Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the incapability to get and sustain an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It can be caused by relationship problems, anxiety, stress, excessive weight, drug or alcohol use and smoking. Also, the condition can be a telltale sign of an existing health problem that needs to be addressed, which may be cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis or multiple sclerosis.
ED is not something that men would be willing to discuss with just anybody, but the truth is that it is not an uncommon problem. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS), a research pertaining to the prevalence of ED, reported that 52 % of men in the United States suffer from this condition, and approximately 617,715 new cases are added annually.
The good news is that a number of treatments are available based on the underlying factors for this dysfunction. Counseling can address psychological factors such as anxiety and stress, while having sufficient self-control to try to lose excessive weight and eliminate vices like smoking can also make a big difference. Getting medical treatment for health conditions that contribute to the existence of ED is also very vital.
There are oral medications available to treat ED. Oftentimes, this method is the first one applied by most men who have erectile dysfunction due to the fact that it is a proven and effective method with minimal side effects. These medications – medically referred to as PDE5 inhibitors – work through inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 while enhancing the action of nitric oxide. And nitric oxide is a natural chemical produced by the body that aids in making the smooth muscles in the penis relax to widen the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis.
The chemical compositions of these medications only differ in terms of their potential side effects and the promptness by which they take effect or wear off. The most common oral treatments for ED are Generic Viagra (sildenafil), Generic Cialis (tadalafil), Generic Levitra (vardenafil), Kamagra, Tadacip, Suhagra and others. Probable side effects are headache, nasal congestion, stomach upset, visual changes, backache and flushing.
These drugs should be taken with the prescription of a licensed physician because they have some contraindications. For example, PDE5 inhibitors have adverse effects on patients who are taking nitrate drugs or on those having hypotension, a condition characterized by extremely low blood pressure. Also, ED drugs are habitually not suitable for men with hypertension, liver disease or severe kidney disease, and heart disease.
Another way to restore erectile function is with the aid of vacuum constriction devices. In this case, an acrylic cylinder is positioned over a lubricated penis. Vacuum is then created with a pump that is hooked to the cylinder. A constriction band is then applied to the penis’ base as soon as an erection is achieved. This is when the cylinder is removed to allow the patient to engage in intercourse. The effectiveness and acceptability of this method is moderate according to clinical studies. This is inversely proportional to the satisfaction rate that the patients who have tried this type of treatment have expressed.
Another treatment for ED is Alprostadil. It takes advantage of the promotion of intracellular accumulation of cGMP, thereby promoting quick smooth muscle relaxation. Alprostadil, otherwise known as prostaglandin E1, is prominently known to be capable of dilating the corpus cavernosum. The drug is administered through intraurethral suppository or direct injections into the penis. This treatment has been determined to have high efficacy. However, the method is also known to cause some serious side effects such as fainting, feeling light-headed, priapism, dyspareunia, urethral bleeding, penile curvature and hematoma.
The last method that can be considered to address ED is surgical treatment. In fact, this method offers permanent solution, but is also associated with high risks of complications. Penile prosthesis implantation can usually be opted after all other methods have failed to bring the desired improvement. Prostheses are normally in the form of saline-filled silicon or malleable device. This type of treatment is no common due to its high failure rate and cost. There risks associated with invasive treatment include infection, surgical and anesthetic risks, and device malfunction. The failure rate of the mechanical aspect is dependent on the particular device. In aggregate, the mechanical success rate ranges from 80 to 90 per cent.
Indeed erectile dysfunction is a complex condition. Its cause in a particular patient can be extremely ambiguous because it can be triggered by neurologic, vascular and psychosocial factors. A person with ED must consider paying a visit to his doctor as the first step to resolve this dysfunction.