Erectile dysfunction treatment options

Which ED treatments are available?


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common problem, but there are numerous ways you can make changes and start to overcome your ED. Each person experiences ED differently and some treatments may work better for you than others. It’s important that you explore all the options, so you know what will work best for you. We’ve put together 10 of the top ED treatments, to help you make the right choice.

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1. Viagra (Sildenafil)

There are several medications available to treat ED, but Viagra is certainly the most well known. The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil citrate, which works by relaxing your blood vessels. This improves blood supply to the penis, helping you achieve and maintain an erection. Viagra takes between 30 mins and 4 hours to work, but the effects can last for up to 5 hours. This does not mean that you would have an erection for 5 hours, but rather that you could obtain an erection within that time frame. Viagra is also available in generic form as Sildenafil. Sildenafil is usually much less expensive than branded Viagra, but should have the same effects. Some people do report better effects from branded medication, but this is thought to be attributable to the placebo effect. If you do not experience the desired effects from a low dose of ED medication, you will find that other doses are available, taking the same medication, but a higher dose may help improve your symptoms.


2. Levitra (Vardenafil)

Levitra contains the active ingredient vardenafil hydrochloride, which works in a similar way to Viagra by relaxing your blood vessels and improving blood flow to the penis. Like Viagra, Levitra takes 30 mins to 4 hours to take effect and the effects can last for up to 5 hours. Levitra is available in a generic form as Vardenafil. Levitra is also available in a range of doses and an orodispersible (chewable/dissolvable) form, which is suited to people who have difficulty swallowing tablets.


3. Cialis (Tadalafil)

Cialis contains the active ingredient tadalafil, which relaxes your blood vessels and improves blood flow to the penis to help you obtain an erection. Cialis should be taken 30-60 mins before sex and the effects can last for 24-36 hours. During this time, you should be able to achieve an erection following sexual stimulation. Cialis is also available in a daily form, so taking one pill a day can enable you to achieve an erection as required. If you have regular sex, or more spontaneous sex, Cialis Daily may be the best treatment for you.


4. Spedra (Avanafil)

Spedra is the fastest working ED medication available, taking effect within 15-30 mins and lasting for 4-5 hours. Therefore, Spedra is great for people who have more spontaneous sex. Spedra is not currently available in generic form, however, there are a range of strengths available, so you can find one that suits you. Different medications work better for different people. You may find some treatments more effective than others, and some medications may produce less side effects for you than others. It is quite common for men to try out a range of different ED medications, before they find the one that works best for them.


5. Lifestyle Changes

ED is often caused by underlying health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Making lifestyle changes to improve your diet, weight and fitness, may help you overcome ED. In addition, cycling has been shown to lead to ED, as it can put excessive pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis. If you feel that your ED may be caused by cycling, you could consider replacing your saddle with one that puts less pressure on your perineum (between the scrotum and anus). When cycling, it is also important to have a break if you notice any numbness or tingling in your perineum. If the cause of your ED is psychological rather that physical, improving your diet and engaging in more physical activity, may also help to reduce your anxiety levels.


6. Psychological Therapy

Not all ED has a physical cause. In younger men especially, ED is often psychological. ED can be related to performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is when you experience anxiety relating to sex. This can involve worrying about sexual health, pregnancy, satisfying your partner, body-image, sexual performance and other factors. When you have experienced ED relating to sex, this can then increase your anxiety surrounding sex, perpetuating the cycle. However, self-help tools online or psychological therapies may be able to help you break the cycle and overcome your ED. Counsellors, sex therapists and psychologists are usually available in your local area or online. If the cause of your ED is not psychological, it may still be beneficial to seek psychological help, if your ED has affected your self-esteem or mental health in any way.


7. Penis Pump

A penis pump is a hollow tube attached to a vacuum pump. You put your penis inside the tube, and the pump pulls blood into the penis to give you an erection. You can then apply a tension ring to the base of the penis, to help you maintain the erection. If you use a penis pump, ensure that you use it safely and that the pump is fitted with a safety mechanism as well. The penis pump is designed to be used immediately before sex, so it may be a good option for you if you have sex more spontaneously.


8. Intraurethral Suppository

The intraurethral suppository is a type of medication that is inserted into the urethral opening on the penis. The medication dissolved here into the bloodstream, to increase blood flow to the penis, helping you to achieve an erection. The suppository is very small and comes with an applicator, so it should not be too uncomfortable to use.


9. Penile Self-Injection

A tiny needle, in a self-injection device, is used to inject medication into the side of the penis, just before intercourse. This directly helps to increase blood flow to the penis, allowing you to obtain an erection


10. Surgical Implant

The surgical implant is generally only given in exceptional circumstances, as it is such an invasive procedure. This treatment would usually only be recommended if you have experienced an injury that means that other methods of ED treatment do not work. In the surgery, a pump is fitted into the penis and scrotum, to allow you to manually pump up the penis to achieve an artificial erection

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