Erectile Dysfunction (ED) can result from a number of different disease processes, each of which requires a different treatment approach. In some limited instances, a single case of ED may have several combined causes and thus may require several different treatment approaches.
Examples of conditions that can lead to ED include high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Even smoking is a risk factor for ED. Though each of these conditions can be treated, it is important to note that treating the underlying cause of ED may not be enough. Treating the ED directly is important, and something that should accompany treatment for any underlying medical condition. Below are several treatment modalities used to address ED directly.
The causes of ED can be broadly separated into physical and non-physical categories. Non physical causes of ED include stress, performance anxiety, and other underlying psychological conditions. If a psychological condition is underlying ED, counseling and a medical regimen designed to promote mental well-being are often prescribed. In most cases, medical treatment of ED accompanies psychological treatment until such time as counseling can resolve the underlying issues.
The vast majority of ED cases are physical in nature and the vast majority of these cases are related to insufficient blood supply to the penis. Physical treatments for ED primarily focus on restoring blood flow, which can be done in a variety of ways. Here is a look at the two most prominent physical treatments for ED.
Vacuum pumps are designed to draw blood into the penis by creating a subtle vacuum. The device is placed over the penis and a bulb is gently squeezed to remove air from the pump. This vacuum environment then draws blood into the penis by creating a pressure differential. Most of these pumps have a constriction ring (see below) that helps to maintain an erection after the pump is removed. For mild cases of ED, vacuum pumps are highly successful.
Constrictions rings are designed for cases of ED in which arousal is sufficient to achieve an erection, but maintaining an erection is difficult. After an erection is achieved, a constriction ring is placed at the base of the penis to trap blood in the aroused penis and make it easier to maintain an erection.
Prescription drug treatment is the primary means by which ED is addressed. Even when the underlying cause of ED is determined to be psychological, prescription drugs designed to improve blood flow to the penis are still useful. Here is a list of some of the most common prescription drugs used in the treatment of ED.
Viagra, which is also called sildenafil citrate, is the best known treatment for ED because it was the first major prescription drug to successfully treat the condition. The blue, diamond-shaped pill is taken prior to sex (usually up to ninety minutes prior) and works by increasing the supply of blood to the penis. Though Viagra is highly effective, some users complain that it feels unnatural to take and that erections occur after taking Viagra even if the desire for intercourse has subsided.
Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra. It can be purchased as a generic alternative to brand-name Viagra.
Cialis, also called tadalafil, is becoming increasingly popular because it is easy and convenient to use. Cialis lasts longer than Viagra, which means that it can be taken hours before sexual activity commences. In fact, Cialis remains active for roughly thirty-six hours compared to Viagra’s four.
Levitra, also called vardenafil, is a newcomer to the market. Its mechanism of action and duration of effect are both similar to those of Viagra.
Spedra is similar to Viagra and Levitra, but has a faster onset of action. It should be taken approximately 30 minutes prior to sex.
All of the prescription drugs listed above are safe in the majority of cases. Most men experience positive results with any of drugs listed above and do not experience significant side effects. Talk to your health care provider about the ED treatment options that may be available to you.
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