Home | Health | Sexual & Reproductive Health | Erectile Dysfunction | Safe Treatment for ED

Safe Treatment for ED

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    Treatment is often sought by men who experience erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to have or maintain an erection for a period long enough to allow for sex. Methods of treatment vary, and their safety is dependent on a number of factors, such as whether they are used properly and the overall health of the patient using them.
  • Therapy

    The safest form of treatment for erectile dysfunction is counseling via a sex therapist. Unfortunately, according to the Mayo Clinic, most cases of erectile dysfunction are physical and this method of treatment can only be effective for those whose erectile dysfunction is caused by stress, depression or anxiety. In some cases, however, physical conditions can cause this, and thus the underlying cause -- be it physical or psychological -- should be determined beforehand to ensure you get the full benefit of psychological help.
  • Medication

    The most common form of treating erectile dysfunction is with medications such as Viagra. They are known as phosphodiesterase inhibitors, which work by allowing nitric oxide to work more efficiently at causing the muscles in the penis to relax, in turn allowing for a greater flow of blood and enabling an erection to occur when sexually stimulated. Although effective, there is an inherent safety risk with taking ED drugs. They should not be taken if you're currently using one of many drugs, such as blood thinners or alpha blockers, or if you have high or low blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Other forms of ED drugs include a pill known as Muse, which is inserted into the urethra before sex and causes an erection to occur, and an injection directly into these penis that can be accomplished at home. These are synthetic forms of prostaglandin E, a hormone responsible for the relaxation of muscles in the penis. Although these forms are indeed safe, they can be painful and produce unwanted side effects such as burning in the urethra and pain at the site of the injection. According to the Urology Channel, one common safety concern is internal scarring of the penis, which is common among those who abuse self-injection treatment.
  • Other Methods

    Other possible methods involve vascular surgery, used to increase blood flow to the penis; implants, which help keep the penis stiff; and penis pumps, which force blood to flow into the penis and thus cause an erection. Like the more popular methods, these are relatively safe, though with surgery there is always the potential for side effects, such as infection. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the long-term effectiveness of vascular surgery is up for debate. Surgery is often reserved for those who have not been able to benefit from more conventional measures.

    References & Resources