What’s the Best Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option for You?
Erectile dysfunction treatment options are likely to be of interest to many of the one million Australian men who are already experiencing erectile problems.
It’s now well recognised by Australian as well as international researchers that erectile dysfunction is a common issue for many men over 50.
A South Australian study showed 60 is the “tipping point” age for men to acknowledge yes, they had a problem with getting and maintaining erections that will last long enough to satisfactorily complete sex.
And the need for erection treatments isn’t going to fade away any time soon, because the Australian male population is aging. By 2021, there will be nearly 2 million more men aged over 65 than there are today.
Age is relevant, because slower erection response is an age-related condition for many men, who require erectile dysfunction treatment options to reverse the two main causes:
- Reduction of blood flow to the penis
- Declining testosterone levels
New Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options
The arrival of erectile dysfunction drug Viagra in 1998 signalled a new era for those over 40 when it comes to sex. Before then the main erectile dysfunction treatment options were mechanical devices like penis pumps and erectile injections, which are still a workable solution for some men, but cumbersome and intrusive when compared to popping a pill.
The size of the ‘Boomer’ cohort and changing attitudes to sex has led to a growing arsenal of new erectile dysfunction treatment options including:
Some of these – eg ED gene therapy and penile stents – are still at the experimental stage and are not generally available in Australia, but they indicate the further frontiers of erectile dysfunction treatment options.
What Men Want From ED Treatments
Most men when asked what sort of erectile dysfunction treatment options they want, say they prefer something that is as natural and spontaneous, as close to the “real thing” as possible.
That’s where herbal supplements, if they are effective, can have the most success, because taking them is like taking a vitamin or mineral pill; you don’t have the feeling you “have to take a pill to perform.”
However herbal supplements do take longer to work and if you are offered a “herbal” product which promises results within hours there is a good chance it is adulterated with pharmaceutical ingredients.
Available Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options
Erectile dysfunction treatment options fall into six general categories:
- Erectile dysfunction drugs – Viagra, Cialis and Levitra and more
- Mechanical solutions – penis pumps, injections, implants or surgery
- Herbal remedies like Herbal Ignite
- Topical applications: Erection creams, oils, gels and patches
- Testosterone therapy
- Life style changes – weight loss, exercise
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 1
Erectile Dysfunction Drugs
All of the pharmaceutical medicines require a doctor’s prescription and work in the same way, by increasing the blood flow to the penis for a specific period after you have taken the pill. That time varies from 3 to 4 hours for Viagra and Levitra, to up to 36 hours for Cialis.
ED drugs have commonly become known as “PDE-5 inhibitor drugs” because they inhibit the production of an enzyme which shuts down blood supply to the genital area.
ED drugs will not increase your sex drive or libido, so if your sex drive is low they will not work.
And they are all not recommended as an erectile problem remedy if you suffer from a range of health issues including heart disease, diabetes or high or low blood pressure.
While they have much in common, there are differences between the “established” three, particularly in the side effects they may cause.
Two new ED drugs, Udenafil (brand name Zydena) and Avanafil (brand name Stendra) claim to have advantages by either working faster or having fewer side effects than the older established ones.
ED drugs have limited success with men severe ED for example men who have penile nerve damage from radical prostatectomies for prostate cancer but are generally an effective erectile dysfunction treatment option for ED from physical causes.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 2
Mechanical Solutions for Erection Problems
There are a range of erectile dysfunction treatment options involving physical manipulation of the penis including:
- Doctor’s prescription and instruction on injection use needed
- Several brands available – Caverject or Edex
- The needle is very fine – The prick is “equivalent to a mosquito bite”
- Injection can cause complications like bleeding and scar tissue
- Alprostadil is also available in a prescription only topical cream from compounding chemists
- Involves fitting a rubber ring over the penis (fiddly to use and can cause bruising)
- Requires instruction for use
- Many brands available from $30 sex shop models – usually poor quality – to quality models at $500 – $700 – some rebate from private health funds
- Some side effects – bruising, numbness, pain
- Last resort treatment
- Very limited success with age-related erectile dysfunction
- Most successful for young men with normal erectile function damaged by trauma injury
- High risk of post op complications or infection
These mechanical erectile treatment dysfunction options offer the most hope for men with severe erectile dysfunction caused by surgery or physical illness and who do not respond to oral ED treatments.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 3
Herbal Remedies for Erection Problems
At least a dozen herbs have been identified in traditional medicine as:
- Good for improving sexual health
- Available in a range of formulations
- Usually to be taken daily over a period of weeks or months
- Use trusted brands as many herbal pills marketed on the web are adulterated with undeclared ingredients including drugs
Some of the best known include
- Tribulus terrestris, which may raise testosterone levels by stimulating the body to product more of this male hormone
- Horny goat weed, which contains a natural PDE-5 inhibitor – like the synthetic form found in erectile drugs – and which helps with blood flow to the penis
Other herbal erectile dysfunction treatment options work best in combination with other herbs. They include Ginseng, tongkat ali, gingko biloba, damiana and avena sativa.
