Erectile dysfunction is a common complaint among men in their senior years. But there are also many young men still in their 20s or 30s who are already afflicted with impotence. For these men, treating erectile dysfunction means not only improvements in their sexual health but also in their quality of life.
In ancient times, erectile dysfunction was treated using herbal remedies and other traditional means like acupuncture. Today, thanks to scientific and medical advances, several options are available for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Here are your treatment options if you have erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction may be caused by abnormally low testosterone levels. This is common among men with hypogonadism whose gonads or testicles are not producing sufficient amounts of testosterone nor sperm.
Experts agree that for hypogonadal men, testosterone supplementation will not only improve erectile function but also help protect against cardiovascular risk. Reports indicate that the response rate to testosterone therapy for the treatment of erectile dysfunction is as high as 50%.
Testosterone therapy can also lead to improvements in libido, sexual performance, as well as sexual motivation. In addition, experts recommend that testosterone therapy should be administered prior to erectile dysfunction medications as this results in higher response rates.
Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors or PDE5Is are considered the standard medical treatment for erectile dysfunction. PDE5Is are a class of medicines that encompass numerous drugs such as sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil. There are also other types of PDE5Is that are not yet approved in the United States such as udenafil and lodenafil.
PDE5Is treat erectile dysfunction by suppressing the degradation of cGMP in the penile corpus cavernosa. However, PDE5Is only facilitate erections when there is sexual stimulation.
Currently, sildenafil is the most popularly used erectile dysfunction oral medication. It takes around 30 minutes before it starts to take effect, and the effects last for around eight hours. Vardenafil has a similar time of onset and duration of efficacy. Tadalafil, on the other hand, can last for around 36 hours but it takes two hours before the effects set in.
Transurethral therapy makes use of alprostadil, a drug that needs to be inserted into the penile urethra. The response rate is considerably lower compared to when alprostadil is injected into the corpus cavernosum in the penis.
Although transurethral alprostadil is considered to have limited efficacy, it is still used in combination with PDE5I. In addition, transurethral alprostadil is recommended for men with penile nerve damage since the therapy allows for erection without going through the neurological pathways that regulate erection.
Considered a second-line treatment, intracavernosal injection therapies are used when the patient is non-responsive to oral therapies. Just like transurethral alprostadil, intracavernosal therapies also bypass the erectile neurological pathways.
Several drugs are currently in use for intracavernosal therapy. These include phentolamine, PGE1, papavarine, as well as vasoactive intestinal peptide or VIP. Studies show that PGE1 is associated with very high rates of erection, at more than 90%.
The dosage injected, however, will depend on the cause and severity of erectile dysfunction. Men with diabetes mellitus, hypogonadism, cardiovascular disease, and arteriogenic erectile dysfunction tend to have poor responses to intracavernosal therapy.
Vacuum Erection Devices
Unlike intracavernosal therapy which can result in a poor response rate in men with certain types of erectile dysfunction, vacuum erection devices can be used by men with any type of erectile dysfunction.
Although the efficacy rates of vacuum erection devices are quite high, many men stop using the device due to the inconvenient mechanical procedure needed in order to achieve an erection.
Before you can achieve an erection, you have to place the device over your penis and pump the air out of the device. Once your penis is already hard, you can then place constriction ring on your penis to prevent it from going flaccid.
For many men, the whole process is too mechanical and unnatural, thus reducing the sense of excitement and pleasure derived from sex. Nevertheless, vacuum erection devices, either alone or in combination with PDE5Is, are recommended for men who have just gone through a radical prostatectomy.
If all other medical therapies for erectile dysfunction fail, surgical therapies like the insertion of a penile prosthesis are an option. You can choose to have a semi-rigid penile prosthesis implanted, or you can use an inflatable penile prosthesis.
Although inflatable penile prostheses are more commonly used in the United States, the semi-rigid form is recommended for men who have difficulties using the pump for the inflatable prostheses.
The success rates for penile prostheses are quite high, ensuring improved sexual performance and satisfaction at more than 90%. However, the risks of infection after implantation are quite high, too.
Penile revascularization surgery is also an option for men with erectile dysfunction. During the surgical procedure, the arterial stenosis is repaired, and penile venous ligation may also be performed.
Sex Enhancement Supplements
For those who prefer natural methods of treating erectile dysfunction, male sex enhancement supplements offer a viable solution. It is formulated using herbal ingredients such as maca, horny goat weed, tongkat ali, Butea superba, and Tribulus Terrestris.
These medicinal plants contained in it are all proven to be effective in improving erectile dysfunction. Tribulus terrestris, for example, is one of the most well-studied natural remedies for impotence. There’s a lot of solid scientific evidence showing that Tribulus terrestris can help improve erectile dysfunction as well as enhance fertility.
Maca is another well-researched herbal remedy for impotence. Maca helps increase the production of nitric oxide in the penis, thereby promoting blood vessel dilation and improved penile blood flow, resulting in stronger erections.
Horny goat weed contains a compound called icariin that acts in the same way as PDE5Is. Due to icariin, horny goat weed has been enjoying popularity as an effective sexual prowess enhancer and erectile dysfunction remedy for centuries now.
Tongkat ali in natural male sex enhancement supplement helps you to maintain your hardness. And if you’re worried that you may not have the stamina to last for hours in bed, it has Butea superba, damiana, maca, and Tongkat ali to boost your sexual stamina.
And you don’t need to worry about your libido, either. That’s because it contains potent libido enhancers like damiana, Xanthoparmelia scabrosa, and muira puama.