Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to attain or maintain an erection of satisfactory quality to complete intercourse. It is sometimes referred to as impotence. The degree of ED can range from mild cases where there is a slightly diminished rigidity in the penis to severe cases where a man is unable to attain any erection.
The incidence of ED increases with age. Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from ED, making it one of the most common sexual problems in men. The incidence in 40-year-olds is around 5 – 10% and increases to 25 – 30% in 65-year-old men. Some studies have shown that up to 50% of men over the age of 50 have ED.
Also known more traditionally as “impotence,” ED is most often the result of health problems that pose more serious complications if left untreated. These problems include
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Some prescription drugs
- Unhealthy habits like smoking, overeating, and not exercising
- Treatments for prostate cancer
- An injury or disease that affects the nerves
Sometimes ED can be treated successfully just by making lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight, and reducing alcohol consumption.
If you have made these changes, and still suffer from ED, consult one of our urologists. They can counsel you and devise a treatment plan, which may include
- Oral medication – Current brands include Viagra, Levitra, Stendra and Cialis. These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Do not take any of these drugs if you are taking nitrates, a type of heart medicine.
- Injection – Medicines injected into the shaft of the penis or inserted into the tip of the penis usually cause an erection within minutes.
- Vacuum device – A vacuum tube inserted over the penis can create an erection. As air is pumped out of the tube, the penis expands and blood flows into it. After the tube is removed, a specially designed rubber band is placed at the base of the penis to keep the blood from flowing out.
- Counseling – Even though most cases of ED have a physical cause, counseling can help couples deal with the emotional effects.
- Penile implant – If other options fail, a surgeon can implant a device into the penis that inflates or can be straightened to create an erection.