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Erection Problems: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 05, 2024

What is the treatment?

Treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on the cause. Oral pharmacotherapy and vacuum erection devices are first line treatments, which is followed by injections of drugs into the penis and penile implants. Oral medication includes Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, topical medication too can be applied. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a new treatment for erectile dysfunction that is non-drug, non-surgical and without any adverse side effects. Doctors generally take step-by-step approach for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

How is the treatment done?

As the treatment is dependent on the cause which can be mental, physical or both, then the treatment becomes different for different causes. If a particular medicine is responsible for the creation of such condition then stopping to intake that medicine or trying a different medicine. Trying testosterone or other treatment to fix a hormone problem such as low testosterone. Trying pills like PDE-5 inhibitors such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil. Trying couseling sessions if psychological cause is suspected. Trying medicines that are injected or inserted into the penis. The drugs which can be injected into the penis are- papaverine, phentolamine, prostaglandin E1. Trying a vacuum device. A vacuum erection device helps to draw blood into the penis by applying negative pressure. A topical cream combining alprostadil with the permeation enhancer DDAIP has been approved in Canada as the first line treatment for erectile dysfunction. Trying penile implant surgery. As a last option, when other treatments have failed, the most common procedure is prosthetic implants which involves the insertion of artificial rods into the penis.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

It becomes important to seek treatment if symptoms like regular or repeated inability to obtain or maintain an erection have escalated to a point where they are posing a problem. It is better to call for a doctor as soon as the symptoms are diagnosed by the patients.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Since some drugs have side effects which can seriously affect the patient’s health, it is suggested to seek a doctor’s help. People with cardiovascular disease should be alert using the drug Sildenafil. Patients who take nitrates are not eligible to use this drug. A patient is not eligible to take certain alpha blockers which are used to lower blood pressure and to treat enlarged prostate gland with PDE-5 because it may cause dangerous drop in blood pressure level. So, it is safe and healthy to consult a doctor.

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Are there any side effects?

There are some side effects of using the drug for erectile dysfunction treatment- for example Tadalafil can cause headache, stomach discomfort or pain, indigestion, burping, acid reflux, muscle aches, flushing and stuffy or runny nose. These side effects actually reflect the ability of PDE 5 inhibition to cause vasodilation and generally goes away after few hours. Sildenafil can have some side effects which are headaches, flushed skin. Caution is advised for those who have cardiovascular diseases. It can also lead to prolonged erections which can be harmful for the penis and sudden on-set of hearing loss. This drug should not be taken by patients who take nitrates. There are some infrequent but serious side effects of vardenafil. Though rarely but it can cause heart attack. It can also cause priapism, edema, hypertension, tachycardia.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Some post treatment guidelines include maintaining a healthy diet, leading a healthy lifestyle through exercises and yogas and maintaining a better mental health.

How long does it take to recover?

If Erectile dysfunction is chronic, it can last for years or be life long. Erectile dysfunction can either be temporary or chronic depending on the underlying reason for dysfunction. Temporary causes include medications, excessive alcohol, mood, social factors, hormones and bicycling. Chronic causes include chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and nerve injury.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Cost of the treatment will depend on the cause leading to erectile dysfunction. Long term treatments will be costly compared to short term ones.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Permanency of the treatment depends on the factors causing erectile dysfunction. Temporary causes leading to ED can have permanent solutions but chronic causes take time to get cured and may or may not be permanent depending on the patient’s health.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are some alternative treatments of erectile dysfunction. If erectile dysfunction is caused due to stress, then yoga and massage may help a patient. Some men use a form of massage called prostatic massage therapy where practitioners massage the tissues around a man’s groin to promote blood flow to his penis. Acupuncture may help psychological erectile dysfunction. A study has also shown that regular pelvis floor muscle exercises for about three months can improve penile function. After almost about six months the patients can gain back their normal erectile function. Healthy lifestyle habits may prevent erectile dysfunction. As it is related with the problems of blood flow, so maintaining blood vessel health through exercise and a healthy diet may help reduce the risk for erectile dysfunction.

References

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Written ByDr. Vikram Gidwani MBBSSexology
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