realize you have a problem.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that wrap around the underside of the bladder and rectum. This includes the bulbocavernosus muscle that partly wraps around the base of the penis and among other things is involved in preventing the blood escaping during an erection (also active during ejaculation and emptying the urethra after urinating).
Various researches suggest that pelvic floor exercises can be effective in helping men who have problems developing and sustaining an erection.
“After 6 months, blind assessment showed that 40% of men had regained normal erectile function, 35.5% improved but 24.5% failed to improve.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that pelvic floor exercises should be considered as a first-line approach for men seeking long-term resolution of their erectile dysfunction” (BJU Int. 2005)
Pelvic floor muscle exercises may also help with premature ejaculation, dribbling after urinating and improve the quality of orgasm.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are effective, free to do and have no known side effects so it seems obvious for everyone to do them (even those without erection problems).
Pelvic floor exercises can easily be combined with other erectile dysfunction treatments
Oral Medication For Treating Erectile Dysfunction
Oral medication (taken by mouth) has become popular treatment for erectile dysfunction in recent years.
Almost everyone has heard about Viagra. It is hard to comprehend that Viagra only became available in 1998.
The most popular oral medications for treating erectile dysfunction are the so-called PDE5 inhibitors (phosphodiesterase-5). They work by blocking the PDE-5 enzyme and help the smooth muscles of the penis to relax and increase the blood flow to the penis when men become sexually aroused.
Oral medication is not a cure for erectile dysfunction, it is an erectile dysfunction treatment. The erection problems still exist, you will have to take a dose every time you want to have sexual intercourse.
There are three PDE5 inhibitors currently approved as erectile dysfunction treatment:
- Sildenafil (trade names Viagra, Revatio)
- Vardenafil (trade names Levitra, Staxyn)
- Tadalafil (trade name Cialis)
You should take PDE5 inhibitors an hour in advance but they only work when you are sexually aroused, i.e. they do not work on low libido. All three drugs have similar efficacy and toxicity profiles, i.e. tend to be well tolerated, with only mild side effects.
PDE5 inhibitors are not suitable for everyone so always check with your doctor prior to start using them, as certain medical conditions and medication may prevent you from taking them. In addition, always make sure you buy your medication from reputable supplier.
PDE5 inhibitors can be convenient choice for men in good health and do not have conditions that prevent them taking them. Various studies have shown them to work for 70-80% of men with erectile dysfunction (1,2)
Men that do not respond to PDE5 inhibitors may have low testosterone.
Apomorphine (trade names Apokyn, Ixense, Spontane, Uprima) is best known for treating Parkinson's symptoms but it has also been used as erectile dysfunction treatment.
Apomorphine works by increasing the level of certain chemicals in the brain, i.e. which send messages down nerves to the penis when men become sexually aroused. It only takes Apomorphine 20 minutes to work but it has shown to be less effective than PDE5 inhibitors and therefore less popular choice.
“While apomorphine is effective, in that it is better than placebo, it is clearly less effective than oral PDE-5 inhibitors” (Bandolier Journal)
Erectile Dysfunction Vacuum Pump (VED)
Erectile dysfunction pump or vacuum erection device (VED) are another popular treatment option. They are easy to use, cost effective (one-off investment) and have shown to be very effective for men to achieve erection.
There are several types of penis vacuum pumps available but all work on the same principle. The erectile dysfunction vacuum pump is put over the penis to create blood flow.
The pump sucks out the air from the container to create a vacuum, causing the blood to be drawn into specific tissues of the penis, causing erection.
Rubber band is then placed at the base of the erected penis to maintain the erection (must be removed within 30 minutes).
Various clinical studies have shown vacuum erection devices to be very effective as erectile dysfunction treatment.
“A number of reports have cited satisfaction rates above 80%. This treatment has been shown to result in definite improvement in erection hardness, increase in frequency of sex and increase in overall sexual satisfaction. Increased satisfaction for the partner has also been demonstrated” (Cornell Urology)
“clinical success rate is approximately 90%... A recently reported survey of 5,847 vacuum users showed that 83.5% of patients continue to use the device for intercourse as desired” (World J Urol. 1997)
It is important to use only qualified erectile dysfunction pumps, i.e. to reduce the risk of pressure induced penis injury (which could lead to Peyronie's disease). Look for penis vacuum pump with limited and controlled amount of pressure (recommended that the pressure does not exceed 200-250 mmHg).
