Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem, affecting some 50% of men between ages 40 and 70. Many people have questions about ED, so in this blog we’re trying to answer some of them.
What is the definition of ED?
Erectile dysfunction (which is also sometimes called impotence) is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse with a partner.
What causes ED?
ED is often a symptom of an underlying problem. Many disorders can result in ED, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, anxiety, and diabetes. It can also be a side effect of some medications, including some of those used to treat depression and high blood pressure.
How can ED be treated?
The first thing to do is figure out what the underlying problem is and try to treat that, if possible. For instance, working with your doctor to better control your diabetes or losing weight may relieve ED symptoms. Or working with a counselor may help if psychological problems are interfering with sexual performance. If you aren’t able to relieve ED through treating underlying medical problems, your doctor may suggest medication.
How do medicines like Viagra treat ED?
The simplest explanation is that they work by letting blood flow more easily to the penis. There are four oral medications approved for ED: sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and avanafil (Stendra). Some of them start working more quickly than others, and others continue to work for a longer period of time. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
What are the side effects of oral ED medications?
Side effects can include headaches, dizziness, facial flushing, indigestion, nasal congestion, and visual problems, such as blurred vision, light sensitivity, and a bluish tinge to your vision.
Who should not use medicines like Viagra?
Don’t take Viagra-type medications if you’re taking nitrates, such as nitroglycerin or a similar medication, for chest pain. Alpha blockers taken for blood pressure or other problems can also be a problem when combined with Viagra. Make sure you let your doctor know about all other medications you’re taking too, including supplements and over-the-counter drugs, to avoid any bad interactions.
What other options are there for treating ED?
There are several other options, including:
- Penile injections. This therapy involves using a very fine needle to inject a medication called alprostadil into the side of the penis.
- Intraurethral suppositories. This involves placing tiny pellets containing alprostadil inside the penis.
- External vacuum devices. These three-part devices include a tube that goes over the penis, a pump that pulls air out of the cylinder, and a ring that fits around the base of the penis.
- Penile implants. This is a surgical procedure that is not used unless other methods haven’t worked. It involves putting placing either inflatable or malleable rods into both sides of the penis. Satisfaction rates are generally high for men who have surgery after other treatments have failed.
If you have additional questions about erectile dysfunction or other urological issues, the staff at Affiliated Urologists are happy to talk with you.
Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or contact us for instructions on scheduling an appointment.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.