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Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction) - Treatment Overview

Treatment for an erection problem depends on the cause of the problem. The cause may be mental, physical, or a combination of both.

Many doctors take a step-by-step approach to treating erection problems. They use the least invasive treatments first. The treatment steps are:

  1. Looking for and then stopping medicines that may be causing your condition. In some cases, a different medicine can be tried.
  2. Trying testosterone or another treatment to fix a hormone problem if tests show you have one.
  3. Trying pills called PDE-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (for example, Viagra), tadalafil (for example, Cialis), and vardenafil (for example, Levitra).
  4. Trying counseling if a psychological cause is suspected.
  5. Trying medicines that are injected or inserted into the penis.
  6. Trying a vacuum device.
  7. Trying penile implant surgery.
dplink.gif Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
dplink.gif Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?

Taking medicines safely

PDE-5 inhibitors have relatively few side effects. But they can be dangerous in certain men. If you are taking nitrate-containing medicines, such as nitroglycerin, you cannot use sildenafil (for example, Viagra), tadalafil (for example, Cialis), or vardenafil (for example, Levitra).

You also should not take certain alpha-blockers—used to lower blood pressure and to treat an enlarged prostate gland—with these medicines. There is a risk of a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Check with your doctor to see whether you can take PDE-5 inhibitors with your alpha-blocker.

What to think about

Oral medicines are commonly tried first before other medicine or surgery.

It is important to involve your partner in your decision, regardless of the treatment you choose.

Many men overestimate how important being able to have erections is to their relationships. Some men find that when they are able to have erections again, the hassle of using the treatment isn't worth the effort. Other men may find that being able to have erections doesn't change their relationship as much as they or their partners had expected.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 14, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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