Erectile dysfunction is the inability to have or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Any man may find himself occasionally unable to achieve an erection. That is normal. It is only when this inability becomes a sustained everyday occurrence that he may consider the possibility of erectile dysfunction
The main factor for erectile dysfunction is aging, starting about the age of 50. Over 50 percent of men over 50 suffer from erectile dysfunction. Other risk factors include cardiovascular disease, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Emotional and mental conditions such as depression and anxiety also can cause erectile dysfunction.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have a number of treatment options. If it is a symptom of an underlying illness, treatment should be focused on the underlying illness. When erectile dysfunction appears with no underlying cause, the following treatment options are available and are highly successful.
1. Oral Medication. These are pills given to increase blood flow to the penis, thus causing an erection. The most common ones are vardenafil or Levitra, Cialis or tadalafil, viagra and avanafil. Oral medication is most successful in patients with mild cases of erectile dysfunction.
2. Penile injections. The most common injectible drug is alprostadil. Using a very fine needle, a patient injects the drug into the base of the penis. The drug increases the size of the arteries that supply blood to the penis. Alprostadil also can be administered by placing a small alprostadil suppository at the opening of the penis, rather than by injection.
3. Vacuum erection device. This is a tube with a hand or battery powered pump. The tube is placed over the penis and the pump is used to draw air out, creating a vacuum. The vacuum thus draws blood into the penis, causing an erection.
4. Penile implants. A minor surgical procedure is used to introduce bendable rods at the sides of the penis. These rods give the penis a firmness that allows for intercourse. An alternative of the rods is the insertion of fluid filled cylinders connected to a pump placed in the scrotum. Engaging the pump inflates the cylinders which causes the penis to firm up.
It is advisable for men, especially those approaching age 50, to maintain a healthy relationship with a urologist. An experienced urologist can diagnose and offer advice on the best treatment options. It is also important to stay informed on the causes, signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Many professional sites, such as the one maintained by the Advanced Urology Institute, are very helpful. Advanced Urology Institute also has an experienced team of specialists who can help with consultation, diagnosis and treatment. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.