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Men’s Health - How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Your doctor can offer a number of treatments for erectile dysfunction. Before you decide, you may want to talk with your partner about which treatment fits you best as a couple. Most people want the simplest treatment possible and you may need to try a number of treatments before you find the one that works best for you.

Lifestyle changes

For some men, the answer is simply to make a few lifestyle changes. Getting more exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight and cutting back on alcohol solve some erection problems.

Counselling

Even though most cases of erectile dysfunction have a physical cause, counselling can help couples deal with the emotional effects. Some couples find that counselling adds to the medical treatment by making their relationship stronger.

Oral medication

Current brands include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. If the doctor finds that your health is generally good, you may be given a prescription for one of these drugs. You should not take any of these pills to treat erectile dysfunction if you take any of the heart medicines called nitrates.

Injection

If a pill doesn't work, try medicines that go directly into the penis. Injections of Prostaglandin E1 are very effective even if other treatments fail. They are also very safe.

Vacuum device

Another way to create an erection is to use a vacuum tube. The penis is inserted in the tube and as air is pumped out of the tube, the volume of the penis expands. Blood then flows into the penis and makes it larger. A specially designed rubber band is then placed at the base of the penis to keep the blood from flowing out.

Penile implant

If the other options fail, a surgeon can implant a device that inflates or unbends to create an erection. Implanted devices do not interfere with the way sex feels. This operation cannot be reversed and once a man has a penile implant, he must use a device to have an erection.