If the erectile dysfunction is caused by diabetes, heart disease, depression or another condition, treatment of that condition may be the first step towards eliminating the ED.
The treatment regimen is usually unique to each condition, but generally includes drug treatments, surgery, changes in diet, or therapy.
Your doctor can tell you more about what to expect, depending on your individual circumstance. If the ED persists, your doctor may recommend tackling it directly.
If changes in lifestyle are not already part of the treatment of an underlying condition, your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to combat erectile dysfunction which include:
- weight loss
- more exercise
- quitting cigarettes, alcohol or illegal drugs
For some men, a form of talk therapy called sex therapy may help relive the symptoms of erectile dysfunction caused by sexual anxiety. Sex therapy is conducted by a trained psychologist, therapist, or other health professional, and focuses on fostering commincation and better interpersonal understanding between sexual partners. Learn more about building a healthy sex life.
Your doctor may also decide that drugs are the best answer. There are a number of effective medications available that heighten the effect of nitric oxide in the body. This chemical causes the muscles of the penis to relax, allowing the increase in blood that leads to an erection. However, these drugs only work in 30 to 40 percent of people with ED.
Drugs that increase blood flow can also be injected directly into the penis or inserted into the urethra—the channel through which urine and semen are expelled from the penis.
The levels of testosterone in a man's body may also need to be increased through testosterone replacement therapy.
There are also mechanical or surgical means for causing an erection. Several types of implants can be surgically inserted into the penis. These implants allow a man to manually create an erection. They include air pumps and semi-rigid rods.
Handheld Vacuum Pumps
Handheld vacuum pumps can be used to suck air from the area immediately around the penis. This can cause blood to flow into the penis. Once an erection is achieved, the blood is trapped inside the penis by the use of an elastic band. This band is later removed to allow the erection to subside.
If your doctor thinks the problem is mental rather than physical—depression, anxiety—counseling may be recommended.