Treatment of erection problems
About 70% of erectile dysfunction has a physical cause while in 30% the cause is more likely to be psychological. There are a number of treatment options available to deal with these problems.
Reducing alcohol intake or cutting down on cigarettes may help. It's worthwhile trying this to see if it makes a difference to the problem. Illegal drugs can also affect the ability to maintain an erection.
Some medications, particularly those used in treating blood pressure, may cause erectile dysfunction. Changing to a different medication may overcome the problem so it is worth discussing this with your medical advisor.
Drug treatment for erectile dysfunction
The advent of oral drug therapy (taken by mouth) has provided an effective treatment option for patients suffering with this problem.
Many patients are suitable for oral medication and there are very few adverse effects. Your GP will be able to advise you on these treatment options and determine your suitability for such treatment before writing your prescription.
Another treatment for erectile dysfunction is for self-administered injection. These are available on prescription from your GP and are used about 10 minutes before sexual intercourse.
In particularly difficult cases, a specialist can insert inflatable or semi-rigid rods into the penis which will induce an artificial erection. When semi-rigid rods are used the erection is present all the time.
Surgery can be useful in men whose particular problem is blood flow to the penis. A surgical procedure can be used to remove a blockage, which is preventing an erection, or to stop leakage of blood from the penis during erection.
A vacuum device is a transparent plastic cylinder with a pump attached. The penis is put into the cylinder and the pump withdraws the air in the cylinder thereby creating a vacuum effect. This vacuum draws blood into the penis, which creates an erection. The erection is maintained by a rubber band at the base of the penis, which can be left in place for up to thirty minutes.
Psychosexual therapy or relationship counselling can be useful in cases where there are underlying emotional causes or low self esteem at the root of the problem. This may be undertaken alone by the individual or jointly with their partner. Therapists will explore relevant issues for the individual or the couple. In some cases, psychological treatment may also be helpful for certain people whose problem is physical, in conjunction with a medical or mechanical treatment.
In the case of depression or where there have been problems like alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders or other forms of self-abuse, psychotherapy may be useful.
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