Erectile Dysfunction is a male sexual disorder in which they cannot gain a harder erection when aroused or having intercourse. Earlier, the issue used to happen in males with age. But now, the situation can arise due to a series of physical, psychological, and emotional reasons.
When a person is suffering from erectile dysfunction, they are unable to have satisfactory intercourse. It can lead to problems like declining libido and sexual satisfaction levels. All these issues can completely disrupt a person’s life personally and professionally.
That is why it is best for ED patients to start looking out for the best treatment options available. In the meantime, a person needs to know the Primary Causes of Erectile Dysfunction, which helps them to choose the best treatment for them.
Whenever a person figures out that they are suffering from erectile dysfunction because of any physical reason, the first option is medication-based treatment. Generally, these medicines are safe if a man is healthy, but there are some interactions. That is why it is important for a person to visit the physician and discuss the issue before consuming the medicine.
Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE5) Inhibitors
Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are a class of medications that work by increasing blood flow to the penis, making it easier to achieve and maintain an erection. The most common PDE5 inhibitors include:
- Sildenafil (Viagra): Sildenafil is one of the most well-known ED medications. It typically takes about 20-25 minutes to show its action, which is effective for about 4-5 hours. The physician suggests that one should take the medicine half an hour before intercourse and get involved in sexually arousing activities.
- Tadalafil (Cialis): Tadalafil is known for the extended results that it provides as compared to other PDE type5 inhibitors. One tablet lasts around 20-24 hours on average, lasting up to 36 hours. It’s available in different strengths, allowing for daily or as-needed use.
- Vardenafil (Levitra): Vardenafil starts working within 15-30 minutes and lasts for about 4-5 hours.
- Avanafil (Stendra): Avanafil offers a rapid onset, often within 10-15 minutes. The effects of Avanafil can last for 6-12 hours. The medicine has become a favorite for people who are looking for instant results without waiting for longer.
How do PDE type5 inhibitors work?
The medicine primarily works by inhibiting PDE type 5 in the body. This hormone, released by the body to protect the heart, can be triggered by various factors such as stress, sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy diets, potentially endangering heart health.
In these situations, PDE type 5 is released into the bloodstream, blocking the release of cGMP, a natural vasodilator. This causes the blood vessels that supply the penis to constrict, leading to insufficient blood flow, weaker erections, and, ultimately, erectile dysfunction.
Upon taking the medication, like Sildenafil, it dissolves in the body, infiltrating the blood vessels to counteract PDE type 5’s actions. Consequently, cGMP is re-released, leading to the dilation of blood vessels.
This enables a greater flow of blood to the penis during sexual arousal, resulting in harder erections and a more fulfilling sexual experience.
Side Effects of PDE5 Inhibitors
- Flushing (redness and warmth in the face and neck)
- Nasal congestion
- Muscle pain
- Visual disturbances
- Hot flashes
- Hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Changes in blood pressure (both increased and decreased)
- Allergic reactions
For men who do not respond well to oral medications, they can use injection-based treatments. These treatments involve injecting medication directly into the base or side of the penis just before sexual activity. Common medications used for injections include alprostadil and papaverine.
How does injection-based treatment (Alprostadil) work?
- Vasodilation: Alprostadil is a synthetic form of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), which is naturally occurring in the body. When alprostadil is administered, it relaxes and dilates the blood vessels within the penis, particularly the arteries. This dilation increases the capacity of these blood vessels to carry blood.
- Increased Blood Flow: With the blood vessels now relaxed and expanded, more blood can flow into the erectile tissues of the penis. This surge in blood flow is what contributes to the engorgement of the erectile tissues, resulting in a hard and rigid erection.
- Sustained Erection:Alprostadil also helps in maintaining the erection by preventing the outflow of blood from the penis. It does this by constricting the veins responsible for carrying blood away from the penis. This action traps blood in the erectile tissues, helping to sustain the erection for a longer duration.
Side Effects of Injection-Based Treatments
- Penile pain
- Pain or a burning sensation in the urethra
- Itching, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Minor bleeding or spotting from the urethra
- Low blood pressure
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Painful ejaculation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Prolonged or painful erections lasting beyond four hours
- Infection at the injection site
Vacuum Erection Devices (VEDs)
VEDs or vacuum pumps are cylindrical and hollow devices that help in creating a vacuum inside the penis. When a vacuum is created, blood starts entering the penis leading to a harder erection. When a person is erect, they need to place a ring at the root of the penis to retain that erection.
Side Effects of VEDs
- Bruising or small red or purple spots on the penis
- Coldness or numbness in the penis
- Difficulty maintaining an erection after removing the device
- Pain or discomfort during or after use, particularly if the device is used with excessive force or for an extended period
- Skin irritation or redness at the base of the penis, especially if the constriction ring is too tight or left in place for too long.
Penile implants are surgically inserted devices that can help achieve an erection when other treatments have failed. There are two main types of penile implants: inflatable implants and malleable (semi-rigid) implants.
Side Effects of Penile Implants
- Mechanical failure
- Device erosion
- Difficulty with inflation or deflation
- Change in penis length
- Change in penis angle
- Impaired sensation
Psychotherapy and Counseling
For men whose ED is primarily caused by psychological factors, psychotherapy and counseling can be highly effective. Therapists can help individuals address issues like anxiety, stress, and relationship problems that may be contributing to their condition.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can play a significant role in preventing and managing ED. Here are some key points to consider:
- Diet and Nutrition
A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats promotes cardiovascular health and better blood flow, which is essential for sexual health.
Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances circulation. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Weight Management
Obesity is a significant risk factor for ED. Losing excess weight through a combination of diet and exercise can significantly improve sexual health.
- Alcohol and Smoking
Limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can decrease sexual desire and impair performance. Quitting smoking is crucial, as it can damage blood vessels and affect blood flow.
Prioritize Mental Health
Stress, anxiety, and depression can be major contributors to ED. Taking care of mental well-being is vital for a satisfying sex life.
- Stress-Reduction Techniques
Engage in activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to manage stress and anxiety.
- Professional Help
If a person is experiencing mental health issues, they should consult a mental health professional or therapist. They can provide guidance and support to improve their emotional well-being.
Maintain a Healthy Relationship
Relationship problems can have a profound impact on sexual performance. Due to this, libido decreases, and a person might not even get a harder erection, which means ED.
- Open Communication
One should talk to their partner about their feelings, needs, and concerns. A healthy, open line of communication can help resolve conflicts and improve intimacy.
- Quality Time
A couple must focus on spending quality time together if they are not able to have satisfactory intercourse, and the reason is erectile dysfunction. It can help them increase the intimacy that is required.
Certain medications, such as those for hypertension, depression, or anxiety, can have side effects contributing to ED. Consulting the physician is necessary if a person suspects they are suffering from ED because of medicines they are consuming. In most cases, they have an option to adjust or change the medicine to help in this situation.
To know details about how to prevent erectile dysfunction from happening, Check out the blog here.