Herbal Ignite for Erectile Dysfunction
Herbal Ignite is an herbal erectile dysfunction treatment option which has been successfully marketed to thousands of men in Australia and New Zealand since 1998.
It contains three herbs recognised as effective for treating ED; tribulus terrestris, horny goat weed and avena sativa. It is taken daily for two to three months for the best results.
Herbal Ignite contains many natural actives working together, so men often notice benefits in addition to the erection remedy including:
- Increased energy
- Reduced stress
- Enhanced sexual response
- General feeling of well-being
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 4
Topical applications: erection creams, sprays, oils and gels
Creams, gels and oils fall into two general categories:
Web-advertised erection creams, gels and oils
- Applied directly to the penis
- Of very doubtful quality and effectiveness
- Often fail to declare ingredients or formulation
- Most common ingredient is Yohimbe which is not approved as a listed herb in the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Act, and so cannot legally be included in erection creams sold within Australia because of unwanted side effects, including heart attacks, associated with the herb
- Some may contain L-arginine, which may be effective in the right formulation
Prescription only creams or gels
- Contains a mix of drugs usually including alprostadil
- Available from sexual health specialists
- Brand names Tri-Mix or Vitaros
- Made to doctor’s instructions by compounding pharmacies
- Your family doctor is unlikely to have the experience to assist with prescribing this treatment – you will need a specialist
- Costly for the advice and formulation
Erection sprays – pharmaceutical and general
- Can work for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction;
- You will need to see a doctor for a prescription
- May be expensive
- Beware companies wanting to put you on an automatic renewal plan debiting your credit card quarterly. Customers of these types of marketers find it difficult to get the payments stopped.
- Unlikely to make any difference
- Sprays which promise penis enlargement are preying on the gullible
The range on offer here goes from the totally wild and fanciful to scientifically-based treatments like testosterone patches which are successful for some men with low testosterone.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 5
Low testosterone levels will cause erectile dysfunction as well as low sex drive.
Obese men often have low testosterone levels, and German research has shown men on testosterone replacement therapy lose weight steadily for years.
An Australian study led by Professor Gary Wittert, a clinical endocrinologist of the University of Adelaide, showed men with low testosterone are also more likely to also be depressed and diabetic.
Testosterone can be delivered in a number of different ways:
- or patches
To activate a testosterone erectile dysfunction treatment option:
You will need to see your doctor and go on a monitored programme to track testosterone levels under treatment.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Option 6
Lifestyle Changes for Erectile Dysfunction
Making changes like improving your diet and exercising can improve or reverse symptoms of erectile dysfunction, according to Australian and international research.
Shedding as little as 5 per cent of body weight over eight weeks helped obese diabetic men reverse erectile dysfunction, a study led by Dr. Gary Wittert at the University of Adelaide concluded.
The researchers found that modest weight loss rapidly reversed sexual and urinary problems that plague men with diabetes. And the effects lasted for as long as a year, making it a highly effective erectile dysfunction treatment option.
The Harvard medical newsletter reports similar results from an Italian study which randomly assigned 110 obese men with ED to
- a diet and exercise program or to
- continue their usual care
After two years:
- more than 30% of the men in the diet and exercise group had corrected their ED without medication
- compared with less than 6% in the group on usual medical care
- Men who lost the most weight enjoyed the greatest benefit
Adelaide-based Dr Wittert says his experience with diabetic patients has convinced him of the benefits of exercise to improve men’s health. He advises:
“Instead of sitting down in front of the telly, take your wife by the hand and say, ‘Come, darling, let’s go for a walk,'” he says.
“After a month of this, her heart will get fonder and your erection will get stronger.”
Make the following lifestyle changes as an erectile dysfunction treatment option:
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Take more exercise
- Reduce stress
- Limit alcohol intake
- Get plenty of good quality sleep
The multitude of erectile dysfunction treatment options available means there should be something suitable for you. Research your health needs, talk to sexual health specialists and your partner and don’t delay in seeking a solution any longer!