Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence) (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- What is erectile dysfunction?
- What causes erectile dysfunction?
- What are the risk factors for erectile dysfunction?
- Can young men get erectile dysfunction?
- How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for erectile dysfunction?
- What is the prognosis for erectile dysfunction?
- Can erectile dysfunction be prevented?
- Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction, ED) FAQs
- Find a local Urologist in your town
What is the treatment for erectile dysfunction?
The treatment of erectile dysfunction depends upon the underlying cause and will be individualized by the health care professional for each patient.
If the underlying problem causing erectile dysfunction is due to low testosterone levels in the body, androgen (male hormone) replacement therapy may be indicated. These medications can be injected into a muscle, applied as a gel on the skin, or provided by a transdermal patch. Testosterone preparations taken by mouth tend not to work.
There is often a stepwise approach to treatment beginning with medications by mouth. Phosphodiesterase inhibitor medications include sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), tadalafil (Cialis), and avanafil (Stendra).
These medications are very effective at helping with erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will need to review your medical history and other medications you are taking to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Should these medications fail, penile injections with prostaglandins or the use of a pellet placed inside the urethra of the penis may be considered with or without the above mentioned medications by mouth.
Other therapies are available:
- Vacuum devices are used to draw blood into the penis. Then, a constricting ring placed at the base of the penis prevents the backflow of blood.
- Two surgery options are available. The first involves the placement of semirigid rods into the penis. These bendable rods allow for placement of the penis into a position appropriate for intercourse. The second implant is an inflatable device that helps control penis size and rigidity.
- Because erectile dysfunction is relatively common and because many patients show a reluctance to have frank discussions with their health care professional, many over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, and alternative therapies have been marketed directly to the consumer.
- Flaxseed, arginine, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and bioflavonoids are just some of the herbal medications recommended for erectile dysfunction. None are FDA approved nor are there medical studies demonstrating their effectiveness.
- DHEA may be effective for erectile dysfunction but it is not recommended for patients whose erectile dysfunction is associated with diabetes or other nerve disorders. Its safety for human use is not certain. Herbal remedies that suggest they increase testosterone levels in the body have not yet been proven to be effective.
- Acupuncture may be an alternative therapy that has been shown to benefit patients with erectile dysfunction.
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