In this article, we’ll discuss the best erectile dysfunction treatment for seniors.
Sexuality and sexual function are important indicators of quality of life, no matter how old you are.
Regardless of age, every man requires intimacy, physical affection, and sexual activity.
However, as men age, their risk of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, increases, which has a negative impact on their sexual activity.
Fortunately, there are ways that erectile dysfunction can be treated so seniors can continue to enjoy intimacy in their golden years.
[Check out our article, What Is Impotence, for more great information.]
In the article below, we will discuss how to treat erectile dysfunction in seniors.
What Are The Effects of Aging on Sexuality?
Men and women alike experience gender-specific influences on their sexual function.
Gender-neutral effects on sexuality in seniors include depression, coronary disease, vascular disease, mobility and flexibility issues, and the increased use of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
For men, the most common type of sexual dysfunction is erectile dysfunction.
Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction
When doctors evaluate sexual dysfunction in their patients, they will obtain a complete social, sexual, and medical history.
They will look for common health issues that many seniors face like coronary artery disease, atherosclerotic disease, or any other chronic diseases that seniors may face.
It may be a good idea to include the patient’s partner or significant other with this assessment to determine which treatment would be most appropriate for their relationship.
Your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical examination with laboratory screening.
Sometimes a primary care provider will diagnose without a basic health care assessment, or comprehensive workup leading to an underlying pathology being overlooked.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to visit a men’s health clinic that specializes in sexual dysfunction.
What Causes ED In Older Men?
ED is when a person has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
Several factors may cause or contribute to ED.
Aging is one reason because senior males are more likely to have a health condition that can contribute to ED, take medications that may contribute to ED, or have decreased testosterone levels, reducing sexual arousal, and leading to a lower libido.
Senior males are more likely to have medical conditions that contribute to or cause ED.
Examples of these health conditions include:
- a neurological disorder
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease
- high cholesterol
These conditions can affect blood flow or nerve sensations necessary for an erection.
Reduced genital blood flow, known as vascular insufficiency, is a common cause of ED.
Older males are more likely to take OTC and prescription medications to manage underlying medical conditions.
Medications cause about 25% of all cases of erectile dysfunction.
These drugs can enhance overall health and improve your quality of life, and they may also cause or worsen symptoms of ED and impair your sexual health.
The most common medications that cause ED are:
- blood pressure medication
- medicines for heart arrhythmias or other heart problems
- medicines for Parkinson’s disease
- medications used in chemotherapy
If you think your medication contributes to your ED, you should discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.
Healthcare professionals may lower the dosage or suggest a suitable alternative.
Never stop taking a medication unless your doctor tells you it is safe to do so.
Testosterone has several vital functions within the body.
It aids in various aspects of sexual health in males, including regulating sex drive and maintaining the tissues that supply blood to the penis.
Unfortunately, testosterone levels decrease with age.
This can increase your risk of ED and increase scarring in the vein network within the penis, impeding blood flow to that area.
Treatment Of Erectile Dysfunction For Seniors
A variety of ED treatments are currently available.
Treating ED may require a two-prong approach for older adults.
You may have to treat underlying conditions that contribute to ED, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
And you have to address ED symptoms with oral medications or other alternatives.
The most common ED medications among older adults are a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors.
PDE5 inhibitors block the activity of an enzyme in the walls of blood vessels allowing blood vessels to relax.
This means more blood can fill the blood vessels in the penis, producing an erection.
Side effects from these medications are usually temporary and minor.
While side effects usually are minor and temporary, sometimes priapism (a painful, prolonged erection) may occur in some cases.
Other typical side effects include:
- stomach and back pain
PDE5 inhibitors are appropriate for most older adults to treat their sexual dysfunction.
Talk with your doctor to find the proper ED medication for you and your lifestyle.
If older adults have tried PDE5 inhibitors, but they didn’t produce the results they want, self-administered penile injections may be a better option.
The most widely used medications for penile injection therapy include:
- prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or alprostadil (Caverject, Edex, MUSE)
With a penile injection, you inject the medication into your penis with a syringe before intercourse.
This often causes minor, temporary pain, but research shows that about 90 percent of men were satisfied with the results.
These are often used in combination with other treatments and require dosing adjustments.
You will likely do your first injection in your doctor’s office so they can make sure you do it correctly and safely.
Lifestyle changes aren’t a specific treatment, but changing your day-to-day life can produce a noticeable difference in erectile function.
Some things you can try on your own are:
- quitting smoking
- limiting or avoiding alcohol or substance use
- maintaining a moderate weight
- exercising more often than not
- following a healthy diet that supports cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of diabetes
- Settling relationship conflicts
- Seeking appropriate medical attention for health issues
Improving your lifestyle can help mitigate some of the adverse effects from medications, by allowing you to perhaps reduce your medication, or get off of them all together.
How Effective Are ED Treatments?
The effectiveness of ED treatments will vary in effectiveness, and they will each have their own side effects.
No matter what kind of treatment you choose, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- ED oral medications take about 30 to 60 minutes to become effective. Some drugs usually wear off in about 4 hours, while others linger for nearly 36 hours. Of course, your overall health and other factors will affect these estimates.
- You can try different PDE-5 inhibitors if you don’t get the results you’d like from another.
- Sexual stimulation is still required to become aroused even with an oral medication.
- You may require more stimulation to become aroused than you did when you were younger.
- Erections triggered by a penile injection may occur within 15 minutes, but sexual stimulation may still be required.
- Lifestyle changes, such as strategies that boost cardiovascular health and weight management, have also been proven effective as long as you keep up with them.
Contact Choice Men’s Health For The Best ED Treatment
Seniors may experience higher rates of ED compared to younger men.
However, they can still enjoy sexual activity if they seek treatment for their sexual dysfunction.
Anyone who has concerns about ED should seek treatment.
An experienced medical professional can determine the cause of ED with a blood test and physical exams.
You may even have multiple underlying causes.
Once your ED has been diagnosed, it can be treated so you can lead a happier, healthier life.
If you have questions about erectile dysfunction, our ED Specialist at Choice Men’s Health in Atlanta can help you. Our erectile dysfunction clinic has been helping men get back in the bedroom with our erectile dysfunction treatment.