Pill-Free Treatment Options for Individuals with ED

January 11,2023 |
Man shaking hands with his urologist.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that’s characterized by the inability to either get or maintain an erection long enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Although it’s often considered a taboo subject, close to 33% of men will experience it at some point in their life. Something that’s not spoken about as much is the fact that erectile dysfunction can be treated, without the use of Viagra, and even reversed. It’s not necessarily a permanent condition that you’ll need to endure the rest of your life. On the contrary, ED can happen for a variety of reasons. To better understand your options, here are some ways to treat erectile dysfunction without the use of pills.


Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Before exploring treatment options, it’s important to understand a few of the things that could result in ED. Sexual arousal is a complicated process that requires several of your body parts to function in sync. It involves a mixture of emotions, nerves, hormones, neural connections, blood vessels, and muscles. When even just one of these things are out of tune with the rest, erectile dysfunction can occur. This means that ED can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include the following:


As you can see, there are several reasons (both physical and mental) that someone might experience erectile dysfunction. If you notice any signs or symptoms, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. There are several treatment options available to help.


Risks Associated with Treating ED Using Pills

Viagra (sildenafil) has been one of the main treatment options for erectile dysfunction since 1998, when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It aids in the blood flow to your penis by causing the vessels to relax. Viagra requires a prescription to obtain, which has caused many individuals to seek over-the-counter alternatives. The issue is that many of these aren’t evaluated by the FDA and may have several hidden ingredients that lead to dangerous side effects. Similarly, if Viagra is taken too often, it may cause an increase in risk of side effects. Although it’s okay to take as needed, it’s in good practice to try some pill-free treatment options for ED as well.


How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction Without Viagra

There’s a wide misconception that erectile dysfunction can only be treated using Viagra, but that’s far from the truth. There are several ways that you can treat ED without using Viagra or other types of unregulated, over the counter supplements or medications. Treating underlying conditions is one of the most important steps on the path towards treating your ED. However, if you’re still struggling to get or maintain an erection, talk to your doctor about some of the most effective pill-free treatment options below.

1. Urethral Suppositories

Urethral suppositories are drugs (alprostadil a.k.a. prostaglandin E1) that are inserted into the urethral opening of the penis. They work by increasing blood flow to the area so that you can achieve and maintain an erection for sexual intercourse.

Many men are hesitant to try this option as it may sound painful at first. However, urethral suppositories are very small—close to the size of a grain of rice—and therefore completely painless to use. After insertion, they take about five to 10 minutes to begin working. Although some men find them effective, they may not work for individuals experiencing more serious cases of erectile dysfunction.

Your doctor will provide you with more information on this treatment option, but some men do experience a burning sensation when the drug begins to produce effects. This can vary from man to man, but if you experience high degrees of pain, it may not be the right treatment option for you.

2. Penile Injections

Penile injections can also be used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. This involves the same class of drug as suppositories, but instead of inserting them into the urethra, you self-administer a small injection near the base of the penis. Again, this is not as painful as it sounds. The needle is very thin and usually produces minimal discomfort. Injections may also cause a slight burning sensation due to the type of drug and how it’s activated, but this is normal.

There are also options for combination injections, which mixes alprostadil with other drugs. By opting for either a two-drug combo or three-drug combo, the amount of alprostadil is lowered. This, in turn, reduces the burning side effect. With repeated use, these sensations will also decrease.

You may want to start with alprostadil to see how it affects you, as drug mixtures may be more difficult and costly to obtain. Injections also carry the highest risk of priapism, which is rigidity that lasts four hours or longer. If this occurs, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.

3. Vacuum Erection Device (VED)

Another effective option for treating erectile dysfunction is through the use of a vacuum erection device (VED). This device works by drawing the blood into the penis using air suction. The VED itself is about 12 to 18 inches long and formed as a cylindrical tube. To use it, you place the tube over the penis and begin to pump it using the small hand pump that’s connected via an air hose. The pump is usually comparable to a blood pressure monitor machine and can be activated with minimal effort.

Around 90% of men who use a VED to treat erectile dysfunction are able to produce erections after pumping. However, this option tends to take out the spontaneity involved in intercourse and some men find it a little too cumbersome for their needs. Although it’s usually abandoned in favor of other options, it’s a good thing to have just in case.

If you plan to use a VED, always talk to your doctor first. There are prescription models that are deemed safe and built for treating ED, while the ones that you find in sex shops or other stores have not been evaluated for medical use and safety. Your doctor will provide you with instructions for how to use a VED without causing any risk of damage.

4. Penile Implanted Prostheses

For men that want to completely eliminate the risk of erectile dysfunction without any injections, suppositories, or cumbersome pre-sex warmups, penile implanted prostheses are the best option. During this procedure, a water-based device is placed into the erection chambers of the penis. This allows you to control when you get an erection and how long it lasts. You can activate the prosthetic via a discrete push button/switch that’s implanted in the scrotum. This is subdermal, so it’s not visible to the naked eye. An erection is released by pressing the deflate button.

This is an extremely reliable option for treating erectile dysfunction and completely discrete. No one can tell that you have one and there is no risk of the button being switched off on accident during sexual intercourse.

With that being said, it is still considered a surgical procedure that carries its own unique risks. There’s a risk of infection, albeit small, and you may notice a slight decrease in penile length that occurs with a natural erection. Finally, once you undergo this procedure, you will be unable to experience a natural erection.

When treating erectile dysfunction using any type of external device or medication, always talk to your doctor to better understand the side effects and risks that follow. Since one of the primary risks of ED treatment is priapism, talk to your doctor about what to do in case of an elongated erection. Always call your doctor or go to an emergency room if your erection lasts 4 hours or longer.

Even pill-free treatment options for erectile dysfunction come with risks, so avoid bypassing a medical opinion for a trick or tool you found online. 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.