At some, most men will experience problems getting or keeping an erection for a variety of reasons, which are not always due to an actual physical issue. Stress or anxiety can cause erection issues; however, some men do develop a medical condition called erectile dysfunction, or ED.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition that occurs when the penis does not receive enough blood to produce an erection adequate for sexual intercourse. ED is diagnosed when this happens repeatedly and affects a man’s ability to sustain an active sex life. While erectile problems are commonly thought to be an issue for older men, ED can, and does, affect younger men too.
If you suffer from ED, the good news is that there are many treatment options available.
- Life-impacting issues or even everyday stress can trigger erectile dysfunction. Talking about them with a licensed therapist can ease sexual anxiety and help you feel more confident.
- ED medicines, generally pills (e.g. Levitra, Cialis, Viagra) are usually the first thing prescribed to men with erectile dysfunction. Taken anywhere from 15 minutes to 36 hours before sex, depending on the product, they work well for about 80% of men experiencing ED.
- If the pills don’t work, or aren’t safe for you to take, your doctor may prescribe a drug (alprostadil) that helps boost blood flow to the penis, triggering an erection within minutes. It is administered by injection or suppository pellets placed inside the penis.
- Penile Pump/Vacuum
- A penile pump/vacuum device improves firmness by boosting blood flow to the penis. About 80% of men who use the device correctly get an erection hard enough for sex. Often used for penis rehabilitation, usually after prostate surgery, your doctor will design a regimen aimed at restoring normal blood flow to the penis, thereby allowing for a spontaneous erection. It may, however, take several months to see results.
- If all other ED treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend surgery; i.e. an implant (prosthesis) in the penis or vascular reconstruction surgery.
The causes of ED vary widely; they can be caused by psychological, neurological, or lifestyle issues. Erectile dysfunction can also be the result of side effects from some medications. The only sure way to know is by taking the first step and discussing it with your doctor.
If you have questions or concerns about erectile dysfunction, please contact the Urology Group of Princeton (609.924.6487) to schedule an appointment. We will take the time to listen, evaluate, make an informed diagnosis, and provide you with the best care and treatment options possible.