Skip to content

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

Select An Article

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Font Size

Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes referred to as impotence, is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse. Millions of men in the U.S. have erectile dysfunction. It may be caused by diseases, complications from surgery, side effects of certain medications, lifestyle factors, and psychological factors.

Erectile dysfunction can be treated at any age. Treatment depends on your overall health and the underlying cause of the problem. If erectile dysfunction is a problem for you, talk to your doctor. Significant strides have been made in the last decade for treating erectile dysfunction. There are a number of therapies to choose from today. Your doctor can help you choose the best and safest one.

Recommended Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction -- the Basics

Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED or impotence, is the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for the sexual satisfaction of both partners. It can be devastating to the self-esteem of a man and of his partner. As many as 30 million American men are afflicted on a continuing basis, and transient episodes affect nearly all adult males. But nearly all men who seek treatment find some measure of relief.

Read the Understanding Erectile Dysfunction -- the Basics article > >

How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

In some cases, simple lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, drinking less alcohol, or quitting smoking, may improve erectile dysfunction.

If the erectile dysfunction is caused by a certain medication, your doctor may suggest reducing the dose or trying an alternative drug. Certain blood pressure medications, allergy drugs, antidepressants, sedatives, appetite suppressants, and an ulcer drug called cimetidine, may make it hard for a man to get a firm erection.

Most men with erectile dysfunction, however, will need further treatment. Treatment options for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Psychotherapy (counseling)
  • Medications (drug therapy)
  • Vacuum devices (pumps)
  • Surgery

Psychotherapy for Erectile Dysfunction

Talk therapy may be the initial treatment option for men with anxiety or stress-related erectile dysfunction. Relationship difficulties, work problems, financial woes, and other, everyday stressors can trigger erectile dysfunction. Talking about worries and stressors to a licensed therapist can ease sexual anxiety and provide strategies to boost intimacy. Usually only three to four sessions are needed. Including your partner in therapy can also be helpful.

Medications for Erectile Dysfunction

Men have different options in the types of drugs for ED. Medicines can be taken orally, inserted into the urethra, or injected into the penis.

The first medications usually prescribed to men with erectile dysfunction are called phosphodiesterase (PDE) type 5 inhibitors. These include:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • vardenafil hydrochloride (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • avanafil (Stendra)
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

handsome midadult man
11 tips to protect your erection.
man and woman on beach
How much do you know about ED?
stress in bed
Things that can deflate erections.
senior couple hugging
How medications work.
concerned man
stress in bed
Life Cycle of a Penis
Mens Body Problem
bored man
Lamm Erections Over Life
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
senior couple hugging

WebMD Special Sections