Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erect penis sufficient for sexual intercourse. This condition affects millions of men and the chance of occurrence increases with age. It has been estimated that up to 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have ED to some extent.
The most common risk factors for ED are:
- Age over 50
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
Other risk factors include hypogonadism (low T), treatment for prostate cancer, stress/anxiety, and some medications. It is important that you do not stop any medication unless directed by your physician.
Diagnosis of ED involves a complete medical evaluation and, in some cases, blood work.
Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Treatment for ED changed dramatically with the introduction of sildenafil (Viagra), the first effective oral pill to treat ED. Other similar medications now include tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). These medications are considered first-line treatments for ED.
Other treatments include a vacuum-erection device, in which a plastic cylinder is placed around the penis and a pump is used to create a vacuum, resulting in an erection. A rubber constriction band is often used at the base of the penis to maintain the erection for a short time when the cylinder is removed. Penile injections (intercavernosal injections, ICI) are used by some patients to create immediate erections and is administered just prior to intercourse. This treatment is generally not painful and is extremely effective. Intraurethral suppositories (MUSE) are another form of treatment in which a medication pellet is placed into the urethral opening of the penis to be absorbed directly into the penile tissues.
For men who have side effects from, or who do not respond to, the above treatments, a penile prosthesis can be very effective. The inflatable penile prosthesis is a device that consists of two cylinders implanted into the penis. These cylinders fill with fluid when a concealed pump is pressed, resulting in an erection.
For most men, ED can be treated effectively. Talk to a CUC Urologist to determine which treatment is right for you or your loved one.