erectile dysfunction

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile Dysfunction, commonly known as ED or impotence, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED is most prevalent in older men over the age of 50, but can also affect younger men that are 40 or under. Although it can be caused psychologically (i.e. depression, anxiety, stress, etc.) ED is usually the result of an underlying medical condition affecting the blood vessels or nerve supply to the penis. Some of these medical conditions include; diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, just to name a few. This condition can have devastating effects on a man’s self-esteem, along with their partners. If you’re suffering with ED you’re not alone; approximately, 30 million men are affected. Thankfully, there are several treatment options available.

Don’t Let Erectile Dysfunction Get You Down: Treatment Options for ED

The first thing your doctor will do is make sure you are receiving the right treatment for any health conditions that may potentially be causing or worsening your erectile dysfunction. Depending on the cause and severity of your ED as well as any underlying health conditions you may have, various treatment options may be available to you. Treatment options may include oral medications, penile self-injections, suppositories, testosterone replacement, vacuum erection devices, tension rings, and surgical solutions (prostheses).

Oral Medications for ED

For many men, oral medications are an effective way to treat Erectile Dysfunction. The four most popular types of oral medications on the market are Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Adcirca or Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra or Staxyn), and Avanafil (Stendra). All four medications vary in dosage, side effects, and the duration of time they’re effective. These medications work by reducing your body’s natural levels of nitric oxide – a chemical produced in the body that relaxes the muscles in the penis. Thus, increasing blood flow in the body, enabling you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation. It’s important to note, taking one of these tablets will not automatically cause an erection, instead sexual stimulation is needed first to release nitric oxide from the penile nerves. Your doctor will suggest which medication is best for you based on your individual situation.

Other (Non-Oral Therapies) for ED

If oral medications are not working for you, other therapy options exist:

  • Penile self-injection: Using this method, you use a small, fine needle to inject vasodilating agents (single agent/Trimix/Quadmix) into the base or side of your penis. Due to the needle being so fine, pain at the injection site is generally minor. Each injection dose typically lasts no more than an hour. Sometimes these injections are used in combination with other medications.
  • Alprostadil urethral suppository: This method, also known as intraurethral vasodilation therapy (MUSE) involves inserting a very small alprostadil suppository into the penile urethra inside your penis using a special applicator. The suppository takes approximately 10 minutes to take effect, but may last between 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Testosterone replacement: Testosterone replacement may be a treatment option for you if you are suffering with ED because of Low T (Testosterone) as Low T can cause ED. This treatment option is generally used in combination with other therapies.
  • Vacuum erection device: This device consists of a hallow tube and a battery-operated pump. The tube is placed over your penis, and then the pump is turned on to suck the air out of the tube. This creates a “vacuum effect” and pulls blood flow to the penis, causing an erection. At this point, the vacuum can be removed. Once an erection is achieved, a tension ring is placed around the base of the penis to keep it firm. The ring is removed after intercourse.
  • Tension ring in conjunction with medication: A tension ring, as previously discussed, may be used on its own or in combination with an oral medication.

Surgical Solutions for ED

If none of the previous non-surgical options are effective, there are 2 types of penile prosthesis available to consider. These 2 types of prosthesis are semi-rigid prosthesis and inflatable penile prosthesis.

  • Semi-rigid penile prosthesisinvolves a doctor inserting 2 self-contained malleable rods into the penis. When you’re not engaged in sexual activity, the prosthesis can be placed in a down position along the inner thigh. Conversely, when you’re engaged in sexual activity, the prosthesis can be bent into an erect position to enable sexual intercourse.
  • Inflatable penile prosthesiscan be inflated to create an erection and deflated at other times. The basic component of any inflatable penile prosthesis is a reservoir, which holds fluid that provides an erection when moved into the penile cylinders as well as a control pump, which directs the fluid between the reservoir and cylinders. When not in an erect state, much of the fluid is contained in the reservoir. When you’re engaged in sexual activity, you press on the control pump several times to move the fluid from the reservoir toward the cylinders that are implanted into the corpus cavernosum.

Patient should be carefully counseled on prothesis options as the risks associated include mechanical failure and infection.

If you believe you are suffering from ED and want to learn more about the condition and treatment options, please learn more here or contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tay. For convenience to our patients, we have two office locations; one in Glendale, AZ and another in Phoenix, AZ.