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Understanding Erectile Dysfunction -- Diagnosis and Treatment

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Medications for Erectile Dysfunction continued...

Surgery to Aid Erections

For certain blood-vessel problems, vascular surgery to open arteries leading to the penis may be of benefit. The effectiveness of such surgery can be quite variable and for the most part is not a main treatment option. It may be attempted for men with a traumatic injury to arteries that supply blood to the penis.

Penile Implants

When none of these therapies work, some men choose a penile implant. The simplest is a semirigid type that produces a permanent erection. More sophisticated and expensive implants are inflated by a pump mechanism placed beneath the skin of the scrotum. These can be very effective, with very high patient and partner satisfaction. There is, however, a risk of infection or that the device will fail over time.

Treating Psychological Causes

If the cause of erectile dysfunction is judged to be psychological, it is crucial to review your relationship with your partner and examine other possible sources of stress or tension in your life. A trained therapist can aid in these matters and may help unearth problems such as unreasonable guilt, performance anxiety, or inhibiting attitudes toward sex that are preventing a healthy sex life.

Alternative Therapies for Erectile Dysfunction

Several alternative therapies may aid in erectile dysfunction. These include the following:

Acupuncture
This technique is an ancient Chinese method of healing that involves placing very fine, solid needles into specific points on the body. Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the body's ability to resist or overcome illnesses and conditions by correcting imbalances. Acupuncture has helped some men with ED. However, more research is needed to check its effectiveness and safety.

Aromatherapy
According to a small study, some scents, like lemon, employed in aromatherapy may help improve general mood in some people. But others, like lavendar, have no effect at all.

Herbs and Supplements
There's little evidence yet to support the use of herbs for treating erectile dysfunction. If you do choose to try herbs and supplements, inform your doctor and proceed with caution. Herbs and supplements that have been used for ED include the following:

  • Ginkgo has been shown to thin the blood, but there is no proof that this leads to regained erectile function for men.
  • Ginseng and saw palmetto are two popular herbs whose claims regarding erectile function have yet to be well proven.
  • The amino acid arginine is being studied and may show promise in some cases of erectile dysfunction, but more research is needed.
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