What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a condition seen in men that affects the completion of sexual intercourse. With this pathology, the erection weakens or disappears entirely. An erection is a complex physiological process consisting of a system of sequential reactions. As a result of a nerve impulse in the brain, hormones are released into the bloodstream, which regulates the flow of blood to the penis. Erectile dysfunction in men occurs as a result of a problem at one of the stages of erection formation.
Depending on the causes, erectile dysfunction can be:
- Organic, in that, it develops due to a violation of the nerve impulse, where sexual desire is present but there is no physical possibility of its realization. The causes of organic erectile dysfunction include diabetes, hypertension, and hypogonadism (which is characterized by a decrease in testosterone level).
- Psychogenic, in that the nerve impulse doesn’t flow to the brain, which reduces libido.
- Mixed, in that it is formed by the actions of both psychogenic and organic factors.
During a medical visit, the specialist clarifies the clinical picture by interviewing the patient about their symptoms of erectile dysfunction and the time of their appearance. At this stage, a confidential conversation with a doctor about one’s sex life is essential. Biothesiometry, magnetic resonance imaging, hormone tests, and studies of erections at night are used to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment is prescribed based on the cause of impotence. The following are methods of treatment of erectile dysfunction in men:
- Physiotherapeutic procedures that stimulate the penis
- Normalization of lifestyle in the form of a diet and giving up bad habits
- Psychotherapy through group, family, or personal counseling
If the cause of impotence is psychological in nature, then, to restore erectile function, it is important to build a mutual understanding between sexual partners. If the patient cannot cope with the problem himself, then psychotherapy is recommended. Another mandatory condition for treatment is the normalization of sleep and rest. The patient should exclude from his diet both fatty and fried foods as well as sweets. Instead of these, it is recommended that garlic, onion, nuts, celery, and carrot be added to the menu.
Medications for the treatment of erectile dysfunction
The choice of drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on the severity of the condition and the individual characteristics of the man. If psychological factors are causing the erectile dysfunction, then treatment is carried out mainly by way of local medicines.
Medicines for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are divided into four large groups, as follows:
- Urethral. These are designed for installation into the urethra of a man with a special applicator. The procedure is carried out at 10 minutes before intercourse.
- Injection. This category includes medications that injected into the penis with a thin needle. This procedure stimulates blood flow, which provides a persistent erection for between one hour and two hours.
- Oral. Represented by pills, tablets, and capsules, which are used orally. These drugs stimulate erection due to their vasodilating action.
- Local. These include candles for rectal and intraurethral administration as well as creams and ointments that are applied directly in the groin area. The advantage of such medications is the lack of systemic effects on the male body.
Tablets and pills
These medications are intended for oral administration in a specific dosage. The active ingredients of tablets often have side effects and contraindications that must be considered by the doctor during prescribing. All pills available to treat erectile dysfunction can be divided into two main groups, as follows:
- Central action. These include selective alpha-blockers (e.g., doxazosin, yohimbine), inhibitors of nitric-oxide synthase, and testosterone replacement medications. These drugs directly affect the central nervous system.
- Peripheral action. These include phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (e.g., Cialis from Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA; Viagra from Pfizer, New York, NY, USA; Levitra from Bayer, Leverkusen, Germany), Kamagra, intracavernous injections, and nonselective alpha-blockers. Peripheral action drugs don’t affect the central nervous system but rather provide blood flow to the genitals and temporarily block the venous outflow from the penis, causing an erection.
The therapy with injections is another method used to treat erectile dysfunction that represents an alternative to the tablets. They are injected directly into the cavernous body of the penis. Such procedures help men with erectile dysfunction of a physiological or psychogenic nature. The action of the injections is to expand the blood vessels and increase blood circulation in the penis. An erection occurring after the injection typically lasts between 30 minutes and 90 minutes.
Candles are used intraurethrally or rectally. First, the suppository is injected into the urethra, from which point the substance enters the bloodstream and causes an erection after about 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Rectal candles are more effective for the treatment of erectile dysfunction seen in conjunction with prostate diseases.
Products for external use
Local medicines like creams, ointments, and gels can also be used to prevent erectile dysfunction. Besides, they can prolong the time of sexual intercourse.