I recommend the Androvacuum penis pump. It is manufactured as a medical device and meets the recommendation for controlling the amount of pressure. It is effective for treating erectile dysfunction.
See my Androvacuum review for more information and to buy.
Erectile Dysfunction Injection Treatment
The medication is injected directly into the penis, increasing the blood flow and causing erection (usually within 15 minutes). An erection will occur whether you are sexually aroused or not (unlike when taking oral medication).
You need to see a doctor and he will teach you how to inject the medicine into the penis base.
There are number of drugs that can be used to achieve erection (Papaverine Hydrochloride, Prostaglandin E1 (Alprostadil) and Phentolamine). Usually combination of drugs is used for maximum efficacy and minimal complications.
Erectile dysfunction injections usually work well (success rate around 80%) and they used to be the most common erectile dysfunction treatment before the PDE5 inhibitors became available. PDE5 inhibitors are now more popular choice, as more convenient as well as have less potential side effects.
Possible side effect of erectile dysfunction injection treatment is priapism, a persistent and often painful erection that can last for several hours. They can also be painful and cause scarring of the penis.
Erectile Dysfunction Hormone Therapy
Hormones regulate the functions in the body. Hormonal problems can cause erection problems and then hormone therapy may be the recommended erectile dysfunction treatment.
Testosterone is hormone made in the testes and affects both the ability and capability of men to achieve erections. Low level of testosterone can reduce the libido and in turn affect the ability to develop and sustain an erection.
Low testosterone treatment may improve the libido and sometimes the erection problems as well. Low testosterone treatment includes shot every 2 to 3 weeks in the muscle or testosterone patches placed on the skin (changed daily).
There are some notable potential side effects so low testosterone treatment must be followed with regular health checks.
Erectile Dysfunction Penis Surgery
Erectile dysfunction surgery can be to reconstruct arteries in order to increase the flow of blood to the penis or to block veins that drain blood from the penis.
Penis implant surgery however includes implanting device that enables the penis to become erect (prostheses). The implant is an inflatable device that allows you to control when and for how long you have an erection, i.e. firm erection on demand.
Penis implant surgery is a non-reversible operation, i.e. you will not be able to achieve natural erection after having penis implant surgery
Penis implant surgery is always the last options, i.e. only used if other erectile dysfunction treatments have not worked. This is because of the high risk involved and the permanent nature of this surgical procedure.
Side effect can include infection, implant malfunction, device migration, device erosion and auto inflation. Penis prosthesis can also damage the penis tissues and decrease the sensation, i.e. cause penis numbness.
Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Psychological causes are believed to be behind 10-20% of all erectile dysfunction cases and psychological treatment can be very helpful for those individuals.
Psychological erectile dysfunction treatment can still be beneficial even if the cause is physical. Erectile dysfunction can be stressful and result in depression and relationship issues.
Psychological therapy can be beneficial for both individuals and couples.
It can help couples to improve intimacy and adjust to changes in their sex life, e.g. after penis implant surgery.
Smoking and excessive use of alcohol or drugs may cause erection problems so stop smoking / using drugs and curtailing excessive alcohol consumption may be required to improve your erection quality.
Regular exercise and healthy balanced diet are also recommended for men experiencing any erectile health problems.
Natural Remedies For Erectile Dysfunction
Some men prefer natural cure for erectile dysfunction. There is little or no scientific evidence that natural remedies for erectile dysfunction work. It does not automatically mean they don't work, it just means there is little evidence for their efficacy and safety (or not).
Natural remedies for erectile dysfunction include:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Herbal Viagra
- Korean Red Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Bear in mind that some natural ingredients may interfere with other medications so always liaise with your doctor before start using any natural remedies for erectile dysfunction (especially if you have any chronic health problems).
Some men prefer complementary (unconventional / alternative) therapies to the so-called traditional medical treatments like medication and surgery. Others like to use them in conjunction with conventional treatments, while others consider them all as total waste of time and money.
Complementary erectile dysfunction treatments include methods like acupuncture, reiki, spiritual healing, reflexology, chiropractic, aromatherapy, heat therapy, naturopathy, relaxation techniques and so on.
The bottom line is that there is very little or no evidence that complementary therapies works (or not). In some cases, they can include ingredients that could interact with other medications and cause serious side effects so always check with your doctor prior to adding complementary therapies to your erectile dysfunction treatment plan.