If you are troubled by occasional erectile dysfunction, remember that arousal takes longer as you get older and that satisfaction should not be equated with performance. If dysfunction is severe and persistent, you should seek medical help. The number of treatment options has increased in recent years.
Many doctors will recommend changes in lifestyle as a first step in treatment. Suggestions may include the following:
Being unable to have or keep an erection adequate for sexual activity is the defining mark of erectile dysfunction. The problem may manifest itself in several ways. If the dysfunction:
Is transient or appearing only occasionally, the problem is not likely to be serious; all men experience problems with erections at some time in their lives.
Develops gradually and persistently, there is probably a physical cause; this is generally the case with chronic impotence.
Self-injected medications can produce an erection. The drug is injected before sex into the side of the penis; these drugs may also improve long-term potency and penile blood flow.
Prostaglandin suppositories can be inserted into the urethra to produce erections.
Testosterone replacement therapy may help men with low testosterone levels, but no specific level of the hormone guarantees potency. Treatment comes in many forms, including shots, patches, gels, and oral tablets, for example.
Devices to Aid Erection
Another option for the treatment of erectile dysfunction is a vacuum inflation device. This instrument draws blood into the penis by creating negative pressure around it; a rubber ring is then slipped over the base of the penis to maintain the erection. The ring should be removed after 30 minutes to restore circulation and prevent damage to the penile tissues.