Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

ED Erectile Dysfunction Mobile, AL

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection adequately for sexual function. Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, is a very common sexual problem for men, affecting millions of men in the United States. The instances of ED typically increase as one ages.

The physicians and clinical team at Urology Associates of Mobile our experts in the non-surgical and surgical treatment of ED. Our team’s focus is to work with you and your partner to restore erectile function and improve overall quality of life.

What causes Erectile Dysfunction?

The causes of erectile dysfunction can be physical, psychological or a combination of both.

Physical Causes

  • Physical causes include inadequate blood flow to the penis, lack of nerve signals from the brain or spine to the penis, and hormonal imbalances.
  • Decreased blood flow to the penis can occur due to a multitude of medical conditions including but not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking. The decrease in blood flow to the penis eliminates its ability to store blood during an erection. Without the ability to store blood, the penis cannot remain erect.
  • Certain diseases, as well as injury or surgery to the pelvic area can damage nerves in the penis. This can eliminate communication between the brain/spine and the penis. This communication is necessary to obtain an erection.
  • Low testosterone, also referred to as hypogonadism, can diminish one’s ability to obtain or maintain an erection.

Psychological Causes

  • Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by emotional problems, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and stress at work or in the home.

What treatments are available for Erectile Dysfunction?

Treatment options include:

Oral medications are the most common treatment for erectile dysfunction and typically used as the first line of treatment. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, which include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis are the most common oral medications used. These medications work by relaxing muscle cells in the penis which increases blood flow thus improving erections. Around 70-80% of men with erectile dysfunction see improved erections with these medications. If you are currently taking nitrates for a heart condition, you should notify your physician prior to using these medications as they can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.. Side effects of these medications may include flushing, nasal congestion, headache, visual changes, backache, and an upset stomach.

Other non-surgical treatment options include penile injection therapy. Alprostadil is used as an injectable medication to treat erectile dysfunction in men that do not respond to oral medications. A needle and syringe are used to inject the medication directly into the penis to improve blood flow thus causing an erection. Our team of ED experts work with patients to educate and train them on proper injection procedures. We provide initial injections as well as subsequent training for all our patients. Side effects of alprostadil may include mild bleeding, a prolonged erection (priapism), and in rare cases the formation of fibrous tissue around the injection site.

For men that cannot use or do not wish to use drug therapy, vacuum erection devices (VED) are another treatment option. The vacuum erection device is a pump that pulls blood into the penis using negative pressure to create an erection. With the penis erect a constriction ring can be placed around it to maintain the erection.

For those patients where non-surgical therapy does not work, a penile prosthesis is an option. Twenty to thirty thousand penile prostheses are implanted annually in the United States. These devices simulate a natural erection with the ability to inflate and deflate allowing one to control the length of an erection. There are many types of penal prosthesis available and your urologist can help determine the best type for you.