Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is another name for impotence. ED is defined as the persistent inability to maintain an erection that is either firm enough, or lasts long enough, to have sexual intercourse. This common problem is often caused by physical conditions such as prostate cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Erectile Dysfunction is not simply an inevitable consequence of aging.
Erectile Dysfunction can limit your intimacy, affect your self-esteem, and impact your most important relationships. But the good news is that nearly every case is treatable today. With advances in treatment options, you no longer have to live with Erectile Dysfunction or suffer through it.
The majority of Erectile Dysfunction cases are caused by the following problems:
- Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves or blood vessels that control the flow of blood to the penis.
- Cardiovascular problems can decrease blood flow to the penis through blocked arteries or leaking veins, resulting in erectile dysfunction.
- Trauma or surgery to the prostate, bladder, colon, or rectal area can damage nerves and cause ED.
- Spinal cord injuries can stop nerve impulses from reaching the penis.
- Medications, including some for high blood pressure, can interfere with blood flow to the penis.
- Hormone problems caused by kidney or liver failure can result in erectile dysfunction.
There are a variety of different treatment alternatives, ranging from medications to surgery. Your Urologist will discuss options that may be appropriate for you, along with the risks and benefits associated with each treatment.
- Oral Medications – There are a number of prescription medications available that may improve blood flow to the penis. Combined with sexual stimulation, this can produce an erection.
- Vacuum Erection Devices – A plastic cylinder is placed over the penis, and a pump (either manual or battery operated) creates a vacuum suction within the cylinder, drawing blood into the penis to create an erection. A stretchable tension band placed at the base of the penis can help maintain the erection.
- Injections – With injection therapy, a small needle is used to inject medication directly into the penis, which allows blood to flow to the penis, creating an erection.
- Intraurethral Suppositories – Another option is a suppository that contains medication. A small pellet (suppository) is inserted into the urethra.
- Penile Prostheses – Penile prostheses may provide an effective surgical option for men who are unsatisfied with the results they received from other treatment options. A penile prosthesis is a medical device that is implanted into a man’s body, generally as an outpatient surgical procedure. Once implanted, the device allows the man to achieve an erection with ease. Research on patient satisfaction reveals that penile prostheses are more satisfying than other common treatment options. But like any surgical procedure, there are both benefits and risks that you should discuss with your Urologist.