Most men have the experience of being unable to maintain an erection at some point or other, and that’s normal. When you can’t get an erection or keep on long enough to have sex on a regular basis, or if it disrupts your sex life, you may have erectile dysfunction (ED).
At Living Waters Regenerative Medicine Center, Dr. Deborah Viglione and her staff understand that discussing your sexual health can be uncomfortable. We provide compassionate care and offer effective treatments. A healthy sex life is part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and we want you to be healthy.
Defining erectile dysfunction
ED may be the most common type of sexual dysfunction affecting men. An occasional problem with an erection doesn’t indicate ED, but if you have problems about 20% of the time, you may have ED. If you have problems half the time, it could mean you have a medical problem.
Experts aren’t sure exactly how prevalent ED is, but they agree that your risk increases with age. As many as 25% of men under age 40 may have ED, but around half of men between 40 and 70 have some form of it.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
There’s a long list of potential problems that could result in ED, from taking certain medications to serious underlying diseases such as heart disease. Your doctor needs to understand your medical history and your current health and to order some tests before diagnosing the cause of your ED.
A few of the common reasons men struggle to get or keep an erection include:
- Alcohol use
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety or depression
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Trauma to the penis
- Atherosclerosis (narrowed, hardening arteries)
This list isn’t comprehensive, and having one of these conditions doesn’t mean you’ll develop ED, but it helps you understand that many things can affect your sexual health.
Treatments for erectile dysfunction
Finding the most effective treatment for your erectile dysfunction depends on many factors. For example, if you have atherosclerosis and blood doesn’t properly flow, it can affect your ability to have an erection. The best treatment is to get your blood flowing, likely with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to address atherosclerosis.
Here, we discuss four common treatments that often work well in treating ED.
1. Lifestyle changes
If you have heart disease, lifestyle changes are usually necessary, but those changes can also help stop your ED. Obesity can cause ED, so losing some weight can help.
Quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating a healthier diet are all important elements of a healthy life, and they can also improve ED.
2. Oral medication
A certain type of drug, called a PDE5 inhibitor, can help improve blood flow to your penis. These medications are FDA-approved, and you usually take it an hour or two prior to having sex. Most men, around 70%, respond well to these drugs.
However, men who are taking certain medications to treat heart disease should not take PDE5 inhibitors, and men with diabetes may not respond as well to them.
3. Hormone therapy
If you have low levels of testosterone, you may have both a low sex drive and ED. Hormone therapy may help. Dr. Viglione offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help balance your hormones.
This treatment involves using low-intensity shock waves to improve blood flow. GAINSwave treatments are noninvasive, completely natural, and they break up plaque formations in your blood vessels. There’s no need for medications or devices.
5. PRP therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a method of harnessing your body’s own regenerative, healing capabilities. Dr. Viglione uses a small sample of your own blood and extracts the growth factors and proteins to stimulate healing and improve sexual function.
Tailored advice for erectile dysfunction
The most important part of finding an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction is understanding why you’re having problems. Identifying the underlying issue can give Dr. Viglione a good idea of what treatment may work best for you.
Schedule your appointment today for a consultation so we can develop a treatment plan designed to suit your lifestyle and needs to improve your sexual health!