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Erectile Dysfunction

Consultation & treatments

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection for sexual intercourse. It’s often referred to as impotence and is a very common, treatable condition - it’s estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 have some form of erectile dysfunction. Though it is more common in men over 40, research has also shown a prevalence of erectile dysfunction in younger men.

Rather than living with the condition and having it affect your relationship and confidence, consulting with a doctor can lead to you receiving the right advice and counselling, or you may be prescribed medication according to your needs. A range of effective erectile dysfunction treatments are available, the main ones being Cialis, Viagra and Levitra.

Dr Shori Discusses Erectile Dysfunction

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

The main erectile dysfunction symptoms are the inability to achieve an erection or maintain an erection that is sufficient for sexual intercourse. Some men with erectile dysfunction cannot get an erection at all, while others are unable to sustain an erection for more than a short time. Loss of interest in sex or sexual performance anxiety can also be symptoms of the condition.

What are the main erectile dysfunction causes?

To understand the reasons for erectile dysfunction, it’s important to know how an erection occurs. When aroused, your brain sends signals to the blood vessels in your penis, relaxing the arteries and allowing blood to flow in. The veins then close to trap the blood in your penis, causing it to expand and harden.

Anything that interferes with this process can lead to erectile dysfunction. Causes of the condition can be broken down into two categories: physical and psychological.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)?

Physical factors are present in three-quarters of erectile dysfunction cases and causes include:

  • Circulatory problems such as narrowing of blood vessels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal problems such as low testosterone, high prolactin or abnormal thyroid levels
  • Medications such as antidepressants, sleeping pills or drugs to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate cancer
  • Obesity
  • Injuries causing nerve damage from the brain to the penis such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, pelvic or prostate surgery, radiation therapy or trauma from a bicycle seat
  • Any chronic kidney and liver disease that affects the circulatory system, nervous system or hormone levels
  • Smoking, or alcohol or drug abuse

Psychological factors that contribute to the cause of erectile dysfunction include:

  • Stress or being unhappy at work, home or in your relationship
  • Anxiety or being self-conscious about sex, fear of failure or developing sexual performance, worsened for those who’ve experienced erectile dysfunction previously
  • Depression where you feel guilty you are not satisfying your partner, low self-esteem or loss of interest in sex

Psychological factors can often be a secondary reaction to erectile dysfunction itself and can go on to cause subsequent episodes of erectile dysfunction. You may also often find you experience both physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.

Don't wait

1 in 10 people put off seeing their doctor for 5 years

How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction is relatively simple and a process that should leave you with nothing to be embarrassed about. You will need to consult with a registered doctor, who will recommend a treatment based on your symptoms and your physical and mental health, among other things.

What you may be asked:

  • Whether you have difficulty obtaining an erection, if your erection is suitable for penetration, if your erection can be maintained and if ejaculation occurs
  • Details of any medication you have taken during the past year, including vitamins and supplements
  • Details of your tobacco, alcohol and caffeine intake, as well as any recreational drug use
  • Any psychological issues such as lack of libido, problems in your relationship, anxiety and fatigue
  • Details about your relationship with your sexual partner, including whether they know you are seeking help, if this is a major issue between you and whether they are willing to help in the treatment process. The condition affects both of you, so our partner’s guide to erectile dysfunction can help significantly with support during your treatment.

Tests that might be included:

  • Blood tests to check for signs of diabetes or hormonal conditions such as low testosterone
  • Urine tests to check for signs of diabetes or other underlying health condition
  • Ultrasound to check for blood flow problems (this might involve an injection of medication into the penis to stimulate blood flow and give an erection)
  • Overnight erection test to be done at home – this can determine whether the causes of erectile dysfunction are psychological or physical and involves wrapping a special monitoring device around your penis while you sleep.

Step 1

Start an online consultation with one of our UK-registered GPs

Step 2

Our GP may advise, prescribe or recommend further tests

Step 3

Receive certified genuine medication by your chosen delivery method

What treatments are available for erectile dysfunction?

There are various types of erectile dysfunction treatments available.

Oral medicines, known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, are the most common treatments for erectile dysfunction and work by blocking the PDE-5 enzyme, smoothing the muscles of the penis and increasing blood flow. These include:

Some treatments are injected into the penis. These include:

If you do not wish to have injections, creams and urethral suppositories are available. These include Vitaros (alprostadil) cream and MUSE (alprostadil) urethral suppository, which are applied to the eye of the penis. They’re also used to treat men who experience unacceptable levels of side effects from tablets or those who cannot take tablets for medical reasons.

