If you’re one of the 18 million American men struggling with erectile dysfunction, you may be seeking solutions to your particular case. Since ED is a symptom of other conditions rather than a standalone disorder, it has many potential causes, and unfortunately several of these tend to occur in clusters, meaning that you could have more than one factor affecting you.
The first priority in treating erectile dysfunction is finding the underlying conditions contributing to your issue. The good news is that there are more treatment options than simply taking a pill, which may not be effective for everyone. I’ll review your history, give you a physical examination and work with you on a custom treatment plan based on your individual case.
Common causes of ED
Sexual arousal is a complex physical and emotional process that requires many systems working in concert to create an erection. From a physical perspective alone, there are quite a few potential causes that can create ED, either on their own or in combination. About 80% of men seeking treatment for ED have a physical cause behind their condition. Some of these factors include:
- Alcoholism and other substance abuses
- Cancer treatments
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pelvic injuries
- Prescription medications
- Sleep disorders
A condition called metabolic syndrome features a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and body fat stores around the waist, and it may contribute to ED, an example how several individual factors can create a cumulative effect.
Lifestyle treatments for ED
The first stage of correcting ED looks toward some lifestyle changes that will support good blood flow. If you smoke, stop, since it creates a much higher risk of ED. Increased exercise, including resistance weight training and aerobic workouts, promote both better circulation and improved testosterone production in some cases.
A heart-friendly diet is also an excellent defense against ED, because it brings weight loss and lower levels of cholesterol. Managing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease also create better conditions for proper erectile function.
Medications for treating ED
The high media profile of ED drug treatments has helped reduce the stigma surrounding the condition. These drugs enhance the effects of naturally produced nitrous oxide, which relaxes the muscles of the penis, increasing blood flow and improving erectile response.
Hormone therapy may help men with low levels of naturally occurring testosterone. However, if your T levels are normal, additional hormones won’t help your ED condition. Another medication called alprostadil is delivered by suppository or injection to provide erections lasting about one hour.
Surgery and other ED options
Vacuum pump systems may work for some men. These create pressure conditions to encourage blood flow into the penis, retained there with a tension ring.
If other methods fail, I’ll look at surgical options. Typically, I recommend inflatable penis prosthetics from either American Medical System or Coloplast. These implants can be used to create erections spontaneously when you’re ready to have sex.
Regardless of the causes behind your ED, I can help you navigate back to confidence about sexual performance. Contact my office today, by phone or online, to set up a consultation.