Erectile Dysfunction Treatment: What Guys Need to Know

Dealing with ED? Consider these options with your doc.

Erectile dysfunction can cause stress or tension for you and your partner, but thankfully, a variety of treatment options are continuously emerging. Even better, these erectile dysfunction treatments are becoming more effective and easier for the patient.

In this video, internist Paul Knoepflmacher, MD, discusses the various choices for erectile dysfunction treatment, ranging from taking a pill to surgical options. You may need to experiment with a few options before you find the right treatment for you (but it will be worth the patience).

First of all, it’s important to recognize that certain lifestyle choices can prevent, reduce, or reverse ED. (Here are the lifestyle habits that can prevent erectile dysfunction.) Furthermore, it’s also key to understand that erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as heart disease. If you treat the underlying condition, ED symptoms can improve as well.

Medication may be the most well-known option for erectile dysfunction treatment. Medications for ED come in a few different forms. One type is a PDE-5 inhibitor, which works by relaxing muscles in the penis. This allows blood to flow in, creating an erection.

But here’s the thing: This erectile dysfunction pill allows an erection, not causes an erection. In other words, they work only when you are aroused. PDE-5 inhibitors work well, but you should not use them if you've had a recent heart attack or stroke, or use nitrate medications for heart problems.

The other medication for erectile dysfunction treatment simulates a natural hormone called prostaglandin E. This method also works by relaxing muscles in the penis, but that’s where the similarities between this and other ED treatments end. Instead of a pill, this can be given through an injection into the penis using a very thin needle (but docs swear it’s not too uncomfortable). This drug is also available in the form of a pellet that can be inserted into the penis with an applicator. And, unlike PDE-5 inhibitors, this ED medication automatically results in an erection, regardless of arousal.

Finally, hormone replacement therapy is another medication option that can help men who experience ED due to low levels of testosterone.

Beyond medication, a device known as an external vacuum is another erectile dysfunction treatment option. An external vacuum uses a cylinder placed around the penis and a pump to create a low-pressure vacuum, which triggers an erection.

There are also surgical options for more severe cases of erectile dysfunction. Vascular surgery can be performed when blood flow to the penis has been blocked due to injury. Another surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction is an implant. With this method, two inflatable balloons are implanted into the penis and connected to a pump and a reservoir. When inflated by the pump, fluid from the reservoir flows into the balloons and creates an erection. But take note: these implant operations cannot be reversed.

If you occasionally experience erectile dysfunction, don't assume it's permanent. It is also important to be open with your sexual partner if you think you have ED. There are many erectile dysfunction treatment options that can help you have a healthy sex life. Talk with your doctor to find one that works for you. Check out these tips to make talking about ED with your doctor a little easier).

Paul Knoepflmacher, MD

This video features Paul Knoepflmacher, MD. Dr. Knoepflmacher is a clinical instructor of medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he also maintains a private practice.

Duration: 3:55. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
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