If you think the medication you’re taking could be causing you to experience erectile dysfunction, contact your GP to ask if there are any alternatives. However it’s very important not to just stop taking the medication before talking to your doctor as doing so could adversely affect your health.
Other causes of erectile dysfunction include obesity, smoking, alcohol, tiredness, and the use of street drugs, such as cannabis, or cocaine. Sometimes people who cycle regularly (more than three hours a week) can experience impotence as this activity can place pressure on nerve endings in the penis.
Treatments for erectile dysfunction
Treatments for erectile dysfunction depend on the cause of the problem.
Give up smoking
Moderate your alcohol consumption
Stop using street drugs
Start taking regular exercise
Reduce the number of hours you cycle each week
Medicine treatments (PDE-5 Inhibitors)
These drugs work by temporarily increasing blood flow to the penis, and are the most commonly prescribed drugs for erectile dysfunction. They include sildenafil (known by its brand name, Viagra), tadalfail (known by its brand name Cialis), and vardenafil (known by its brand name Levitra). Occasionally, if you’re unable to use the above drugs or do not respond to them, you may be prescribed a synthetic hormone called alprostadil. Injected directly into the penis, or in tablet form placed just inside the urethra, it produces an erection that can last anywhere between five to thirty minutes.
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by hormonal imbalance, your endocrinologist can prescribe synthetic hormone injections to redress the balance and eliminate the cause of the impotence.
This is a device that can give you an erection for around thirty minutes if used in conjunction with a rubber ring. You place a tube over the penis which is connected to a pump. This is used to create a vacuum causing blood to rush to the penis, giving you an erection. If you then place a rubber ring around the base of the penis the erection can be sustained long enough for satisfactory sexual activity. However the penis pump should only be used occasionally as repeated use could damage the tissues of the penis, leading to worsening impotence.
If all other methods have failed and there’s an obvious anatomical problem or blockage to the blood supply of the penis, then surgery can be an option.
Counselling and therapy
If the underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction is psychological, counselling can be of great help to enable you to understand any ‘hidden’ (unconscious) psychological issues you have with yourself or your partner. Understanding brings acceptance, and can reduce anxiety, which in turn can lead to the end of erectile dysfunction. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a stronger type of therapy to help you alter the way you think about things. It’s known that unrealistic, negative thoughts and assumptions about yourself and your relationship can sometimes cause erectile dysfunction. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you to completely change these damaging ways of thinking, relieving pressure, stress and anxiety, and in turn eliminating impotence.