1 in 10 men in the world are thought to suffer from erectile dysfunction

70% of erectile dysfunction cases are caused by underlying health issues

14% of men blame the condition on work related stress

1 in 5 men are too embarrassed to talk to their doctor

Addressing underlying problems – such as low testosterone levels – may resolve cases of erectile dysfunction. If you suspect you may have low testosterone, we offer an online consultation for that condition too. Treatment for depression can also help resolve erectile dysfunction.

For many men, lifestyle changes are an important factor in treating erectile dysfunction. Research has shown that erectile dysfunction is often a precursor to heart disease, in some cases appearing up to five years before heart problems are diagnosed. Making some healthier life choices can help reduce erection problems and prevent circulation problems. These include:

  • Regular exercise. This can get the blood pumping and some exercises such as weight lifting can increase the natural production of testosterone, both crucial for erectile strength and sex drive.
  • Kegel/pelvic floor exercises. Research has shown pelvic exercises helped 40% of men with erectile dysfunction regain normal erections.
  • Balanced diet. Studies have shown that men eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish – with fewer red and processed meats – were less likely to suffer from erection problems.
  • Stopping smoking. Studies have shown that men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily have a 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction, compared to non-smokers.
  • Limiting alcohol. Too much alcohol affects your brain and your penis – studies have shown that sober men gain erections more quickly than intoxicated men.

10% of men have a sex-related problem such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation

75% of men with erectile dysfunction do not seek treatment, despite the condition being common and treatable

94% of men report satisfactory erections using Viagra

18% of 50-59 year olds will have trouble with their erections

Other treatment options for erectile dysfunction

  • Vacuum constriction devices (VCDs). This is an external cylinder with a pump placed over the penis, which draws blood into the penis causing an erection. To maintain the erection for intercourse, a constriction ring can be placed around the penis. Studies suggest that up to 80% of men are satisfied with VCD results.
  • Penile implants and surgery are also further options that you can discuss with a GP.

If psychological problems are interfering with your ability to get or maintain an erection, a psychotherapist specialising in sexual difficulties may also be able to help you.

Many treatments involve taking a simple tablet and can be very effective in a short space of time.

Dr Shori, MBChb LLB - Medical Director

Don't wait

1 in 10 people put off seeing their doctor for 5 years

Erectile Dysfunction medicine comparison

There are many important differences between the medicines and the importance of these differences will depend on your health and other medicines that you take, as well as your personal preference. It is very important that you only take these medicines after a medical consultation. However the main differences are summarised below:

Compare medicines

Despite knowing the facts about erectile dysfunction, many men feel embarrassed talking about it face-to-face with their GP. An online consultation with one of Pharmacy2U’s GMC-registered, UK-based doctors means you don’t have to.

Recent research has found that erectile dysfunction is now widely recognised by doctors as a potential early warning sign for cardiovascular problems. Men with heart problems or high blood pressure often suffer from erectile problems, and more than 70% of those living with erectile dysfunction also suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

LUTS can be distressing and may mean you feel the need to urinate regularly throughout the night, more often than you would like during the day and that you experience difficulty in either starting or delaying urination. Erectile dysfunction treatment Cialis 5mg Once Daily has been proven to reduce LUTS – you should speak to a doctor for more information.

Online consultation

Our registered online doctors can provide advice on how to treat erectile dysfunction, so you can be confident your health is in safe hands. Treatment for erectile dysfunction should only be taken on a doctor’s advice and purchased from a registered pharmacy to avoid the dangers of using unsuitable or counterfeit medication.

Pharmacy2U offers a convenient, confidential online consultation. All you need to do is follow three simple steps:

It’s important – for both your physical and emotional health – to seek medical treatment if you have erectile dysfunction. Start your online consultation with a fully registered UK GP today.

Step 1

Start an online consultation with one of our UK-registered GPs

Step 2

Our GP may advise, prescribe or recommend further tests

Step 3

Receive certified genuine medication by your chosen delivery method

What if erectile dysfunction tablets don’t work?

The main advice here is that you shouldn’t give up. Your doctor will talk you through various other options suitable to your needs.

Check our quick guide for options of treatment that you could consider next:

What to do if viagra and other ED tablets fail

Sort it out

Around 1 in 10 people* suffering with certain conditions wait five years before seeing their doctor because they don't want to talk about it. But don't put it off. There are lots of options and treatments available that can help you tackle these problems effectively and discreetly.

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