Here are 7 of the most common solutions for ED – read on to know which ones are really effective, and which are just a lot of hot air.
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a condition that affects about half the men over the age of 40 years. The “little blue pill”, clinically known as Viagra, was introduced in 1998. Since then, most men first reach out to Viagra to solve their issues in the bedroom. In fact, studies show that since the introduction of Viagra some 17 years ago, there has been a stunning 250 percent increase in the number of men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction!
Occasional inability to get and sustain an erection is nothing to worry about, but if the problem persists, it is important to consult a doctor and get to the root cause of ED. In some middle-aged men, ED could be caused by a build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries that connect the penile tissue. This problem can go unnoticed in the heart arteries, and the man may be at a risk of a heart attack. In such cases, ED is a symptom you should be worried about, and the underlying cause i.e. arterial blockage needs to be treated with urgency.
When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction, there are a number of effective and not-so-effective solutions available to men.
Often considered the first line of ED treatment, the little blue pill a.k.a. Viagra, and its friends, Levitra and Cialis, are successful in treating ED in approximately 70 percent of men, according to The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these pills are phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. Their primary function is to bump up the flow of blood to an erection, thus making it easier to get and sustain one. However, not everyone can take these drugs safely, and without side effects. Some of the common side effects of taking these drugs are headaches, nasal congestions, indigestion, etc. and most of these are mild and easy to deal with.
However, if you take nitroglycerine pills for chest pain or heart disease, you will not be able to use ED drugs. When nitroglycerine pills and ED drugs interact with each other, the result is a dangerous fall in blood pressure. ED drugs should also not be mixed with recreational pills or “poppers”.
For those who cannot take oral pills or when oral pills have no significant effect on ED, penile injections are the next frontier of ED treatment. Penile injections basically involve injecting medication directly into the penis, either at the base or on one side. The injection contains the medication Alprostadil (better known by its common brand names of Edex, Caverject Impulse, etc.) These injections work in a manner that is similar to ED drugs. Penile injections cause an erection within 5-20 minutes of administration. Such erections last for approximately an hour or so. Alprostadil contains synthetic prostaglandin E1, and it is often mixed with other medications such as alpha-blocker phentolamine and vasodilator papaverine for improved efficacy.
Your physician can teach you how to administer the injections by yourself at home. According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects of penile injections include prolonged erection, fibrous tissue formation, and bleeding. However, FDA-approved penile injections are known to be successful in approximately 85 percent of cases.
If the thought of injecting your penis does not sound appealing to you, another popular ED treatment option is the use of suppositories such as MUSE. This treatment option involves inserting a suppository about 2 inches inside the urethra, with the use of a special applicator. The subsequent erection is triggered in about 10 minutes, and lasts for an hour or so. Possible side effects of this treatment option includes minor bleeding, localized pain, dizziness, fibrous tissue formation, etc.
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