Surgery is not your only option when it comes to ED!
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Failure to achieve an erection less than 20% of the time is not unusual. ED can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as stress, drinking too much alcohol, relationship problems, and more. However, if it occurs at least 50% of the time, you should visit a urologist because you may need treatment.
The good news is that there are many treatments for erectile dysfunction, both invasive and noninvasive. Here, we’ll walk you through some effective noninvasive options for ED treatment your urologist may offer.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
Generally, the treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause of the problem. The following are some of the popular noninvasive treatments currently used to treat erectile dysfunction.
ED can result from a variety of health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, etc. So, if a chronic health condition – let’s say, diabetes – is the cause of your ED, your doctor can help you keep the condition under control and best manage your overall health.
Your urologist may also recommend you:
- Eat healthy diet
- Not smoke
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Limit drug use
- Manage your weight
- Manage sleep apnea, if present
- Create a healthy sleep routine
- Exercise regularly
The first-line therapy for the treatment of erectile dysfunction includes a line of oral medications known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5)inhibitors. These include sildenafil (e.g., Viagra), vardenafil (e.g., Levitra, Staxyn), and tadalafil (e.g., Cialis). PDE5 inhibitors work by increasing blood flow to the penis and thereby helping to achieve and maintain an erection.
If you’re already taking drugs containing nitrates, such as nitroglycerine (common among men with cardiovascular disease), it’s recommended you not take PDE5 inhibitors because the combination of both drugs can cause dangerously low blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness and fainting, and can be life-threatening.
Your urologist may also recommend an intraurethral suppository. This is a tiny pill with alprostadil (e.g., Muse) that is placed inside the penile urethra. The suppository begins to work within 10 minutes, and the effects last between 30 and 60 minutes. A special applicator is needed to insert the suppository into the urethra. While this method is not technically “noninvasive,” it’s one of the more common nonsurgical, conservative treatment methods for ED.
In some men, low testosterone levels can complicate erectile dysfunction. In such cases, testosterone replacement therapy is recommended as the first step to treat ED. Hormone therapy may also be used in combination with other therapies.
When medications aren’t effective or appropriate, urologists recommend penis pumps, also known as external vacuum erection devices. A vacuum erection device is a hollow tube with a battery-powered or manual (hand-powered) pump. The tube is placed over the penis and then the pump is used to suck out the air inside the tube which creates a vacuum inside the tube. The vacuum pulls the blood into your penis – and an erection is achieved.
Once the erection is achieved, a tension ring is slipped around the base of the penis in order to hold the blood in the penis and keep it firm for sexual activity.
Your urologist can recommend a pump model best suited to your needs.
ED Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
If you often have difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection and are seeking a lasting solution, visit urologist Dr. Desi Avila Jr. at Ironwood Urology. Our men’s health expert will carefully review your condition, medical history, and other factors that may be contributing to your ED. He may also order some tests, such as a penile Doppler study to evaluate blood flow, before developing a treatment plan just for you.