What Medical Help is given to Patients with Erectile Dysfunction?
After a patient is a diagnosed with erectile dysfunction by his physician, the first step is to determine the root cause and come up with an appropriate treatment plan. Erectile dysfunction may be caused by a variety of factors ranging from psychological to hormonal to lifestyle related among others. Some of the popular tests carried out to determine the problem, some of which are routine while others are much more specific, include:
- Blood test
- Urine analysis
- Hormone profile
- Nerve testing
- Psychometric testing
- Duplex ultrasound
Once the problem has been discovered, the appropriate medication is prescribed. Usually, this medicine deals with any physiological problems that may be causing erectile dysfunction such as neurogenic disorders. In addition to that, phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as Viagra (sildenafil) may also be prescribed. These drugs work by inhibiting the process of detumescence which is the opposite of erection and happens after ejaculation. By preventing detumescence, these drugs make an erection achievable and prolonged. If these drugs do not work or may not be preferred by the physician because of factors such as age, other treatments may be in order.
How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?
- Hormone Therapy:
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by excessive or low production of particular hormones. Hormone therapy involves controlling the hormones that are crucial to this condition by either decreasing or increasing their levels in the blood stream. Low testosterone and prostaglandins can result in erectile dysfunction. Treatment for this involves testosterone replacement therapy and prostaglandin injections as discussed earlier. Excessive production of prolactin which is especially produced when one is stressed can also cause erectile dysfunction. Excessive production of thyroid hormones may also indirectly cause erectile dysfunction by boosting prolactin levels. Hormone therapy involves hormone profile tests and regulation of hormones.
- Vacuum Pumps:
Vacuum pumps can be used prior to sexual intercourse to induce erections. They work by drawing blood into the penis resulting in a sizeable and long lasting erection. Vacuum pumps are very appropriate for erectile dysfunction as they are easy to work with, hardly have any side effects and work quite well. However, they should not be confused with other penis pumps that are available out there which are meant to aid masturbation. To be on the safe side, use vacuum pumps recommended by your physician.
- Injection Therapy:
Drugs such as phentolamine and papaverin may be injected directly into the penis to treat erectile dysfunction. Papaverin works by relaxing smooth muscles hence enabling blood flow into the penis. Some studies have also proved that papaverin is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Phentolamine works by expanding blood vessels thereby directing blood flow into the penis. Another form of injection therapy is injecting the hormone, prostaglandin directly into the penis to induce erections hence treating erectile dysfunction.
- Topical Cream Therapy:
Topical creams work the same way injection do that is; they induce blood flow into the penis. In addition, papaverin is actually manufactured as an injection and a topical cream. Alprostadil is also another popular topical cream used to treat erectile dysfunction. Topical creams are the first line and often the most preferred form of treatment by physicians.
- Surgery: Penile Prosthesis:
Surgery is often a last resort and is preferred if all other forms of treatment do not work or are less likely to make any impact. Penile prosthesis involves implanting rods into the penis. This procedure is often performed in cases where the penis has been severely damaged, for instance, injury through accidents or cell death.
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy:
Testosterone is a hormone that is abundantly secreted in the male body that is, secreted by the testicles. Testosterone is responsible for sex drive and muscle bulk among other things. Production of testosterone reduces with age which may lead to erectile dysfunction. Testosterone replacement therapy can therefore be a suitable treatment. This treatment plan involves introducing testosterone into the body through various forms: injections, oral tablets, testosterone patch, gel or stick. The testosterone stick is normally used like deodorant. Side effects of this treatment include acne and hair thinning. In addition, testosterone replacement therapy is not recommended for men who are predisposed to prostrate or breast cancer.
What are the Alternative/Herbal Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?
- Ginkgo is a herb that has shown a certain amount of effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction as it increases blood flow into the penis. Side effects may include excessive bleeding.
- Increasing zinc intake is helpful as it boosts testosterone production.
- Horny goat weed is a herbal substance that can treat erectile dysfunction, but it may also lower blood pressure.
- Ginseng significantly improves male sexual function. Insomnia is a side effect.
- Exercise and a healthy diet.
- Reduce alcohol intake.
- Quit smoking.
What are the Medical Terms Related to Erectile Dysfunction Treatment?
Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with diagnosis and treatment of cancer. When diagnosing erectile dysfunction, blood tests and screening may be performed by an oncologist to determine if the problem is due to cancer or as a result of cancer treatment.
Urology is a medical specialty that deals with the male reproductive system as well as both the male and female urinary tract systems. Urologists often treat erectile dysfunction. Urogynecology is a urology sub specialty that involves treating urinary inconsistencies relating to the female pelvic floor.
Laparoscopy is a surgical and diagnosis technique that involves using small incisions and cameras to diagnose diseases and perform surgeries. This technique is especially used when performing surgeries in the abdomen and pelvis.
- Stone Disease:
Stone disease or kidney stones is a medical condition whereby mineral crystals in urine block the urinary tract. This condition is quite painful and uncomfortable and may disrupt the male reproductive system which is interconnected to the urinary system to a great extent.
- Pediatric Urology:
Pediatric urology deals with medical conditions that affect the genitourinary system of children.
- Reproductive and Sexual Medicine:
This is a wide field in medicine that deals with the reproductive and sexual health of patients and tackles diseases such as erectile dysfunction.
In conclusion, erectile dysfunction has various treatments tailored to meet each patient’s special needs. Herbal remedies also exist but a majority of them have side effects. To be on the safe side, use safe and tested treatment methods as recommended by your physician.