5 Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

When you are dealing with erectile dysfunction, it may feel like this is life now and there’s nothing you can do about it. But the truth is that there are many different treatment options for erectile dysfunction depending on the nature of the dysfunction and the underlying cause. You should never feel out of hope, even if times seem tough. The most important thing is to seek out help and not let shame get in the way of getting your life back. Here we lay out for you a few common treatment options, but you should know that doctors trained in this area are quite good at coming up with individualized plans that may include some or none of the treatments we lay out to you now.

1. Medication

The most widely-known treatment for erectile dysfunction is medication, usually in pill form. You have likely seen numerous commercials and ads over the years for medicines like Viagra (Sildenafil), Levitra (Vardenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), and others. Oral medications are a relatively easy and simple treatment plan, but they come with a lot of side effects and they don’t always work the way you want them to. 

Speaking of working, just how do these medications work, anyway?

Part of achieving an erection involves the release of a chemical called nitrous oxide, which serves to relax the penile muscles so that increased blood can flow in the area. All the various ED oral medications boost the effects of the nitrous oxide in order to allow for more blood flow and, ultimately, an erection to occur.

Medications may take time and several doses before they start working, and you may need your dose adjusted a few times before you find the one that works best. Additionally, some medications are not safe to take in conjunction with other medications you may already be taking, or if you have other conditions, such as heart disease–a condition that is not uncommon together with erectile dysfunction.

Other medications include injections or suppositories, which can be painful and cause irritation.

2. Pumps

For those who are not being helped by medication, a penis pump is a physical treatment that uses suction to bring blood flow to the penile area and cause an erection. You then place a tension ring around the penis to keep the erection, which may not last very long, but usually lasts long enough. Ejaculation may be inhibited by the tension ring, which is removed after intercourse. The pump may cause bruising. This kind of treatment will help you have sex, but it will not do anything to reverse your erectile dysfunction.

3. Implants

Those with Peyronie’s disease or who have not had success with other kinds of treatment may be candidates for penile implants. Implants involve placing flexible rods in both sides of the penis. Inflatable mechanisms are sometimes used in place of the rods. Implants are the most invasive option and come with the usual risks of surgery.

4. Hormone Therapy

For some men, their erectile dysfunction stems from a hormonal imbalance–namely, low testosterone. These men can use injections, patches, or gels of testosterone replacement in order to increase their sex drive and ability to have an erection. Hormone therapy should not be taken lightly and there are many, sometimes serious, side effects. Your doctor will help you decide if this is the right treatment path for you.

5. Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy, otherwise known as acoustic wave therapy (AWT) is a newer form of ED treatment that works to break up the plaque in your blood vessels in the penile area and triggers new blood vessel growth to increase blood flow. The way it works is that a cooling gel is applied on the penis and then a wand is guided along the area, sending out acoustic waves. The procedure is not painful and at most feels like a tingling sensation. It’s a great option for those who don’t want to deal with the side effects and cost of medication or the invasiveness and discomfort of surgery. Shockwave therapy also works to treat some of the underlying cause of ED by breaking up the plaque in the blood vessels that was preventing adequate blood flow from happening.

Treatments Are Individual

Not every erectile dysfunction treatment is appropriate for every patient. Clinics like Apex Health Center will work with you to make sure you are getting the proper treatment for your individual case of erectile dysfunction. In addition to treating your ED, it is important that you treat the root cause of your ED, whether it is hormonal, a heart condition, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, or any other underlying reason. Treating the root cause in combination with treating your ED will help you get to your best health.

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