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The treatment for your erectile dysfunction will depend on what is causing it. If, for example, you are diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes, the ED may go away on its own once the condition causing it is under control. Other approaches can also be helpful, either alone or in combination.
If the cause of ED cannot be linked to a specific medical condition a physician may recommend some healthy lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting more exercise and/or taking steps to reduce stress may be all that is needed to get back proper erectile function.
If an erection can be achieved during sleep but not for sex, seeing a sex therapist may help. Between sessions, a therapist may assign tasks such as reading books about sexuality, practicing exercises designed to reduce performance anxiety, and strengthening sexual communication skills.
If it is determined that the ED is not being caused by a serious medical issue, a physician may prescribe a medication such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). These drugs intensify the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes the muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows an erection to occur in response to sexual stimulation.
Testosterone levels is one of the main contributors to a man’s sex drive and erections. Men have their highest levels of testosterone in their early 20s. Sex tends to be a high priority and sexual performance seems to be at its best. As men age, they lose 1% of testosterone every year. Eventually testosterone levels drop below a certain point, and men notice a significant decline in sex drive and erectile function. Testosterone replacement has been shown to improve erectile dysfunction and libido in many men.
If less invasive methods of treating ED are not effective, a penile implant (also called a penile prosthesis) may be a good option. This is a surgically implanted device that can enable you to have an erection using either a pump (inflatable implant) or a manual mechanism (malleable implant).
Penile implant surgery usually takes 45 minutes to an hour, during which you’ll be under either general or local anesthesia. You will need to stay in the hospital overnight, and most men can resume all normal activities about six weeks after surgery.
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To learn more about erectile dysfunction treatments at Houston Methodist or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-790-3333.