Movember Monthly Article 1: Erectile dysfunction – Getting Hard isn’t Hard

Erectile dysfunction ishe inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. Up to 50 % of men at the age of 50 may experience erectile dysfunction.

This week we explore the many causes of erectile dysfunction and various methods to get around it.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Having problems keeping an erection once in a while isn’t necessarily a cause for concern but if it is an ongoing issue, it can affect your self confidence and relationships. Problems keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires medical attention and a risk for heart disease.

Some of the common causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Obstructive Sleep apnea
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Hormonal problems.
  • Psychological causes such as depression and anxiety or even performance related issues.

Some medications/prior treatment can also cause erectile dysfunction:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Benzodiazepines
  • SSRI Antidepressants
  • Alcohol
  • Prostate Cancer Treatment

What is the best treatment for erectile dysfunction

Lifestyle modifications are considered first-line therapy can can have a significant impact in ED management. However, despite the benefits of behaviour modification, men presenting with ED may want the physician to help with measures that can have an immediate impact.

What is viagra?

Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor which works by increasing blood flow to the penis. Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors have been the mainstay of ED treatment since 1998. These medications are able to induce good effect within a short period of time and various medications have different duration of potency.

There are also different methods of dosing, for example to take a dose before intimacy or to take a tablet everyday. PDE5 inhibitors are considered very safe and effective but a doctor will need to review you medications to ensure there arent any interactions, especially with nitrates.

It is also important to take as what your doctor has prescribed. Overdosing can lead to irreversible side effects such as blindness. It is also important that you obtain your medication from a registered clinic/pharmacy. 80% of websites claiming to sell Viagra were in fact selling counterfeits.

Are there other medications other than Viagra?

Injections such as alprostadil can also help to induce erection. A small needle is used to inject the medication into the side of the penis through a small-gauge needle.

An intraurethral form is also available, consisting of a tiny pellet of drug inserted into the urethra.

Non-medical approaches

1. Vacuum constriction devices are clear plastic chambers placed over the penis, which directs blood into the penis. If an adequate erection occurs inside the chamber, the patient may slip a small constriction band off the end of the VCD and onto the base of the penis. An erection beyond 30 min is not recommended.

2. Low-Intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a useful and noninvasive treatment for erectile dysfunction. This consists of low-intensity shock waves that are applied to different areas of the penis, stimulating new blood vessel growth and improving blood flow.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you’re concerned about erectile dysfunction, speak to your doctor. Psychosexual counselling can sometimes play a huge difference. Treating an underlying condition is enough to reverse erectile dysfunction and given how common it is, there is no need to be embarrassed to seek professional advice. Lifestyle modifications, medications or other direct treatments might be needed. This is available through our telemedicine service.

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