For the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction (ED), the urologist may prescribe blood tests to determine the level of testosterone, prolactin and thyroid hormones. Abnormally low testosterone and elevated prolactin levels or changes in thyroid hormone levels can cause sexual problems.
Changes in the hormonal status may indicate more severe issues, such as a pituitary tumor or a decrease in testicular function. Even the most experienced doctors cannot determine the level of hormones from the results of the examination, which is why a blood test is so important.
How to cure erectile dysfunction
Depending on the recognized causes of ED, treatment may include:
- In the case of obesity: weight loss and lifestyle changes may improve libido and erectile function.
- When using medications that affect erectile function: if possible, use alternative medicines to correct hypertension and reduce pain symptoms.
- Smoking cessation and a decrease in alcohol consumption should improve erectile function.
1. Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors allow you to achieve and maintain an erection.
Their effect is obtained only after sexual stimulation, and these drugs don’t increase sexual desire. PDE-5 inhibitors are effective in restoring erection function in 70% of men.
These drugs work best in patients with the psychogenic type of ED, but they can also be used in men with other types. In men with vascular problems (for example, diabetes), PDE-5 inhibitors are effective in 55-60% of cases. Efficacy in patients undergoing radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer ranges from 25% to 30%.
Side effects are headaches, skin redness, indigestion, dizziness, and visual distortion. Side effects are usually short-lived and disappear spontaneously.
Interaction with other medications. Men who take nitrates in any form on a regular basis or if they experience pain in the chest, should not use PDE-5 inhibitors. The combined use of PDE-5 inhibitors and nitrates can lead to a dangerous decrease in blood pressure. PDE-5 inhibitors do not cause heart attacks.
2. Penile injection for erectile dysfunction.
With this method, the patient injects the drug into the cavernous bodies of the penis (two cavities in the penis, filled with spongy tissue). It causes an erection, allowing the vessels of the penis to expand. The erection that occurs after injection into the penis appears without sexual stimulation.
This type of treatment requires some practical skills. Under the strict supervision of the urologist, the patient is taught how to handle the skin of the penis properly and perform an injection. Even though this method of treatment is effective, many men refuse it due to the discomfort of injections.
Side effects. Pain is the most common side effect. Often, men say that this is the main reason for not using this type of therapy. There is also a small risk that the penis will remain erected after sexual intercourse.
3. Intraurethral administration of drugs.
Instead of an injection, a man inserts a device with a granule of the drug into the urethra (through the external opening on the head of the penis). Then the drug is absorbed by the cavernous bodies, which leads to an erection.
Side effects. Pain that occurs when the blood vessels of the penis expand.
4. Vacuum devices for getting an erection (penis pump).
Several devices offer to put the penis in a plastic cylinder, where they create a vacuum around the penis. It leads to increased blood flow to the penis. Then the dense ring should be placed on the base of a penis to hold blood in a penis, allowing to keep an erection. Vacuum devices can successfully achieve an erection in 67% of patients.
Male satisfaction with erections using vacuum devices ranges from 25% to 49%. Vacuum erection devices require the man to be able to hold and pump the device. It may take more than a week for the method to work efficiently. When a man becomes comfortable with the use of the device, he will be able to create an erection sufficient for full sexual contact.
5. Prosthetic penis
The prosthetic penis is a device that is surgically implanted in the penis. The penis can be a semi-rigid rod or inflatable cylinders that are implanted in the cavernous bodies. This method is used rarely, due to the popularity of PDE-5 inhibitors and injection therapy.
The side effects of prosthetic penis include the possibility of infection, pain and mechanical failure. Mechanical failure may require surgical removal of the prosthesis and the installation of a new one.
This treatment is suitable for men who have suffered an injury to the pelvic organs. Testosterone replacement therapy is indicated for men who do not have enough testosterone hormone. This therapy is ineffective for men with initially normal levels of testosterone. To determine the level of testosterone is possible by making the blood analysis.
