ED, often known as erectile dysfunction, is the most common sexual issue men have.
Erectile dysfunction is difficulty getting or keeping an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.
Approximately 30 million men have the condition.
If you think you have ED, you might wonder what the best treatment is.
The truth is that there is no number 1 treatment for ED, and the best erectile dysfunction treatment for you might not be the best treatment for someone else.
Talking to a certified medical professional with the experience to help with effective treatment options is the best way to find out what the best ED treatment is for you.
Some people with ED respond well to pills they take by mouth, while others may need additional treatments like acoustic wave therapy.
The article below will look at the best treatments available for ED.
What Causes ED?
ED can result from several health conditions, emotional issues, or a combination of the two.
Some of the most- well-known risk factors of ED are:
- Being over age 50
- Having high blood sugar (Diabetes)
- Having high blood pressure
- Having cardiovascular disease
- Having high cholesterol
- Using drugs or drinking too much alcohol
- Being obese
- Lacking exercise
Erectile dysfunction is more common as men age, but growing old doesn’t always cause ED, and young men can also be diagnosed with ED.
Some men stay sexually functional into their 80s, while others struggle with ED in their 30s.
ED can be an early sign of a more serious health problem and needs to be diagnosed to avoid things like a heart attack or other serious health issues.
Finding and treating the reason for ED is a vital first step.
Physical Causes of ED
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Sometimes nerve signals from the brain or spinal cord fail to reach the penis. In addition, injuries, surgeries, and certain diseases in the pelvic area can damage the nerves in the penis.
- Medications that are treating other health conditions. Drugs like blood pressure medications can have a negative impact on erections. Speak to your doctor about drug side effects.
- Cancer treatments near the pelvis can disrupt the functioning of the penis. Cancer surgeries like prostate surgery or radiation near the penis can cause ED. Likewise, prostate, colon-rectal, or bladder cancer treatments can result in erectile dysfunction. If you’re a cancer survivor struggling with ED, you should visit a urologist with your sexual health concerns.
- Diabetes can potentially cause small blood vessel damage and nerve damage to the penis.
- Several health issues can reduce blood flow into the penis. Conditions like hardened arteries, heart disease, high blood sugar, smoking, and vascular disease can all lead to ED.
- If blood can’t stay in the penis, you won’t be able to keep an erection for sex. This can happen at any age.
Emotional Causes of ED
Healthy sexual activity needs both physical and mental health.
ED can be caused or worsened by emotional and relationship issues.
Men with ED realize the best results when they let go of thinking that sexual function requires having a rigid erection and an orgasm.
Emotional issues that can lead to ED include:
- Relationship conflicts
- Stress from social, cultural, or religious conflicts
- Worry about sex performance
- Stress at home or work
Treating and improving your erectile function starts with finding what’s causing it.
To diagnose ED, your healthcare provider will begin by inquiring about your heart health, vascular health, and any issues related to erections.
Your healthcare provider may do a physical exam, lab tests, or blood tests; they might also refer you to an ED specialist.
Now let’s look at the treatments that can improve your sexual function.
Best Treatments For Erectile Dysfunction
Generally, non-invasive treatments are the first option.
Most of the well-known treatments for ED are both effective and safe.
With that in mind, it’s still wise to ask your healthcare provider about the possible side effects of each option.
Here are a few of the top treatments for ED.
Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis(PDE5 inhibitors)
For most of the 30 million men struggling with ED, oral medications are the first line of treatment.
PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis are successful for about 80% of men.
Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
They work by increasing the blood flow to your penis.
Common side effects and risk factors are nasal congestion and headache.
If you use nitroglycerin tablets to treat heart disease, then ED pills are off the table since they can lead to a hazardous drop in blood pressure.
Penile injection therapy involves medicine that improves penile blood flow better than oral medications.
The medicine is injected at the base of the penis using a tiny needle.
