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What Are the Different Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?

Treatments for impotence include psychotherapy, medications and lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle factors, such as heavy smoking and drinking, can contribute to erectile dysfunction in young men.
Some men may choose to have surgical penile implants to treat erectile dysfunction.
Determining erectile dysfunction's cause can help point to the right treatment.
Article Details
  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Before beginning any treatments for erectile dysfunction, it is generally a good idea to determine the cause of the dysfunction. Sometimes the condition is temporary, and may be caused by stress or worry. In other cases, there could be an underlying health issue causing the problem. These situations could require aggressive treatments, which could include drug therapy, counseling, and surgery. Surgery is sometimes indicated if there is a problem with blood flow to the penis.

Often, failure to achieve erection is due to constricted penile muscles, and in these cases, drug therapy is often suggested. The most commonly prescribed medications are vardenafil and sildenafil. Both of these drugs attempt to increase the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical in the body that helps relax muscles. These drugs should ideally be used with a doctor’s supervision.

There are some serious side effects associated with drugs that are used as treatments for erectile dysfunction. These muscle relaxers can have dangerous interaction with other drugs, particularly those used to treat angina and high blood pressure. In addition, they could be dangerous for men with diabetes or who have suffered a stroke.

Some men choose to have surgical penile implants. There are generally two main types of implants: those that require a pump to achieve erection and those that keep the penis in a semi-erect condition. Pump enhanced treatments for erectile dysfunction allow for more control over timing and duration of an erection, but some men find them awkward to operate and use. The idea behind implants that keep the penis semi-erect is that is takes less blood flow to achieve full erection and does not require a pump.

Another type of pump that sometimes helps men achieve erection is a manual exterior device. A small vacuum is placed over the penis and pumped until the penis is erect. The erection occurs because the pump pulls blood into the penis. A ring is placed at the base of the penis to keep it erect. This type of treatment is less invasive than surgery, but the pumps can be awkward to use, and some men feel that this treatment takes away some of the spontaneity of a sexual encounter.

Treatments for erectile dysfunction can also include hormone therapy and penile injections. Hormone therapy is typically prescribed for men whose dysfunction is the result of low production of testosterone. Penile injections generally involve the injection of a drug called phentolamine. These injections can be self-administered and usually take about 20 minutes to achieve results.

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