Understanding Treatment Options
There are many kinds of treatment options for erectile dysfunction, including both medical and natural options to choose from. A treatment plan should always be put together and approved by your doctor. What works for one person may not work for another, so treatment for erectile dysfunction will vary between individuals. A good option is Viagra, a medication used primarily to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Its active ingredient, sildenafil, works by increasing blood flow to the penis, which helps men achieve and maintain erections.
6 Treatment Options For ED
1. Natural Treatment Options
Natural treatment options for erectile dysfunction include making lifestyle changes:
- Smoking decreases the production of nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes the blood vessels in the penis to increase blood flow and promote an erection.
- Alcohol can increase the risk for erectile dysfunction because alcohol can cause dehydration and decreased blood volume.
- Illegal drug use can also lead to erectile dysfunction since these substances can lead to decreased sexual desire and increased delay in ejaculation. Avoiding these can help a person experiencing erectile dysfunction.
- Obesity is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes which are causes of erectile dysfunction. Keeping a fit body and having a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help a person with erectile dysfunction.
2. Medical Treatment Option
The most common medical treatment option is oral PDE-5 inhibitors. These include medications such as Sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra), vardenafil, tadalafil and avanafil.
These inhibit Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) which is an enzyme in the walls of the penile blood vessels, causing the blood vessel walls to relax and promote blood flow. PDE-5 inhibitors also increase the amount of pro-erection chemicals. These medications are generally safe and are the first recommended treatment for men showing signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
However, these medications do not work by themselves, they still need mental or physical stimulation to be effective. They must not be taken with alcohol, grapefruit drinks or other erectile dysfunction medications.
3. Medical Procedures
There are various medical procedures available for a person with erectile dysfunction. These may be helpful especially if oral first-line treatment is not effective.
One common medical procedure includes the P-shot (priapus Shot), wherein platelet-rich plasma which is filled with growth factors and proteins is injected into the penis. This promotes tissue growth in the penile area which can lead to better erections.
It is a quick procedure and patients can already resume sexual activity hours after the procedure. Significant results are usually observed within two to six weeks but can last for up to two years.
Bleeding, bruising and swelling may occur after the procedure but is often minimal. Because it is relatively invasive and involves penetration of the skin barrier, infections can also be a side effect, although very rare.
5. Shockwave Therapy
A non-invasive treatment option available is low-intensity shockwave therapy (LIST) which delivers pulse waves to the penis. This helps to stimulate repair mechanisms in the blood vessel walls, promoting cellular regeneration.
Unlike the p-shot wherein a platelet-rich plasma is injected, this procedure promotes platelet activation from within the body. Like the P-shot, patients undergoing this procedure can resume sexual activity hours after. This can also be used with a P-shot. However, this is not for patients who are taking NSAIDs such as aspirin or blood thinners such as Coumadin.
6. Penile Implant Surgery
Penile implant surgery is a procedure that involves the placement of implants (a fluid-filled reservoir under the abdominal wall and inflatable cylinders inside the penis) leading to the contraction of the penis.
This is a more invasive procedure and unlike the p-shot, recovery time is longer as implants can be used as early as four weeks after surgery. Although the procedure has low failure rates, not everybody can be a candidate for this procedure. This is usually a last resort treatment option as there are more risks involved.
Viagra for ED
Viagra is a medication used primarily to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Its active ingredient, sildenafil, works by increasing blood flow to the penis, which helps men achieve and maintain erections. It was first approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 1998 and has since become one of the most well-known and widely used treatments for ED. Viagra is typically taken orally, usually about 30 minutes to an hour before sexual activity, and its effects can last for up to four hours.
What Exactly is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the medical term for impotence. In males, this is when there is difficulty in having or maintaining an erection. Males as young as 20 have been documented to experience it, but increasing age is a factor in the occurrence of the condition. The condition is also high in men with hypertension, diabetes, or a history of cardiovascular disease.
Erectile dysfunction occurs due to:
- A dysfunction in the blood vessels in the penis. These blood vessels are responsible for increasing blood flow, making the genitals firm for sexual intercourse. However, due to problems in the blood vessels, blood flow is compromised and the result is the inability to get or maintain an erection.
- The most common cause of erectile dysfunction in older men is arteriosclerosis, wherein the arteries in the penis become thick and stiff. This causes restricted blood flow to the penis.
- Other causes include trauma to the arteries, neurologic conditions (spinal cord injury or Parkinson’s disease), or hormonal problems.
What are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is not just the inability to have an erection. Men may experience an erection, but not consistently. Men may also experience an erection, but not maintain it during intercourse or not be hard enough to penetrate during sexual activity.
These all warrant an evaluation by a urologist. Blood and urine tests are also done to identify any contributing factors for erectile dysfunction.
Seeking Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Someone experiencing erectile dysfunction may feel disconcerted and this can impact their daily life and relationships with people. They might be afraid to talk about their condition. However, there are many treatment options available now so that the quality of their life and their relationships can be significantly improved.
Whatever treatment option you prefer, you must talk to your doctor first. Consult your physician if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
- National Library of Medicine (Sexual dysfunction in men who abuse illicit drugs: a preliminary report)
- National Library of Medicine (Penile Prosthesis Implantation)
- Harvard Health Publishing (5 natural ways to overcome erectile dysfunction)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction)
- The American Journal of Medicine (Prevalence and Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction in the US)