Tips for Managing Erectile Dysfunction

May 09, 2024
Tips for Managing Erectile Dysfunction
If you’re embarrassed by your erectile dysfunction (ED), there’s hope; you have a lot of treatment options that can get you back in the groove. Get some tips for managing ED here.

Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse, can be embarrassing, but it shouldn’t be; it’s more common than you probably think. ED affects about 30 million American men.

It’s also rarely a standalone condition, usually occurring as a symptom of other health problems. The one good thing? There’s help!

Primary care and family physician Dr. Richard Pedroza at AGP Family Health Clinic treats all issues dealing with men’s health, including erectile dysfunction. We understand how uncomfortable the topic may be for you, but we have good news — it’s treatable, and we have tips for how you can get your mojo back.

What causes an erection?

A successful erection depends entirely upon increased blood flow to the penis. This flow can be stimulated by physical contact with the penile tissue and/or sexual thoughts.

As he becomes aroused, a man’s penis muscles relax, allowing for an influx of blood through the penile arteries into two chambers, found on either side of the penis. The volume of blood stiffens the tissue and leads to an erection. 

Following intercourse and ejaculation, the penile muscles contract, forcing the excess blood out through the veins.

What causes ED?

Male sexual arousal is a complicated process involving coordination among the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. If any part of the circuit doesn’t work properly, it may result in ED. 

Sexual dysfunction may also appear as you get older and your testosterone levels decline (low T). Or, it can be caused by a medication’s side effects, decreased libido, and/or decreased stimulation stemming from an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. 

Stress, both physical and psychological, is also a major player, leading to — or worsening  existing — ED.

How to beat ED

At AGP Family Clinic, we offer a number of treatments that can help ED.

Oral medications

The first-line treatment for ED is often oral medication, such as Viagra® (sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil), and Cialis® (tadalafil). These are all phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors, which block the action of a signaling molecule that normally prevents blood flow to the penis. Oral medications start to work within an hour.

Injectable medications

Another option is medications you inject directly into your penis to stimulate an erection. Common drugs include alprostadil (Caverject®), papaverine (Papacon®), phentolamine (Regitine®) or some combination of these. All of these widen and relax blood vessels, allowing for increased blood flow. Injectable medications start to work within 10 minutes.

Hormone replacement therapy

If your ED is caused by low T, testosterone replacement therapy can be effective. We use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT); the hormone source is plant-based but chemically identical to what your body produces, so it’s usually well-tolerated.

BHRT is available in injectable, gel, implant, or pellet form, and it can boost libido as well as increase your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Testosterone replacement therapy starts to work within four weeks.

Lifestyle changes

If your ED is due to an underlying medical condition, you need to treat that condition before you can move forward with the dysfunction. Look to Dr. Pedroza to help you make lifestyle modifications to reclaim your sexual health — and boost your overall health — over time.

Changes the doctor might suggest include limiting or eliminating alcohol and recreational drugs, achieving a healthy weight, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, and getting regular exercise. He may also suggest some form of counseling to help with any psychological factors contributing to the problem.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)

ESWT was approved in 1980 to heal inflamed or otherwise damaged connective tissues and to regrow bone after a fracture. Interestingly, that makes it a good treatment option for ED.

Also called acoustic wave therapy since it uses sound waves, ESWT is noninvasive and particularly effective for men with mild to moderate ED who’ve had success with PDE5 inhibitors. 

Dr. Pedroza uses a wand-like device to deliver low-intensity sound into the deep penile tissues to: 

  • Clear away built-up plaque in blood vessels that prevents adequate blood flow
  • Stimulate growth factors so your body can build new, healthy blood vessels

ESWT heals the blood vessels serving the penile tissues, restoring adequate flow and firmer, longer-lasting erections. It has about a 75% success rate, but it may take two months to see improvement.

If ED is interfering with your sex life, AGP Family Clinic can help. Call our Tomball, Texas, office at 832-861-0393 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pedroza, or book online with us today.