Erectile Dysfunction: Current Options and Answers
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Erectile Dysfunction: Current Options and Answers

From injections to suppositories to over-the-counter pumps, science continues to seek new ways for man to maintain or recapture an active sex life, and, of course, bring pleasure to that certain special someone.

As most adults are aware, treatment for men unable to achieve a natural erection took a giant step forward when the first oral erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, Viagra, hit the market in 1998.

Easy to use, fast-acting, and predictable, Viagra--and now a whole host of similar drugs--has added an entirely new dimension to the sex lives of the many men who’d thought that sex would have to remain just a pleasant memory of younger days.

But as effective as Viagra is for countless men, it is not the answer for all men suffering erectile dysfunction--for a wide variety of reasons. And it is for those reasons that science continues to explore other options; vastly improving less effective options from the past, while seeking new approaches that may be effective for every man in the future.

From injections to suppositories to over-the-counter pumps, science continues to seek new ways for man to maintain or recapture an active sex life, and, of course, bring pleasure to that certain special someone.

> Prescription Pharmaceuticals

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Drugs like Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil) enable men to achieve erections by increasing blood flow to the penis by relaxing smooth muscles within the penis. With a documented 70% effectiveness rate, these popular pills are deemed safe for most users.

However, a small percentage of users will experience a range of unpleasant side-effects including headaches, sinus congestion, indigestion, heart palpitations, blurred vision, and a prolonged erection--sometimes lasting several hours--but seldom severe enough to discontinue use. (Manufacturers do warn against combining these drugs with nitroglycerine pills for chest pain, or recreational drugs known as "poppers," which can not only lower blood pressure to dangerous levels, but can even cause heart attacks.

> Herbal Alternatives

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The area of erectile dysfunction curatives gaining perhaps the greatest attention in recent years, herbal remedies is also, of course, the oldest. With at least 2000 years of tried-and-true testimonial, herbs like maca root, yohimbe, horny goat weed, damiana, Spanish fly, caterpillar fungus, and tongkat ali have all proven amazingly effective for countless men from around the world who want to use something nature provides.

> Intracavernosal Injection Therapy

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If you’re among that 30% for whom oral medications like Viagra are ineffective, some doctors recommend an injectable medication that is introduced via a tiny needle directly into the base or side of the penis. Alprostadil, a synthetic version of prostaglandin E1 (a hormone-like substance that functions similarly to erectile dysfunction pills) is one of the more common, and effective. (A doctor generally teaches patients or their wives how to perform the injections themselves.)

> Intraurethral Suppositories

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For men who are queasy about the prospect of repeatedly inserting a needle into their manhood, a suppository called MUSE (containing the drug alprostadil) is also available, though it is reported to be less effective than injections. Inserted into the urethra where it is slowly absorbed, clinical urologists concur that it often loses some of its strength due to unpredictable absorption rate, making injections the more preferable in terms of reliability.

Additionally, as with injectable erectile dysfunction medications, MUSE carries the same primary complaint: men say the takes time to prepare and administer the medication often takes away from the spontaneity of sex and tends to make the sexual experience less enjoyable for both their partner and themselves.

> Penis Vacuum Pumps

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Before the advent of Viagra and similar drugs, the most popular erectile dysfunction remedy was the penis vacuum pump. Considered quite effective for its time (and still the method of choice for some men), the mechanism increases blood flow to the penis by forcing air out of the cylinder, thus pulling blood into the erectile tissue of the penis. Available over-the-counter at relatively low cost, the one drawback is that a constriction "cock" ring often needs to be slipped over the base of the penis to maintain a erection and that the penis sometimes remains hard even after climax--until the ring is released.

> Penis Constriction Rings

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Penis constriction rings and tourniquets (which have been in existence for hundreds of years, and sporting a cock's comb in ancient China), are worn around the base of the penis to slow down the speed at which blood leaves the penis. While constriction rings won't increase blood flow into the penis, they can prolong an erection once achieved (using a vacuum pump, for instance).

