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As many as 30 million men in the United States have erectile dysfunction. The incidence rate increases in men with diabetes, men who smoke, and men over the age of 65.
*Source: Minnesota Men’s Health Center

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

For treatment of erectile dysfunction, your WellStar physician will first make certain that you are getting the correct care for any health problems, such as diabetes or heart ailments, that could be causing or worsening erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, psychological counseling to address stress, anxiety, depression or relationship issues is sufficient. Once those situations have been treated or dismissed as causes, the cause and severity of your condition, if it continues, will affect the exact treatment prescribed.

Taking Care of Erectile Dysfunction with Oral Medication

Oral medications have been a successful treatment method for many men suffering from erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra®) from Pfizer
  • Tadalafil (Cialis®) from Icos/Lilly
  • Vardenafil (Levitra®) from Bayer/Glaxo-Smith Kline

All three of these medications have the similar effect in that they work by blocking a chemical in the body that causes blood to leave the penis. This leaves more of the chemical that causes an erection and allows blood to stay in the penis.

Taking Care of Erectile Dysfunction with Other Medication

Other medications for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Alprostadil self-injection: With this treatment, you use a fine needle to inject alprostadil into the base or side of your penis. Each injection usually produces an erection in about five to 20 minutes that can last an hour. Pain from such a fine needle is minor, but some side effects could include bleeding or formation of fibrous tissue at the injection site or a prolonged erection.

  • Alprostadil penis suppository: With this treatment, you use a special applicator to insert a tiny suppository about two inches down into your penis. Side effects include pain, minor bleeding in the urethra, formation of fibrous tissue and dizziness.

  • Testosterone replacement: When erectile dysfunction is caused by low levels of testosterone, your WellStar physician may prescribe treatment to replace it.

Taking Care of Erectile Dysfunction with Surgery and Implants

Should medications not work, you physician may prescribe surgery or implants. These include:

  • Penis pumps: A penis pump is a vacuum constriction device consisting of a hollow tube attached to a hand-powered or battery-powered pump. After the tube is placed over your penis, the pump sucks air out, creating a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis. When an erection is achieved, a tension ring is placed at the base of your penis to restrict blood from flowing out. You remove the device, and the erection typically lasts long enough for sexual intercourse. The tension ring is then removed.

  • Penile implants: This treatment involves the surgical placement of inflatable or semi-rigid devices into the sides of your penis. The devices enable you to control when and how long you have an erection.

  • Blood vessel surgery: In rare cases, the cause of erectile dysfunction is due to a leaking blood vessel. Surgery often can repair it.