Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Several treatment options are available to help ED. Sometimes, resolving underlying medical conditions will also improve your ED symptoms.
There are several types of ED medications, including:
Oral drugs Popular medicines like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and avanafil (Stendra) work by boosting the effects of nitric oxide — a chemical that relaxes muscles in the penis.
Note that drugs in this class (PDE-5 inhibitors) are contraindicated in patients who take nitrates in any form because the combination can lead to severe hypotension.
Some medicines can be injected or placed inside the penis to help create an erection.
Testosterone Your doctor may recommend that you take this hormone if your levels are low.
Devices and Surgery
Your healthcare provider may recommend a vacuum device, also called a “penis pump,” to help you get an erection. The pump helps pull blood into your penis, so you can achieve an erection that lasts long enough for sexual intercourse. It’s paired with an elastic ring that helps you maintain an erection.
Surgery is also an option for some men with ED. During this procedure, doctors place penile implants in the penis. There are different types of procedures, depending on your goals and preferences.
Counseling and Therapy
Often, men with ED benefit from talking to a therapist, especially if they suffer from depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. If relationship problems are a factor, couples therapy may be useful.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Many supplements and alternative therapies are marketed to help men with ED. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that these products may contain potentially harmful drugs, contaminated formulations, or unknown dosages of pharmacologically active medications. They can also interact with other medications you take.
Always talk to your doctor before trying any supplement for ED.
Other alternative therapies that may help reduce stress, and in turn, ease ED symptoms, include:
Learn More About Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction: Medication, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Surgery Options, and More
Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction
Certain measures can help you lower your risk of ED. These include:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stop smoking
- Lose excess weight
- Exercise daily
- Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Get help for alcohol or drug addiction problems
- Learn about the side effects of medicines you take
- Consider couples counseling if you and your partner are having trouble communicating