What is ED?
Problems with erections are very common, especially as men get older. It can be seen as an embarrassing problem, but sometimes is not really viewed as an illness. It is important to get seen by a doctor as soon as possible as it can actually be a symptom of a more serious condition. Furthermore, it can often be treated.
Patients who have problems with erections must be assessed by a suitably trained doctor, usually a urologist, to exclude serious underlying diseases such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the arteries) and neurological diseases, all of which require specialist treatment. There is a close relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease of the heart so close attention will be paid to the patient’s risk factors, such as cigarette smoking.
A urologist using a combination of carefully selected medical treatments and lifestyle changes can manage the vast majority of ED very successfully. Surgery is rarely necessary as these treatments are highly effective.
The treatment that is required will vary depending on the cause of the erectile dysfunction. If the causes are biological, then there are a number of different options. It is incredibly important not to self-diagnose or attempt to self-treat before seeing a doctor. This is because a person may not know the underlying cause, and treating a symptom could mean either the wrong treatment is taken, or the more serious issue is left to develop.
A range of medical treatments is available for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, and can be considered after assessment by a urologist. Such treatments include Viagra-type drugs. Other drugs are available and vacuum devices are also highly effective in patients that wish to avoid taking drugs or for whom such drugs are not appropriate.
Vacuum devices are highly effective in patients that wish to avoid taking drugs or for whom such drugs are not appropriate. These are non-invasive, mechanical pumps and work by putting the penis into a plastic cylinder, where the area air then removed with a pump. This creates a vacuum that causes the penis to fill with blood, leading to an erection. A constriction ring is then put on the base oft he penis to prevent blood from escaping, keeping the erection in place.
The constriction ring should be kept on less than 30 minutes, and it must be removed as soon as intercourse is complete.