Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Medications, hormone replacement, antidepressant therapy, penile injection or penile implants can be used to promote erections.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on the cause.
Specific treatment for erectile dysfunction is determined on the basis of-
- Age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Individual opinion or preference
Some of the treatments available for erectile dysfunction include-
Sildenafil citrate (ViagraTM)
ViagraTM is the first approved non-surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction that does not have to be either injected or inserted directly into the penis to achieve and maintain erection. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for prescription sale at the end of March, 1998.
Viagra does not directly cause penile erection, but affects the response to sexual stimulation.
The FDA recommends that men follow these general precautions before taking Viagra-
- If you are taking medications that contain nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, you should not use Viagra. The two taken together can lower blood pressure too much and could worsen angina and even lead to a heart attack.
- Women or children should not use Viagra.
- Have a complete medical history and physical examination to determine your cause of erectile dysfunction.
- Men with medical conditions that may cause a sustained erection such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia or multiple myeloma, or with abnormally shaped penis should not take Viagra.
- Tell your physician about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines because there are medications known to interact with Viagra.
- Viagra's use in combination with other erectile dysfunction treatments has not been studied, therefore, its use in combination with other treatments is not recommended.
Prostaglandins or papaverine injections can be used to inject directly into the penis. Alprostadil, a form of prostaglandin, is available as a pellet that can be inserted in the urethra and can result in erections.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy may improve energy, mood, and bone density, increase muscle mass and weight, and heighten sexual interest in older men who may have deficient levels of testosterone. Testosterone supplementation is not recommended for men who have normal testosterone levels for their age group due to the risk of prostate enlargement and other side effects. Testosterone replacement therapy is available in an oral form and as a skin patch.
There are three types of implants used to treat erectile dysfunction. They include-
- Hydraulic pump- a pump and two cylinders are placed within the erection chambers of the penis which causes an erection by releasing a saline solution; it can also remove the solution to deflate the penis.
- Prosthesis- two semi-rigid but bendable rods are placed within the erection chambers of the penis which allows manipulation into an erect or non-erect position.
- Interlocking soft plastic blocks- these are placed within the erection chambers of the penis and can be inflated or deflated using a cable that passes through them.
Infection is the most common cause of penile implant failure and is treatable with antibiotics. In some cases, the infected implant must be replaced by a new implant. Implants are usually not considered until other methods of treatment have been tried.