Penile injections are often self-injections, but your doctor will teach you the proper technique and perform the first injection in the clinic.
Side effects of this therapy can include minor pain or bleeding at the injection site, prolonged erections, and scar tissue formation in the deeper tissues of the penis (in long-term users).
Implant surgeries are often the last option.
A penile implant or penile prosthesis is a device surgically implanted into the erection chambers of the penis.
This device grants you control over the timing, duration, and strength of your erections.
Since a penile implant involves a short surgical procedure, it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing or able to undergo the procedure.
Men who do choose an implant and their partners report great satisfaction.
Obesity is a common condition that causes ED.
In 2020, studies showed that ED is much more common among men who are overweight or obese and have a large waist circumference.
Since obesity can cause ED, weight loss can reverse it.
Losing weight can help improve blood vessel health and issues with erectile dysfunction.
A 2014 study revealed that, for obese men, gastric bypass surgery could help improve blood vessel health and issues with erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, 2017 research studies indicated that ED symptoms might improve after bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
If obesity contributes to erectile dysfunction, regular physical activity and a nutritious diet can help resolve the issue.
Stress and anxiety are often linked to ED.
A 2019 study found that stress, anxiety, and depression are common predictors of ED.
According to the study, extended periods of stress may lead to low levels of testosterone and lead to fatigue, both of which could cause erectile dysfunction.
Other studies have found that the effect of stress on ED is still unclear and a study done in 2020 found no association between stress and ED.
One study found that complementing ED medication with an 8-week stress management program is similarly effective in improving erectile dysfunction compared to medication on its own.
Even though we need to know more about stress and ED, reducing stress in everyday life can promote better overall health.
Vacuum devices are the next most common choice if you can’t or don’t want to take ED drugs.
To use a vacuum erection device, you’ll put a plastic cylinder over your penis and pump the air out of the cylinder.
This forces blood to flow into the penis.
An erection can be achieved by using a vacuum pump to remove air from a plastic cylinder, resulting in increased blood flow to the penis.
After that, you use an elastic ring to keep your penis erect.
This ED treatment works for about 75% of patients.
Possible side effects include loss of sensation, bruises, and weak ejaculation.
You should always remove the ring after 30 minutes.
Physical activity can prevent and improve ED.
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by obesity, inactivity, or cardiovascular disease, exercising can be an effective treatment.
Moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise for 40 minutes a day, four times per week for six months, has been found to help reduce ED.
Exercises suitable for decreasing ED include:
- brisk walking
Regular exercise can help promote better blood vessel health, lower stress, and increase testosterone levels – all of which can help with erectile dysfunction.
Shock Wave Therapy
Low-energy shock waves help heart blood vessels regrow in a process called revascularization.
Acoustic wave therapy has been suggested to improve penis health, and there are some positive results.
It’s similar to the shock waves used for kidney stone treatment and can be used to induce revascularization.
No matter how good it is, treatment for ED can’t work if you have fear or anxiety during sex.
The best way to get an erection sufficient for sex if you struggle with performance anxiety, depression, a poor relationship, or stress is with a combination of ED drug treatment and therapy.
[Related: What is Sexual Performance Anxiety?]
Sex therapy, individual therapy, or couples therapy from sexual health professionals can help ED.
Get Your ED Treatment With Choice Men’s Health Clinic In Atlanta
To know which ED therapy is right for you, it’s best to speak to an ED specialist about effective treatment options.
Some respond well to oral medication, and others may need additional treatments like acoustic wave therapy for ED.
If you want to get back to having natural erections with your partner, you should reach out to those with experience helping men get back in the bedroom.
The professionals at Choice Men’s Health have helped men improve their sexual function and sex life with customized treatment plans.
ED is a common medical condition, and our certified medical professionals can help you achieve healthy erections with prescription medications, shockwave therapy, or many other treatments.
With years of experience in treating sexual conditions, our medical team will design the best ED treatment plan for you.