Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse; it is also sometimes referred to as impotence.
Occasional ED is normal and not uncommonly experienced due to factors such as stress or anxiety. Frequent ED, however, may be a sign of health or emotional problems requiring treatment by a medical professional.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), up to 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction. The prevalence of ED increases with age; however, it is not an inevitable consequence of getting older. Although it may be more difficult to get an erection as you age, it does not necessarily mean you will develop ED. In general, the healthier you are, the better your sexual function.
Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction
The board-certified physician/surgeons at the Urology Group of Princeton are highly trained and experienced to diagnose and treat ED. In most cases a physical exam and a medical history questionnaire are all that’s needed to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend a treatment. However, if you have chronic health conditions, or there are indications that an underlying condition might be involved, additional tests may be required. In addition to a physical exam, these tests may include blood tests, urine test (urinalysis), ultrasound, an overnight erection test, and/or a psychological evaluation to screen for depression and other possible psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
The erectile dysfunction treatment options available at the Urology Group of Princeton include:
- Oral Medical Treatment – Oral ED medications, such as Viagra and Cialis, enhance the effects of a natural chemical your body produces (nitric oxide) that relaxes muscles in the penis to increase blood flow and allow an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
- Penile Intracorporal Injection Therapy – This course of treatment entails a self-injection into the side of the penis to deliver muscle relaxants that help increase blood flow into the penis.
- Penile Vacuum Pumps and Penile Prosthesis Implantation – If medications aren’t effective or appropriate, other options, are available.
- A vacuum erection device, aka a penile vacuum pump, creates a vacuum that pulls blood into the penis. A tension ring, subsequently placed around the base of the penis, holds in the blood and keeps it firm typically long enough for a couple to have sex.
- Penile prosthesis implantation involves surgically placing either inflatable or semi-rigid rods into both sides of the penis. This ED treatment option is generally not recommended until other methods have been tried first.
If you have questions or concerns about erectile dysfunction, please contact the Urology Group of Princeton 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.