How is Erectile Dysfunction treated?
There are several different treatments for ED including oral medications, injections, creams, lifestyle changes, and counselling. The right treatment for you will depend on what’s causing your erectile dysfunction.
Can Erectile Dysfunction be treated?
Yes. The good news is that ED can be treated. Your GP will recommend the best treatment for you. If one treatment doesn’t work, your GP may want to try another treatment option.
Can Erectile Dysfunction be cured?
Whether or not your ED can be cured permanently depends on the cause. When there is a physical cause and a lack of blood supply to the penis is the cause of your ED, stopping smoking, lowering blood pressure, or losing weight may be enough to reverse ED permanently. If your ED is psychological, getting treatment for depression or talking to a counsellor or sex therapist can help make your ED a thing of the past.
When should I talk to a doctor about my Erectile Dysfunction?
You should talk to your doctor if you have been experiencing ED for several weeks, even if it's not every time you want to have sex, it's best to make an appointment with your GP.
Erectile Dysfunction treatments
There are many treatments for ED ranging from lifestyle changes and counselling to medications and medical devices. Your doctor will discuss which treatment options are right for you.
Erectile Dysfunction Tablets
The most common erectile dysfunction tablets are:
Erectile dysfunction tablets are a type of medication called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, more commonly known as PDE-5 inhibitors. These tablets work by causing the muscles in the penis to relax and increasing the blood flow to the area, which helps you to get and keep an erection.
Erectile dysfunction tablets will not cause you to get an erection automatically. Instead, they help you to get an erection when you are sexually stimulated. If you are not aroused, you won’t get an erection even if you take these medications.
Though all erectile dysfunction tablets work in similar ways, there are some differences between these medications such as how long they take to work, how long the effects last, and how often you need to take them. Some men may find that certain tablets work better than others for them, so you may want to try other options if the tablets you take don’t have the desired effect. Your doctor will help you decide which erectile dysfunction table is right for you.
Erectile Dysfunction Creams
Alprostadil (Vitaros) is a synthetic version of the hormone prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and works by dilating (widening) blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the penis, allowing an erection to occur. It is available as a cream that is applied to the tip of the penis, an injection to the base of the penis, or a small pellet inserted into the tube (urethra) inside the penis.
Alprostadil normally starts working within five to twenty minutes and lasts for one to two hours depending on the dose. On the downside, Alprostadil can cause prolonged and painful erections as a side effect. It is normally used when other treatments like oral medications haven’t worked.
Medical devices for erectile dysfunction
Penis pumps, also known as vacuum pumps or vacuum erection devices consist of a tube that fits over the penis, a hand or battery-operated pump, and a ring that fits over the base of the penis to constrict blood flow and maintain the erection. Penis pumps are effective at helping you achieve and maintain an erection long enough to have sex. They may be a good choice if other treatment methods haven’t worked or have caused unpleasant side effects.
In addition to medical treatments, changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference in preventing or reducing your ED.
Being overweight is a significant factor in the development of ED and 79% of men with ED have a BMI of 25 or above. Being overweight can contribute to ED in a variety of ways including damaging blood vessels, lowering testosterone levels, and increasing the likelihood of conditions such as high blood pressure. If you are overweight, losing weight can often reduce the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
Smoking causes damage to the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the penis, and is another major lifestyle factor in the development of ED. Stopping smoking, especially before middle age, can reverse this damage and improve your ability to get and keep an erection.
Many men find it difficult to get or keep an erection after drinking alcohol. This is because alcohol interferes with the signals in the brain that lead to an erection. Excessive drinking over time can also lower your testosterone levels, reduce your sex drive, and make it more difficult for you to ejaculate. Stick to the recommended limits of alcohol consumption, and if alcohol affects your ability to get or keep an erection, try to drink less before engaging in sexual activity.
Exercise is vital for all aspects of health, and sexual health is no different. Lack of physical activity is linked to many health issues including obesity, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome. One study showed that 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise four times a week over six months resulted in a decrease in erectile problems in men with obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure.
Sometimes ED doesn’t have a physical cause but is a result of psychological issues including:
- low self-esteem
- nervousness about sexual performance
- relationship issues
Your GP will ask you some questions to try and determine whether the cause of your ED is physical or psychological. If the cause is likely to be psychological, sexual health therapy can help. This is often more effective when your partner participates in the therapy too.
Supplements and natural alternatives
There are many supplements and natural alternatives claiming to cure ED. In reality, these claims are often unproven, untested, and untrue. At best, spending your money on “herbal Viagra” may leave you out of pocket, but at worst it can interfere with your other medications, or make your ED worse. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking any medications for your ED, including herbal supplements or those bought online or over the counter.