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What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for satisfying sexual activity in men.

Did you know that erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual problems for men? In fact, it affects about 15 to 30 million American men. While it typically affects older men over the ages of 40 or 50, younger men can also be affected by erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

While ED affects everyone differently, you may have ED if you have experienced the following symptoms on more than one occasion. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:

  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Lower sex drive
  • Peyronie’s disease, or the curvature of the penis during erection
  • Premature and/or delayed ejaculation

If you’ve experienced one or more of these symptoms consistently, it’s possible you could have erectile dysfunction. It’s important to consult a urologist for a proper diagnosis.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

  • Psychological problems
  • Aging (natural drop in hormone activity)
  • Stress
  • Prescription medications
  • Minor illnesses
  • Illegal drug use
  • Serious or chronic conditions

A more common cause for erectile dysfunction involves blood flow. Atherosclerosis is a common blood flow problem that involves the narrowing or clogging of arteries in the penis, preventing the necessary blood flow to the penis to produce an erection.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Atherosclerosis, you may be more likely to experience ED. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you think you might be experiencing any erectile dysfunction symptoms.

Common Treatment Options

1. Oral medication

When diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, the first suggested treatment is commonly in pill form. Common oral treatments include:

  • Avanafil (Stendra)
  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

Though they all have different names, each of these medications are fairly similar. It’s suggested to ingest these anywhere from fifteen minutes to thirty-six hours prior to having sex.

Pill treatments work to increase the blood flow to the penis, helping to achieve the proper erection for sexual satisfaction. This treatment method is effective for about 80% of men who use it.

2. Intracavernosal injection

If the pill does not adequately meet the patient’s needs, the next most common treatment is an intracavernosal injection. This involves a self-injection of medication into the base of the penis.

This medication acts as a sort of adrenaline rush and aids in the stimulation of the penis. While this treatment is proven to be effective in its initial results, it is considered to be “old technology” when it comes to healing and permanently treating ED.

3. Vacuum erection device

The vacuum erection device treatment is exactly what it sounds like–a mechanical device that allows suction blood into the penis. The vacuum erection works by first placing the pump over the penis and then pumping the air of the cylinder device to create a vacuum.

The vacuum then draws blood into the shaft of the penis, causing it to swell and become erect. This treatment is highly effective and about 50-80% of men have been satisfied with their results.

4. Testopel

Testopel is an office procedure that involves the implantation of slow-release testosterone called Androgen. This treatment is administered through a tiny incision in the upper buttock.

Testopel is administered every three to six months until optimum results are seen.

5. Inflatable penile prosthesis

Another treatment option for ED is the inflatable penile prosthesis. Because this is a surgical solution, it is best suited for men with spinal cord injuries or limited hand strength, or those who otherwise lack alternative options.

This treatment involves implanting an inflatable into the erection chambers of the penis, allowing for an erection just by adjusting the position of the penis.

Erectile dysfunction is a common health concern that affects millions of men. If you think you might be experiencing the symptoms of ED, contact a trusted urology professional today.

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