The treatment that you receive for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause and your personal preferences. Medications, devices, surgery, and psychological counseling may help.
There are several oral medications (phosphodiesterase inhibitors) that work to increase the blood flow to the penis in response to sexual arousal. These medications work when a man is sexually stimulated and do not cause a constant erection. Oral medications for erectile dysfunction allow sexual relations to happen as they normally would. There are varying types of oral medications and varying doses. While all the medications essentially work the same, some must be taken 20-30 minutes before intercourse and are for that one time use. There are also low-dose medications that can be taken daily and medications that are taken once and last for up to three days.
Injected medications use a very fine needle to deliver medication to the base or side of the penis. The medication (alprostadil) goes directly to the corpus cavernosum and causes it to fill with blood. Injected medications create an erection in about 5 to 20 minutes. The erection typically lasts for about a half-hour.
Intrauethral therapy involves placing a medicated (alprostadil) suppository into the tip of the penis (urethra). The medicated suppository causes increased blood flow to the penis and creates an erection.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is used for men with abnormally low testosterone. By taking testosterone, these men are able to achieve an erection.
Penis pumps are devices that are placed over the penis. An electric or manual pump removes air and creates a vacuum. The vacuum causes an increased blood flow to the penis, creating an erection.
Some men with blockages in the blood vessels can receive surgery to correct the condition. By surgically opening the blood vessels, blood can flow into the penis and cause an erection.
Penile implants are semi-rigid rods that are placed on both sides of the penis to position it in a semi-rigid state to allow sexual penetration. The rods cause the penis to be semi-rigid at all times. Inflatable penile implants work in a similar manner, but can be inflated or deflated to allow the penis to be firm only during sexual relations.
Psychological counseling can help resolve feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety that may interfere with arousal and erection. A sex therapist is trained to address specific problems.