9 Treatment Options for Men with Erectile Dysfunction

June 02,2021 |
Man talking to his doctor.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual dysfunction where the risk increases with age. It’s characterized by the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to engage in sexual intercourse. ED is different from the occasional inability to engage in sex—it’s progressive and happens regularly. There are many things that can cause erectile dysfunction and thankfully, there are also many options for treatment. If you’re experiencing trouble and suspect you may have ED, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. Being open and honest is the best way to make sure that you address the underlying problem and restore your sexual functioning. Here, we’ll discuss 9 variable treatment options for men with erectile dysfunction.

Recognizing and Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

As mentioned, erectile dysfunction is more than the occasional inability to maintain an erection. It occurs regularly and is often paired with a reduced libido. ED can happen due to limitation to blood flow, nerve damage, emotional stress, or as a sign of an underlying condition. Due to the risk of an underlying condition causing ED, getting a diagnosis is essential to maintaining your long-term health. While talking about sexual dysfunctions can be difficult, you’re not alone. Erectile dysfunction affects one in three men, with some statistics stating that 76.5% of men will experience it at least once in their life.

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction involves a set of questions, physical exams, and lab tests. Working with a urologist will allow you to better understand anything that could be contributing to the problem, making treatment easier and more effective. If you notice any signs of scarring or curving, talk to your doctor about your risk for Peyronie’s disease. With the proper diagnosis, you can begin trying different treatment options and restoring sexual function.

8 Ways to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Luckily, there are a variety of different treatment options for men with erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will likely recommend trying the least invasive options first, such as lifestyle changes and counseling. If those don’t work, there are plenty of other things you can try. Since stress can exasperate ED, try to remain calm as you work through the list.

  1. Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

    Sometimes, all it takes to treat erectile dysfunction are healthy lifestyle changes. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking, taking illegal drugs, and living a sedentary lifestyle can increase impotence in both short and long-term scenarios. Make sure that you’re honest with your doctor or urologist about any vices to better treat erectile dysfunction without drugs or medications that could lead to unnecessary side effects. Focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods and schedule time to get adequate amounts of exercise throughout the week.

  2. Enroll in Counseling

    Two of the main causes of erectile dysfunction are emotional or psychological issues. Anxiety and stress disrupt your body’s natural hormone cycle and create sexual dysfunction. If you’re struggling with controlling your emotional stress, try seeing a counselor. Doing so can help you treat erectile dysfunction without the use of any medications, and you may find that your sex life improves to be significantly better than before the ED began.

  3. Consider Current Medication Intake

    If you’re currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, talk to your doctor about how they could be contributing to your erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, many medications do have side effects and they tend to affect everyone differently. If you notice signs or symptoms of erectile dysfunction shortly after starting a new medication or changing dosages, call your doctor. There is often a viable alternative that will still be effective in its purpose without causing erectile dysfunction on the side.

  4. Vacuum Devices (Penis Pumps)

    There is a negative stigma associated with penis pumps, but they can be effective in treating erectile dysfunction. Penis pumps are hollow tubes that can be either hand or battery powered. The hollow tube is placed over the shaft and a pump sucks the air inside the tube, which creates a vacuum that helps draw blood into your penis. Once you achieve an erection with a penis pump, you’ll need to put a tension ring in place to hold the blood in the shaft and therefore, maintain the erection. After the tension ring is in place, you can remove the vacuum device and engage in sexual intercourse. Some people don’t like the side effects involved, including bruising, restricted ejaculation, and a cold feeling, so talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have with this treatment option.

  5. Oral Medication Options

    There are several oral medications that can be used to treat the syptoms of erectile dysfunction. Some of the most popular include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and avanafil (Stendra). These oral medications help to enhance the effects of nitric oxide, which is a natural chemical in your body that plays a role in getting an erection. This means that taking one of the pills will not lead to an automatic erection. Instead, it primes your body to react naturally to sexual stimulation as nitric oxide is released. Taking oral medication for erectile dysfunction when you have no erectile impairment will not cause arousal, but it can be dangerous and lead to priapism. Your prescription for oral medications will depend on your situation and you’ll likely need to spend some time adjusting dosage before you experience results.

  6. Natural Remedies

    In addition to the above, there are some natural remedies that have shown promising results at treating erectile dysfunction. Some of these remedies include panax ginseng, rhodiola rosea, DHEA, L-arginine, acupuncture, yohimbe, and more. If you’re considering trying any natural remedies, always talk to your doctor first. This is especially important if you are taking any other medications and experiencing symptoms of another underlying disease. If ED is caused by something else, masking the symptoms could lead to serious complications.

  7. Injectable Medications

    If you don’t want to take oral medications, talk to your doctor about injectable medicine options. The drug alprostadil is injected into the penis, which causes it to become filled with blood. This triggers an automatic erection, which is different than how oral medications work. If you have trouble with needles or think that you may feel uncomfortable with injecting medicine into your own penis, you’ll want to utilize another treatment option.

  8. Suppository Treatment

    Luckily, injectable medications aren’t your last resort. You can achieve the same result by inserting an alprostadil suppository into the urethra prior to engaging in sexual intercourse. The reaction is the same as with injectables, but the suppository will dissolve in the urethra and enter the blood stream. You’ll receive both the medication and an applicator, which often come prefilled for convenience. To achieve the desired result, you’ll need to insert the alprostadil pellet about an inch into your urethra and remove the applicator. After about 8 to 10 minutes, you’ll begin to get an erection that can last between 30 and 60 minutes.

  9. Surgical Options

If all else fails, there are options for surgical treatment. However, as in any situation, surgery should be considered a last resort. Surgery carries unnecessary risk both during the procedure and after—especially for infection. Surgical treatment options include penile implants and artery reconstruction.

Penile implants, known as prostheses, are placed by a urologist within your penis so that you can manually achieve an erection and adjust the general positioning of your penis. Inflatable implants use a pump in the scrotum while malleable implants utilize adjustable rods. If you’re interested in penile implants, talk to your doctor about short and long-term risks.

Artery reconstruction is done to repair damaged arteries that are causing erectile dysfunction. This surgery allows urologists to remove any damaged vessels and blockages that are restricting or stopping the blood flow to the penis. This type of surgery is best reserved for younger men and the risks should be discussed in detail with your doctor prior to undergoing.

Understanding the Side Effects of Erectile Dysfunction Medicine

If you are going to treat erectile dysfunction using medication—oral medication, injectables, or suppository—make sure that you fully understand any side effects and risks. One of the primary risks of these treatment options includes priapism, which is a long-lasting erection that can be dangerous. To avoid complications, call your doctor or go to an emergency room if your erection lasts 4 hours or longer.

Each medication will come with its own risks, so always discuss these with your doctor prior to moving forward with treatment. To make sure that you’re taking the proper care of your urologic health, Byram Healthcare has a variety of products and resources to help.