Erectile Dysfunction: More Common Than You Think!

Problems with your erections or “erectile dysfunction (ED)” affects over 50 million men in the US. It remains a very embarrassing topic for those who are affected. The introduction of oral treatments like Viagra and Cialis have made it easier to discuss, and many of our male patients come to us seeking “the pill!”. ED is a disease like high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis, and should be treated as such. The onset of ED is usually gradual leading to erections that are not firm enough for sexual intercourse. Other manifestations of ED include premature ejaculation, inability to achieve climax, Peyronie’s disease and failure to ejaculate.

The ability to have an erection is a miracle that results from a combination of vascular (arteries and veins), neurological (brain and nerves), psychological (desire) and hormonal interactions. ED is not an inevitable consequence of aging. It is more the result of various risk factors. There are several “self-inflicted” risk factors for ED. These include nicotine abuse, substance abuse and a sedentary lifestyle. Diseases such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, diabetes, stroke, and neurological conditions can cause erectile dysfunction. Some of these diseases directly impact one’s erection or indirectly as a side effect of certain necessary medications. Regardless of the cause, a urologist can make the proper diagnosis and tailor a treatment that suits your lifestyle. Sometimes sexual therapy or counseling may be recommended.

ED need not be a “death sentence” for your manhood. There are many effective, proven treatment options. Be careful of the treatment “gimmicks” seen on the internet, TV or in printed media. The urologist can assess the blood flow to the penis and check your hormone levels. Based on this evaluation treatment options can be tailored for you. Treatment options include:

  1. The phosphodiesterace-5 inhibitors (Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and Stendra)
  2. The external vacuum device
  3. Penile injection therapy
  4. Urethral suppository
  5. Surgery (penile prosthesis, penile vascular surgery, & correction of penile curvature)

Newer minimally invasive treatments for ED that are available but are not covered by insurance include low intensity shock wave therapy and plasma rich platelet therapy (PRP). Experimental treatments include stem cell therapy for “vascular regeneration” of the penis.

ED is a life altering disease that negatively impacts relationships and one’s sense of self-esteem. It occurs at all ages and should not be accepted as a normal process of aging. Seek out the care you need by calling a urologist with Brookwood Baptist Health today!