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Nonsurgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

What Are Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction?

Patient Comments
  • Most men with erectile dysfunction, troubles achieving and/or maintaining an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse, can achieve an erection with medical or surgical erectile dysfunction treatment(s), regardless of the cause of the erectile dysfunction.
  • Many reasonable nonsurgical erectile dysfunction (impotence) treatment options exist, including external vacuum devices, medications (oral and topical), hormonal therapy, penile injection therapy, and intraurethral pellet therapy. Sex counseling to further improve one's sexual health and sex life is another option and is discussed in Living With Erectile Dysfunction.
  • In selected cases and under the supervision of an experienced urologist who treats impotence, therapy combining several of these methods can be used. If none of these therapies is satisfactory, surgical treatment, such as a penile prosthesis, can be considered.
  • Erectile dysfunction may be the result of arterial and non-arteritic causes. Hardening of the arteries that bring blood into the penis, atherosclerosis, is a common cause of erectile dysfunction, particularly in men with cardiovascular disease. However, problems with the nerves that supply the penis as well as the veins that drain blood out of the penis can also cause troubles with erection. Erectile dysfunction may also have a psychological cause.

Can Lifestyle Changes Help Erectile Dysfunction?

Common medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Thus, optimal management of these diseases may help prevent the development or progression of erectile dysfunction. Lifestyle modifications to improve vascular function, including smoking cessation, losing weight if overweight, and exercising regularly, may be helpful.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Nonsurgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction:

Nonsurgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction - Treatment

What medical treatment did you receive for erectile dysfunction?

Nonsurgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction - Medications

What ED medications have worked well for you?

Causes of Impotence

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or male impotence is defined as the inability of a male to achieve and/or maintain a hard enough erection sufficient for satisfactory completion of sexual activity.

Sexual health and function are important determinants of quality of life. As males age, erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is more common. Erectile dysfunction often has a negative impact on sex life and overall quality of life for both the male experiencing the erectile troubles and his partner.

Erectile dysfunction is often associated with a number of common medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, nervous system disorders, depression, and the medications used to treat these conditions. Psychologic problems such as anxiety and stress can also affect erectile function.


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Sexual health and function are important determinants of quality of life.

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