Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Consultation & treatments

Erection problems (impotence) are very common. Around 1 in 10 men experience a problem related to their sex lives such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation. Most men will experience ED at some time in their life. ED becomes more common as men get older, especially for those aged over 40, and can also be caused or worsened by a number of lifestyle and health factors. 

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is when a man fails to get or keep an erection to allow for satisfactory sexual performance.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Consultation & treatments

Comparision table

Cialis Levitra Viagra Spedra
10mg or 20mg 5mg, 10mg or 20mg 25mg, 50mg or 100mg 50mg, 100mg or 200mg
Recommended starting strength
10mg 10mg 50mg 100mg
Before sex Before sex Before sex Before sex
Effect of food
Not affected Heavy or high-fat meals may slow Levitra action down Any food may slow Viagra or sildenafil action down Not affected
How long before sex is it used?
At least 30 mins 25 mins to an hour 1 hour 15 to 30 mins
Effective for?
36 hours 4-5 hours 4-5 hours 6 hours
Common side effects (seen in more than 10% of men)
Headache Headache Headache None

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Who can get erectile dysfunction?

Typically men over the age of 40 are more likely to display the symptoms of ED. But it can happen at any age and may be due to one of a number of other reasons. If ED keeps happening, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition and should be discussed with a doctor.

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

If you have any of the following symptoms you may have erectile dysfunction: 

  • Trouble getting an erection 
  • Difficulty keeping an erection
  • Reduced interest in sexual activity

What are the causes?

Erectile dysfunction is a complex condition that is linked to a number of different health conditions. It can be caused by stress, tiredness, anxiety, drinking too much alcohol, or as a side effect of medication, and it may be a temporary problem. 

If it happens regularly, then it may be due to physical or psychological problems. Conditions linked to erectile dysfunction include:

  • A narrowing of the blood vessels in the penis
  • Damage to blood vessels or nerves
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
  • Hormone related problems, such as low testosterone levels

You can find more information on the possible causes of erectile dysfunction here.

How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?

In a routine appointment, a GP or sexual health practitioner would typically ask you what medication you have taken in the last year, and discuss details about your relationships, lifestyle, and your physical and mental health. 

For those with busy lifestyles, restricted mobility or limited access to a high street pharmacy or GP surgery, our Online Doctor service lets you complete a brief and confidential consultation with our UK-registered GPs who may prescribe treatment to help you with your symptoms and manage your condition if it’s appropriate. We’ll deliver any prescribed treatments in discreet packaging directly to your door.

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How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Stress and anxiety are often contributing factors to erectile dysfunction, so begin by considering anything in your life which could be a factor. If there are psychological issues, a psychotherapist specialising in sexual health may also be able to help you.

There are a number of prescription medications available to treat erectile dysfunction. The most common medications used to treat erectile dysfunction are known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors which work by blocking the PDE-5 enzyme in the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood flow to the penis.

Our Online Doctor service offers a variety of erectile dysfunction treatments. Viagra (sildenafil) is the most well known and most prescribed but other medicines are available including Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Spedra (avanafil) which all work in a similar way.

Our Online Doctor service is a convenient and confidential GP consultation service that offers treatments for erectile dysfunction and many other common conditions including weight loss, hair loss and situational anxiety.

To learn more and begin your consultation with a UK-based GP click here.

Our consumer health shop, supplies over-the-counter treatments which do not require a prescription. There are creams, food supplements and other sexual aids available. To see our whole range, click here.

Can erectile dysfunction be cured?

Erectile dysfunction is a complex issue that affects lots of men. It can be due to underlying medical conditions but there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make that can significantly improve ED: 

  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Stopping smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet 
  • Exercising daily 
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Not cycling for a period of time (if you cycle for more than 3 hours per week)
  • Not drinking an excess of 14 units of alcohol per week

The advice of a healthcare professional combined with the best treatment for you can reduce and in some cases may eliminate ED.

Erectile dysfunction can be a difficult subject to talk about - with 1 in 5 men too embarrassed to talk to their doctor. So it’s important for partners to understand the facts too. Read our partner’s guide to erectile dysfunction to get support.

Erectile dysfunction with diabetes

Erectile dysfunction is thought to affect between 35% to 75% of men with diabetes. Oral medication is available to help men with diabetes achieve or maintain an erection. It is important to speak to a healthcare professional who will be able to advise you on the best treatment taking into account any other medical conditions you may have. 

If you or your partner is living with erectile dysfunction and it’s affecting your love life, getting medical advice is the first step towards treatment. Our Online Doctor service can help you identify the cause of your erectile dysfunction and reduce the impact of the condition on your relationship.