To help with erectile dysfunction, your doctor might recommend one of these therapies, alone or in combination.
Losing weight, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking are lifestyle changes you can make to improve erectile function and overall health.
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by stress, anxiety or depression — or the condition is creating stress and relationship tension — your doctor might suggest that you, or you and your partner, visit a psychologist or counselor.
Oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment for many men. They include:
Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
All four medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide — a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
Taking one of these tablets will not automatically produce an erection. Sexual stimulation is needed first to cause the release of nitric oxide from your penile nerves. These medications amplify that signal, allowing some men to function normally.
The medications vary in dosage, how long they work and side effects. Possible side effects include flushing, nasal congestion, headache, visual changes, backache and stomach upset.
Some men have erectile dysfunction that might be complicated by low levels of the hormone testosterone. In this case, testosterone therapy might be recommended alone or in combination with other therapies.
Alprostadil urethral suppository (MUSE)
Alprostadil intraurethral (Muse) therapy involves placing a tiny alprostadil suppository inside your penis in the penile urethra. You use a special applicator to insert the suppository into your penile urethra.
The erection usually starts within 10 minutes and, when effective, lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. Side effects can include pain, minor bleeding in the urethra and formation of fibrous tissue inside your penis.
Penis pump (VED)
A penis pump (vacuum erection device) is a hollow tube with a hand-powered or battery-powered pump. The tube is placed over your penis, and then the pump is used to suck out the air inside the tube. This creates a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis.
Once you get an erection, you slip a tension ring around the base of your penis to hold in the blood and keep it firm. You then remove the vacuum device.
The erection typically lasts long enough for a couple to have sex. You remove the tension ring after intercourse. Bruising of the penis is a possible side effect, and ejaculation will be restricted by the band. Your penis might feel cold to the touch.
Penile Injection (ICI)
You use a fine needle to inject the medication alprostadil (Caverject Impulse, Edex) into the base or side of your penis. In some cases, medications generally used for other conditions are used for penile injections on their own or in combination. Examples include papaverine, alprostadil and phentolamine. Often these combination medications are known as bimix (if two medications are included) or trimix (if three are included).
Each injection is dosed to create an erection lasting no longer than an hour. Because the needle used is very fine, pain from the injection site is usually minor.
Side effects can include mild bleeding from the injection, prolonged erection (priapism) and, rarely, formation of fibrous tissue at the injection site.