Erectile Dysfunction: What Treatment Options Are There?
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent or intermittent inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is hard and long enough for satisfactory sexual activity. It is a pathology that usually occurs in patients in mid-life, over 40 or 50 years of age. Obviously, erectile dysfunction increases with age. Although it can also occur in young men, the causes are usually psychogenic in origins, such as stress or other external factors that have nothing to do with the body itself.
The most important causes and risk factors for erectile dysfunction include certain diseases and conditions, such as:
- Arterial hypertension
- Cholesterol changes
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Hormonal Changes That Can Cause Low Testosterone
- Vascular accidents
- Spinal cord injury from heart attacks or trauma
- Low Vitamin D
In turn, some prostate cancer treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy, can cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing this pathology are unhealthy habits such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs such as marijuana or cocaine.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
The andrologist at the Alemana Clinic strongly acknowledges that the treatments for erectile dysfunction are very diverse, so they should be selected on a case-by-case basis. You are always trying to get the patient to respond to the least invasive, most practical, and most comfortable treatment.
This is a fairly standardized treatment that basically consists of two parts: the first is to try to correct risk factors, encourage healthy lifestyle habits in terms of sports and healthy eating, and if the patient has an underlying disease. such as hypertension or diabetes, that it is well controlled and the patient remains stable in his original condition, and after that the treatment and control of erectile dysfunction as such.
Types of treatment
In the first stage, therapy is based on the use of oral drugs, which provide more blood flow to the penis and, therefore, enhance the production and maintenance of an erection.
The second level of treatment, when oral medications are ineffective, is injections into the penis to create a sustained erection or vacuum pumps. The penis is inserted into a cylinder to create a vacuum that causes the blood vessels in the penis to fill and achieve an erection. This erection is maintained by a rubber ring that compresses the base of the penis. After the end of sexual intercourse, the ring is removed, and the erection disappears.
At the third level, the installation of a penile prosthesis, these are artifacts specially designed to try to simulate an erection that is as close to physiological as possible. This is an intervention that requires surgery and is usually used as the last line of treatment.
In addition, there are newer treatments for erectile dysfunction that are still looking for a place in this scheme. These low-intensity shock waves are applied to the penis using a special machine. They have been found to stimulate new blood vessels in the penis and new nerve structures, so this is a good treatment option.