Doctors warn that penis rings should not be worn for more than 30 minutes and should be removed immediately if you experience cold, numbness, or pain in the genital area.

> Penile Implants

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In use for several decades now, penile implants come in two varieties: inflatable and malleable--and reported to be increasingly more effective in recent years with design improvements.

Inflatable implants are tubular cylinders which are implanted directly into the erection chambers of the penis, which can be blown up via a hydraulic pump implanted in the scrotum; some models utilize a reservoir for feeding saline solution through the pump.

Malleable implants, on the other hand, are semi-rigid, bendable rods that are implanted inside the penis, which can then be manipulated manually into an erect or flaccid position (and do not typically accomodate climax).

> Penile Vascular Surgery

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While vascular, penile surgery is rarely necessary, for about .01% of men for whom other medicines and mechanisms are ineffective, it is currently the only viable option. Performed by only a handful of surgeons in the US, the operation does not have a high rate of success, but does offer an option for men willing to take the risk.

A look to the future . . .

Testosterone replacement therapy, subcutaneous computer chip implants, topical erection creams, even robotic surgery are all areas currently being explored by the scientific community to treat erectile dysfunction, but with far less success at this point in time. But one thing we can be sure of, if there is a way to engineer a better erection, science will find it.

References:

http://www.urologicalcare.com/other-ed-treatments/penile-injection-therapy/

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.increase-penis.co.uk/webimages/penile_implant.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.increase-penis.co.uk/penis-implants-surgery.html&usg=__mW6O2kWzxNO4hRH56Vox76NLcXY=&h=322&w=348&sz=15&hl=en&start=0&sig2=RnwQ8k8aMCuCLCIflyPVDw&zoom=1&tbnid=xJPcz5joNVe04M:&tbnh=165&tbnw=178&ei=x28ATqKHOJHAtgf9n8ynDg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpenis%2Bimplants%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D1174%26bih%3D650%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=561&vpy=88&dur=892&hovh=216&hovw=233&tx=124&ty=109&page=1&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0&biw=1174&bih=650

http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/lifestyle_changes_help_prevent_erectile_dysfunction_000015_8.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/impotence_ed/page9.htm

Thumb via: http://www.dogpile.com/dogpile/ws/results/Images/erectile%20dysfunction/3/0/0/Relevance/zoom=off/qi=37/qk=18/bepersistence=true/_iceUrlFlag=7?_IceUrl=true

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>  Libido and Diet

>  Sex and Older Women

>  Sex and the Five Senses

>  Sex in Midlife

>  Caterpillar Fungus

>  How to Make Sex Better and Better

>  The Pros and Cons of Male Circumcision

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Comments (13)

A rich and educative work. I still believe that the best way to maintain good erection is through the intake of fruits, vegs and good food. We in Africa rely more on these natural methods than the artificial ones. A good share; as usual.

Thanks, Daniel for the input. Personally, I've always been an strong advocate of herb use, but you never really know if you've made the right choice until much later in life.

Very informative and valuable advice for a huge array of people.Thanks for posting

Ranked #9 in Sexual Health

good article thanks

Thanks, Carol and Abdel-moniem. Appreciated.

Good information for women to know s most men do not dicuss this topic with their women, Thanks.. James

Glad I could provide insight, Francina.

You have written another well-presented and well-done article on a very informative topic. Thanks for sharing

The commercials on this subject are as bad today as it is for feminine products and it sometimes can be too much. The statistics on how many men have sought out help when years ago the subject was never approached. It is good that men can get help to make them feel better and be as productive as they can be...there certainly is enough medical aids for females...why not men! Promoted!

Good morning James, just coming by to read some comments and.....

Glad you did, Daniel!

Very well presented James. I suppose a healthy lifestyle is basically more effective than considering the last minute alternative that will eventually lead a man's last hope to a state of frustrated softness and eventual dysfunction.

Thanks, Deep Blue. And a man should never underestimate the "use it or lose it" quality.

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