ED isn’t just a natural part of aging that you’re stuck accepting. Guys with ED have several erectile dysfunction treatment options to consider, depending on the reason for their ED. The sooner you learn about ED treatment alternatives, the sooner you can go back to sharing and enjoying intimate moments with your significant other.
Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosis
There are many different body parts that play an essential role for a man to get and maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Beyond the physical causes that can lead to ED, it has been reported that 20% of ED is related to psychological causes.2 With so many possibilities leading to erectile dysfunction, it becomes particularly important to find a specialist who can correctly diagnosis the direct cause of your ED and find a treatment option that is right for you.
Often, a physical exam and a discussion regarding medical history will be enough to diagnosis erectile dysfunction and start you on your treatment pathway.22 As discussed in the “Causes of ED” page; however, there can be many different underlying reasons that have led to ED, and additional tests may be needed to determine the exact cause.
Tests to determine the cause of ED:22
- Physical Exam – an examination of the testicles and penis while also checking nerves for sensation.
- Blood Tests – Can help to identify signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone, and other health issues.
- Urine Tests – Similar to a blood test, a urine test can help identify diabetes or other potential causes.
- Ultra Sound – This test is usually conducted by a specialist to determine if there is a lack of blood flow which is preventing you from getting an erection.
There are many different treatment options for erectile dysfunction, but your diagnosis will determine which treatment option is right for you. It is important to realize that not all treatment options will work for everyone. A doctor who has specialized in men’s sexual health (typically a urologist) will be the most qualified to discuss all of your treatment options with you. Many specialists will often encourage you to schedule additional follow up appointments to review how your treatment is working for you or if a different option may be more beneficial.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options
When you make an appointment to discuss ED with your doctor, he’ll go over your options and help you decide what’s best for your unique situation. He might suggest making lifestyle changes, trying drug therapy, or getting a penile implant.21
The same healthy lifestyle tips your doctor has been recommending for years may also help treat your ED:21
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Losing weight
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing stress
These steps aren’t an instant fix, but they may improve your blood flow and nerve functioning. If you’re having trouble sticking to these goals, ask your spouse or partner to join you. Getting healthy together and trying new things as a couple can be a great bonding experience and can strengthen your relationship.
When lifestyle changes alone don’t work, drug therapy is normally the next step. Most of these medications work similarly to enhance a natural chemical in your body that relaxes the muscles in your penis. The goal of this medication is to increase your response to sexual stimulation by increasing the blood flow in your penis allowing you to get an erection.22
With drug therapy, there’s a risk of side effects such as headaches, back pain or an upset stomach. Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction, it is important to ensure your doctor is ok with that decision. Medication may not work for all men, for instance, if you have diabetes or have previously had prostate surgery. ED medication might also have serious risks if you’re currently taking nitrates (commonly prescribed for chest pain), have heart disease or have low blood pressure.22
In addition to pills, injections can be used to treat ED. Erections usually occur within 5-20 minutes, but there is the risk of an erection lasting longer than 4 hours and often has poor long-term tolerability.23
Urethral suppositories can also be used to treat ED. An applicator containing a small pellet (suppository) is inserted in the urethra, and the pellet is released. Common side effects include pain or minor bleeding in the urethra.22
Also called vacuum devices, penile pumps are devices that are placed over the penis to draw blood into the shaft. Once the vacuum creates an erection, the retaining band is slid down to the lower end of the penis, and the pump is removed. An erection typically will last long enough for intercourse but your penis may be cold to the touch, and the rubber band may restrict ejaculation.22
Treating Erectile Dysfunction with Penile Implants
When other treatments haven’t helped, a penile implant may be the right solution. A penile implant is a medical device that is surgically placed into a penis to mimic the look and performance of a natural erection9. Implants are custom-fitted to your anatomy. Sensitivity and the ability to ejaculate aren’t typically affected either, so you’ll be able to have an orgasm normally (unless you have a medical condition that prevents this)7.
To learn about erectile dysfunction alternatives like the Coloplast Titan® penile implant, visit our Penile Implants page. To arrange to speak with a man who has had the procedure about the impact of having an implant, head over to our Patient Educator page.
Insurance Coverage for ED Treatment
Every policy is a little different, but most insurance providers do offer some form of coverage for ED treatment. Penile implants, for example, are covered by most insurers and Medicare when they are determined to be medically necessary for a man who has not responded to other treatment alternatives.
Our Insurance page outlines some of the steps you can take to learn more about the out-of-pocket cost for treating ED. The reimbursement specialist at your urologist’s office might also be able to help you sort out the specifics of your coverage.
Titan® and Titan® Touch Inflatable Penile Prosthesis – Important Safety Information
A penile implant, also called a penile prosthesis, is concealed entirely within the body to address erectile dysfunction (impotence). The implant requires some degree of manipulation before and after intercourse to make the penis erect or flaccid.
The Titan and Titan Touch Inflatable Penile Prosthesis is indicated for male patients suffering from erectile dysfunction (impotence) who are considered to be candidates for implantation of a penile prosthesis.
The Titan and Titan Touch Inflatable Penile Prosthesis is contraindicated in patients who have one or more of the following: (1) Patients with an active infection present anywhere in the body, especially urinary tract or genital infection. (2) Patients with a documented sensitivity to silicone. (3) Patients with unresolved problems affecting urination, such as an elevated residual urine volume secondary to bladder outlet obstruction or neurogenic bladder. (4) Patients unwilling to undergo any further surgery for device revision.
Implantation of the device may make latent natural erections, as well as other interventional treatment options, impossible. Men with diabetes or spinal cord injuries, as well as immunocompromised patients, may have an increased risk of infection associated with a prosthesis. Implantation of a penile prosthesis may result in penile shortening, curvature or scarring.
Removal of an implanted prosthesis without timely reimplantation of a new prosthesis may complicate subsequent reimplantation or may make it impossible. MRI quality may be compromised if the area of interest is in the exact same area or relatively close to the position of the Titan, and Titan Touch IPP. Be sure to consult with your physician. Patients should discuss all available treatment options and their risks and benefits with their physician. Health conditions which hamper sexual activity, such as severe chest pain (angina), may prevent successful use of this device. The prosthesis should not be implanted in patients who lack the manual dexterity or strength necessary to operate the device. Trauma to the pelvic or abdominal areas, such as impact injuries associated with sports (e.g., bicycle riding), can result in damage of the implanted device and/or surrounding tissues. This damage may result in the malfunction of the device and may necessitate surgical correction, including replacement of the device. The device may be used in the presence of Peyronie’s Disease.
Penile implants are surgical solutions requiring a healing period that have risks associated with surgery such as scrotal swelling, auto-inflation, discomfort, angulation/curvature, swelling (edema), device malfunction, chronic pain, difficulty with ejaculation, transient urinary retention, fever, migration, patient dissatisfaction, infection at surgical site or wound, deflation, swelling of clotted blood or clear fluid (hematoma/seroma), wound leakage, bleeding, delayed wound healing, narrowing of the opening of the foreskin (phimosis), sensory loss, cylinder malfunction, formation of thick tissue (fibrous capsule formation), over/under inflation, erosion, scrotal reddening (erythema), genital change, and inguinal hernia.
This treatment is prescribed by your physician. Discuss the treatment options with your physician to understand the risks and benefits of the various options to determine if a penile implant is right for you.
Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.