Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is common and is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. Erectile dysfunction is strongly age-related and affects as many as 30 million American men. While there is an estimated prevalence of all ages of about 10%, the prevalence rises to over 50% in men between 50 and 70 years of age. While ED is common, only a small percentage of men ever discuss this problem with a physician.
It’s important to listen to men with ED and make them feel comfortable with what can be a troubling symptom for them. ED may also occur with cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, after pelvic surgery or trauma, with diabetes and as a consequence of certain medications used commonly. There are a number of treatments to treat ED including; hormone testing, non-invasive ultrasound measurement of blood flow, and trials of medicine and non-medicine treatments.
Here are some treatment options:
Changing Habits and Medications
Quitting smoking can be an important step in reducing the impact of impotence or eliminating it altogether. Small changes in prescription medication may also help improve erectile quality.
Irregular levels of sex hormones such as low levels of testosterone, excess prolactin, and excess estrogen cause some cases of ED. These conditions are usually treatable with excellent results.
This treatment involves the use of an external vacuum device and one or more tension rings. The device works by inserting the penis into a plastic cylinder, which is then pumped to create a controlled vacuum. Once an adequate erection is produced, a tension band is slipped around the base of the penis to maintain the erection: the vacuum device is then removed. The erection-like state generally lasts long enough for a couple to have intercourse.
One of the newest forms of treatment involves the self-injection of medication into the side of the penis. The relatively painless injection produces erections of good quality for about 70-80 percent of patients. There are several injectable medications that, when used alone, help increase blood flow to the penis which promotes an erection.
This treatment involves the surgical placement of a stationary or movable device into the two sides of the penis, allowing erections as often as desired. These implants come in two forms: an inflatable device and semi-rigid rods. This treatment is not recommended until other methods have been considered or tried first.
This treatment is usually reserved for those patients whose blood flow has been blocked by an injury to the penis or pelvic area. Surgery is also used to correct ED caused by vascular blockages. The goal of this treatment is to correct a blockage of blood flow to the penis so that erections will occur naturally.
The mainstay of therapy for erectile dysfunction has consisted of very safe medications called PDE5 inhibitors. These medications include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. They are all similar but there are some important differences between them. They are typically quite effective and can be given at the initial visit as samples.
Because ED can result from a combination of psychological and physical factors, counseling can lessen anxiety, which in turn may reduce the impact and duration of the condition. This therapy is often used in combination with other treatments directed by a physician.