Erectile Dysfunction Treatments
A common question among men with newly presenting ED is, is there a cure for erectile dysfunction? Well, yes and no, many men can “cure” their ED by addressing the main causes behind it. But, for those men who can’t manage the underlying cause or for those who need help while they work on it, there are four ways to treat ED.
Erectile Dysfunction Tablets
The first-line treatments for erectile problems are tablets from the drug class PDE-5 inhibitors. These include:
- Viagra (Sildenafil)
- Cialis (Tadalafil)
- Levitra (Vardenafil)
- Spedra (Avanafil).
These ED treatments work by increasing the blood flow to the penis. While this significantly improves the ability to gain and maintain an erection, you still require arousal to gain an erection.
Side effects for these treatments of ED tend to be related to their effect on blood vessels. For this reason, they may not be suitable for patients with low blood pressure and heart conditions. Side effects can include dizziness and headaches.
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Injectable and Inserted Drugs for ED
Caverject (Alprostadil) is a drug made by the same company that came up with the original ED treatment, Viagra. Caverject is an injection into the penis. For obvious reasons, this is not the most popular option due to peoples general discomfort around injections, however, it is proven to work significantly faster than the tablet options, only taking around 5-15 minutes to work.
Penis Vacuum Pump Devices
Another alternative to using medication are penis pumps. These can be a little intimidating to use, however they do produce results. For men who are unable to get an erection, a penis pump can be an incredibly effective solution.
They work by creating a vacuum around the penis. This vacuum effect then encourages blood flow into the penis and results in an erection.
Once erect, a ring can be used at the base of the penis to help maintain the erection. Satisfaction with the results vary. Studies show between 50-80% of men are happy with the outcome of using this type of device.
A penile implant is a device that is surgically placed into the genitals that can be semi-rigid or adjustable for hardening. These devices are quite invasive and are only used in patients who cannot use other treatments, leaving them as the only option for treating erectile dysfunction.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Erectile Dysfunction
The best treatments for erectile dysfunction are not always drugs, lifestyle changes can sometimes yield the best results. While some may be hard to implement, making them can sometimes have a profound effect on your sex life. Factors that can affect erectile dysfunction include alcohol, smoking, weight and stress. Addressing these factors can not only positively affect your ED issues but also help address other health conditions, such as obesity.
Reducing alcohol and illicit drug intake may positively affect your ability to achieve an erection. Both can interrupt arousal signals from the brain to the body resulting in ED. Talk to your doctor for more ways to decrease consumption of these substances if you believe they may be affecting your sexual health.
Smoking can result in damage to your blood vessels. The resulting poor blood supply to the penis can cause erectile dysfunction. Stopping smoking improves vascular health which often results in improved sexual performance.
Addressing eating habits can also impact your impotence issues. Obese men are approximately 2.5 times more likely to suffer from ED than men who have a normal BMI. Not only will losing weight potentially help your ED, but also reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease.
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, result in the strengthening of the muscles around the penis. Strengthening muscles around the penis can improve blood flow which improves erectile function.
Finally, stress has been shown to also impact a man’s ability to achieve an erection. This can be both general stress levels, and anxiety specifically associated with sexual performance. Addressing your stress levels directly, or with the help of a psychologist, can be massively impactful for both ED and your overall health.