Men with low testosterone levels may have decreased libido, decreased muscle mass and obesity. Treatment intends to increase testosterone levels, libido, erectile function, and muscle mass; bone density is usually restored when testosterone returns to normal values.
7. Psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs
Depression and anxiety disorders can also cause ED. Often, these problems can be solved by consulting a psychologist and using antidepressants. Contacting a certified psychologist can help men with anxiety disorders that occur during sexual intercourse.
Drug therapy is prescribed to treat both depression and anxiety. It is very effective, even though some drugs (especially serotonin reuptake inhibitors) can cause a decrease in libido.
Some antidepressants may cause delayed ejaculation, which can be beneficial for men with premature ejaculation.
8. Essential oils for erectile dysfunction
Therapy with the use of essential oils produces a tonic effect on the male reproductive system. Besides, the use of products with essential oils helps to increase libido.
Cacao Essential Oil
Cacao essential oil contains a complex of fatty acids, including oleic, stearic, palmitic and linoleic acids. The active ingredients of the product stop the aging processes of the skin and vascular tissues, providing increased elasticity of the capillaries and maximum expansion of the vascular tissues during sexual stimulation.
Melissa Essential Oil
Melissa has a calming effect on the nervous system. It is recommended for those who need to recover from severe emotional trauma and psychological distress. Melissa oil is known due to antispasmodic and analgesic properties.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil increases libido in men and is considered to be a natural sexual stimulant. The herbal extract is used to calm down in stressful situations and get rid of increased nervous tension.
CBD Oil for Erectile Dysfunction
High levels of cholesterol reduce the pressure in the blood vessels and can cause erectile dysfunction in men. The results of studies published in the Clinical and Developmental Immunology journal confirm that using CBD oil can reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood, as well as the negative effect of hypercholesterolemia.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar and Erectile Dysfunction
There are currently no studies on how apple cider vinegar may treat erectile dysfunction. Health benefits of apple cider vinegar that have been studied are the regulation of blood glucose levels, the reduction of overweight and the prevention of heart disease. The idea that apple cider vinegar can treat erectile dysfunction based on the fact that it helps to cure some of the causes of erectile dysfunction.
The risk of impotence increases with some diseases like type 2 diabetes. Studies show that apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Excess weight is one of the causes of erectile dysfunction. According to one study, apple cider vinegar can help reduce body weight in people with overweight.
Heart disease can also cause erectile dysfunction. The use of apple cider vinegar can reduce blood lipids which helps prevent heart disease. The study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that apple cider vinegar can help lower cholesterol levels in animals and lowering cholesterol can help prevent heart disease.
10. Acupuncture for erectile dysfunction
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice of stimulating specific points on the body with thin needles. This ancient practice has been used for several millennia as an effective way to maintain health.
Research in this area is quite limited; however, some results are optimistic and confirm the effectiveness of acupuncture practice in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
In one study, participants were divided into two groups. One group was treated with acupuncture at specific points of acupressure (in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, the needles are located along the abdomen, arms, and legs.) The second control group was treated in other areas. In result, more than 2/3 of the participants of the first group with erectile dysfunction, showed signs of improvement compared with the control group.
However, the results of other studies are diverse. The conducted studies confirm the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment of psychological and emotional signs of erectile dysfunction. Nevertheless, additional research is required in this area.
11. Vitamins for erectile dysfunction.
Studies show that in men with the most severe forms of erectile dysfunction, the level of vitamin D in the body is 24% less than standard. In the cause of vitamin D deficiency, in the body develops superoxide, which reduces nitrogen oxides concentration (molecules that stimulate blood flow to the genitals). Besides, vitamin D deficiency affects mood, leads to depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
The B12 vitamins are a natural and effective remedy to treat erectile dysfunction. Vitamin B12 deficiency harms spermatozoa, their activity, and may cause infertility. In such cases, after consultation with the doctor, it is required to undergo a course of injections with vitamin B12.