Sexual dysfunction in men (also called as erectile dysfunction) is a condition that is characterized by the inability of an individual to either get an erection at all or hold an erection properly (long enough) during sexual intercourse.
The condition is usually prevalent in aged individuals although it is not completely restricted to age alone. In certain cases, physical or emotional disturbances can cause a young man to get erectile dysfunction as well.
Many individuals tend to ignore the initial symptoms of sexual dysfunction as trivial disorders that would disappear on their own. Even though erectile dysfunction is not a cause for immediate concern, it can signify a deeper and more serious underlying health condition that would need immediate treatment. As such, the condition is said to be serious if the symptoms persist for more than 3 months.
Common Causes For Sexual Dysfunction In Men
Sexual dysfunction in men can be caused by a variety of physical and psychological reasons. The more common ones include physical conditions like hypertension, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol levels that affect the blood flow to the penile organ during sexual intercourse, physical injuries to the spinal cord and pelvis, conditions like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis that have an impact on the central nervous system, conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and hypogonadism.
which affect the hormonal levels in the body, psychological problems like stress, depression or loss of interest in sex, prostate surgery, use of certain medications like beta blockers, anti-depressants, hydrochlorothiazide and calcium channel blockers, and unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking and drug abuse etc.
Treatment Options For Sexual Dysfunction In Men
There are several treatment options available for erectile dysfunction. These include physical treatment options from pills, pumps and surgeries etc. to psychological treatment options like sex therapy classes or counseling sessions. The specific option chosen for the treatment would depend on the prognosis and the severity of the condition.
Diagnosing The Condition First
Before opting for any form of treatment for erectile dysfunction, the doctor would opt for a few tests to find out the underlying reason for the condition.
These include routine physical examinations, psychological tests (that deal with previous sexual experiences and the individual’s state of mind), lab tests (to check for other diseases that could possibly be causing the dysfunction), color phase ultrasonography tests (to measure the flow of blood to the penile organ) and nocturnal penile tumescence tests (also called as erection self tests which check whether the problem stems from physical or psychological sources). The results of a few or all these tests would help the doctor choose the best form of treatment for the condition.
Oral Pills To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Certain prescription medications can help treat sexual dysfunction in men effectively. When taken orally, these medications can help increase the blood flow to the penile organ by relaxing the muscles of the organ. An increase in blood flow to the organ would thus stimulate an erection and enable the individual to hold it for longer periods. Common pills that are usually prescribed for this purpose include Levitra, Viagra, Sildenafil and Cialis etc.
Note: Even though these pills would effectively treat erectile dysfunction in men, they could cause some temporary side effects like nasal blocks, headaches, blurred vision and indigestion etc. It is also considered imperative to not use these medications in conjunction with nitrates (like nitroglycerine) as doing so could lead to harmful side effects like low blood pressure levels, heart palpitation and even heart attacks etc.
Constriction Rings To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Also called as ‘Cock Rings’, constriction rings are small bands that are usually slipped on near the base of the penile organ after getting an erection. An erection is achieved when blood flows into the penis. The constriction band would then prevent the blood from flowing out rapidly, thereby prolonging the erection for a comparatively longer period.
Note: Constriction rings can be used only to prolong an erection and not to get one. The rings can be a bit uncomfortable to wear and would need to be removed within 30 minutes of using them. In certain cases, they can cause pain or numbness in the genital area, following which they need to be removed immediately.
Penile Vacuum Pumps To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Usually available over the counter at a majority of drug stores, the penile vacuum pumps would help treat erectile dysfunction during sexual intercourse. The process involves using the pump to pump out excess air from the tube (and the penile organ). This would cause blood to flow into the organ (replacing the air), leading to an erection. Following this, the tube is detached from the penile organ and a constriction ring is slipped over the base of the organ to prolong the erection.
Note: The constriction band would need to be removed within 30 minutes of slipping it on.
Penile Injections To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
In case the oral medications do not seem to have any impact on the condition, the doctor would recommend injections that would be administered either at the side or the base of the penile organ. The procedure would involve using a tiny needle to inject a drug or suppository directly into the urethra. The medication would have a direct effect on the penile organ and help treat erectile dysfunction effectively.
Common drugs that are used for this procedure include alprostadil and prostacyclin E. In certain cases, medications like alpha blocker phenatolamine and vasodilator papaverine etc. are injected into the penis along with the above mentioned drugs to increase the effectiveness of the same.
And while these injections are usually administered by a doctor, with time the individual can learn to administer them himself at home. However, the doses would need to be carefully measured and adhered to in order to avoid unnecessary side effects.
Penile Implants To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Of late, more and more individuals are opting for penile implants to treat conditions like erectile dysfunction. There are generally two types of penile implants used for the condition. They include:
Malleable Implants: These are semi-rigid rods that are easily bendable. When implanted in the penile organ, they can be manually manipulated to take up a flaccid or erect position.
Inflatable Implants: These implants consist of two cylinders and a hydraulic pump. The cylinders are implanted into the individual erection chambers in the penis while the pump is implanted into the scrotum. During sexual intercourse, the pump would feed a saline solution to the cylinders in the erection chambers, thereby inflating them. This would in turn lead to a proper erection.
Surgical Options To Treat Sexual Dysfunction
Surgery is usually considered as the last resort for individuals who don’t benefit from any or all of the treatment methods mentioned above. In this case, the individual would need to undergo a vascular surgery that would aim to restore normal blood flow and function to the penile organ.
Note: Vascular surgery is rarely performed and does not guarantee a positive outcome. It can also cause temporary (but bothersome) side effects like infections, bleeding and reactions to pain control medications etc.