What Is An Erectile Dysfunction Pump?
Erectile Dysfunction Pump Defined
An erectile dysfunction pump is a device used to help achieve and maintain an erection. It’s not a cure for erectile dysfunction (ED), but can help you to have sexual intercourse. This device is sometimes called a penis pump or vacuum pump. It’s a noninvasive treatment that can be used alone or in conjunction with other ED treatments or oral medications.
What It Looks Like
The ED pump is made up of three separate parts:
- A clear plastic tube that is placed over your penis
- A pump that is attached to the tube and powered by hand or battery
- A band (sometimes called a constriction ring) that fits around the base of the erect penis
How To Use It
Place your penis in the tube and pump the air out. This causes your penis to fill with blood. (Note: It may take several minutes to achieve a full erection.)
Next, place the band around the base of your penis to maintain your erection.
Remove the pump.
Most men can keep an erection for about 30 minutes. However, the band can cut off blood flow and cause injury if worn for longer, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Who Can Use It
The ED pump can be used by most men who have ED. It’s an especially good option for men who can’t take oral ED medications. However, you should see your doctor before using a pump. ED can be a symptom of a variety of underlying, and sometimes serious, medical conditions. Treatment for those conditions can often correct ED.
Where to Get an Erectile Dysfunction Pump
Talk to your doctor. Some ED pumps are available without prescription, but your doctor can make a recommendation based on your specific condition. Some models sold online and in magazines may not be safe or effective.
Make sure to choose one with a vacuum limiter—this will prevent the pressure from building too high and causing injury.
It may take a bit of practice, but most men are able to achieve sexual intercourse using an ED pump. Other benefits include the following:
- There is lower risk of complications than with other ED treatments.
- After initial purchase, there is minimal cost.
- It’s a noninvasive treatment.
- It can be combined with other ED treatments, such as oral medications.
Risks and Side Effects
The ED pump can interfere with spontaneity, and some men find it uncomfortable or awkward. The ED pump is generally considered to be safe, but can cause increased bleeding in men who:
- take blood thinners
- have sickle cell anemia
- have any blood disorder that causes bleeding or interferes with clotting
Potential side effects include:
- red dots caused by bleeding under the skin's surface
- numbness or coldness
- bluish-colored skin
- painful ejaculation
Some advertisers claim that ED pumps can make your penis larger. While an ED pump will help maintain size and shape, especially after surgery, it won’t make your penis bigger. Using an ED pump in an attempt to make your penis bigger may even result in injury, warns the Mayo Clinic.
With proper, detailed medical documentation, some health insurance providers will cover the expense of an ED pump in certain circumstances. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered if you purchase one without seeing a doctor or receiving a diagnosis. Before purchasing an ED pump, check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered and, if so, what documentation is required.