Erectile dysfunction: Treatments that work wonders

If you suspect you have erectile dysfunction (ED), talk to your doctor. Your doctor will decide treatment options based on the cause and severity of your condition as well as your current state of health.

For some mild cases, simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, or quitting smoking can help treat ED successfully.

There are many other treatments including counselling, medication, pumps and various types of surgery.

Counselling

If some mental problems such as anxiety and stress are the causes of your ED, talking to a professional therapist can be a good option.

ED can be triggered by either life-changing problems or normal everyday stress. A licensed therapist can help you feel less sexual anxiety while at the same time, help boost your confidence.

It may take several sessions, and sometimes you may want to have your partner with you if doing so contributes in a positive way to your treatment.

Medications

Treatment for ED can include oral medication, drugs inserted into the tip of the penis, and injections directly into the penis.

Some pills that doctors prescribe to patients with ED are Avanafil (Stendra), Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis) and Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn).

While Staxyn dissolves in the mouth, the others are swallowed.

These pills should be taken from 15 minutes to 36 hours before sexual intercourse. And, it is advisable not to take them more than once a day.

Headaches, stuffy nose and muscle aches are some common side effects of these medications. A few can suffer from temporary blue-green shading of the vision.

Tell your doctor about all medications you’re currently taking and seek medical help if your erection lasts more than four hours.

In case the pills don’t work or worse, endangers your health, a drug called alprostadil may be prescribed for you.

This drug can promote blood flow to the penis, causing it to erect within minutes. It can be administered by injection to the side of your penis and suppositories with pellets placed inside the penis.

The injection however, can cause a higher risk of dangerously prolonged erections as well as scarring.

Many over-the-counter products may contain dangerous or undeclared ingredients. Beware of the medications you consume and always follow your doctor’s orders.

Vacuum devices

A vacuum erection device treats ED by boosting blood flow to the penis. It is made of three parts:

• A transparent, plastic tube that covers the penis.

• A pump operated by hand or battery, which sucks air out of the cylinder, making blood flow to the penis.

• An elastic ring placed around the base of the penis after an erection. This prevents blood from draining out of the penis, so the erection can be maintained. This may be helpful for Venous Leak Syndrome.

With proper use, 80% of men can get an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse to take place. Vacuum devices are normally used for penis rehabilitation, usually after prostate surgery.

To restore normal blood flow to the penis, your doctor will put you on a regimen which will allow you to get a spontaneous erection. You may need several months to see results.

The elastic ring in the device may cause some reactions such as skin irritation, bruising, loss of feeling or sensitivity, or pain.

Vacuum devices can be used with or without a prescription. However, it is advisable to ask your doctor before getting one.

Surgery

Surgery may be recommended when other types of treatments have failed.

The operations are:

• Placement of an implant in the penis: There are two types including malleable implants and inflatable implants.

• Vascular reconstruction surgery: This treatment removes blood vessel blockage to boost blood flow or blocks veins to reduce blood leakage from the penis and surrounding structures.

Some infections may occur when you opt for this implant. Should you have a urinary tract infection, skin infection, or systemic (body-wide) infection, it is advisable not to take one.

For vascular reconstruction surgery, blood vessel repair only works in men with a small blockage. It’s a good option for men with more widespread blockages.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.