Penile injection therapy, intracavernous injection, involves the injection of a vasodilator (a chemical that relaxes arteries to increase blood flow) into the penis. Penile injected therapy is recognized as the most effective nonsurgical treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, due to the invasive nature, it is often used in men who have failed or have contraindications to other treatments such as oral therapies.
Erectile dysfunction is not a life-threatening condition but could be a symptom of something more serious, like heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes. If you are having trouble getting an erection of maintaining an erection, speak to your doctor and discuss your treatment options. Erectile dysfunction is a delicate subject to discuss for many men but stress from ED can cause the condition to worsen. Learn more about erectile dysfunction from our experts.
Prior to the injection of the chosen drug, the flow pattern is monophasic, with low systolic velocities and an absence of diastolic flow. After injection, it is expected that systolic and diastolic peak velocities will increase, decreasing progressively with vein occlusion and becoming negative when the penis becomes rigid (see image below). The reference values vary across studies, ranging from > 25 cm/s to > 35 cm/s. Values above 35 cm/s indicate the absence of arterial disease, values below 25 cm/s indicate arterial insufficiency, and values of 25-35 cm/s are indeterminate because they are less specific (see image below). The data obtained should be correlated with the degree of erection observed. If the peak systolic velocities are normal, the final diastolic velocities should be evaluated, those above 5 cm/s being associated with venogenic ED.
In the evaluation of physical causes of ED, the health care provider is assessing for conditions that may affect the nerves, arteries, veins, and functional anatomy of the penis (for example, the tunica albuginea, the tissue surround the corpora). In determining a physical (or organic) cause, your health care provider will first rule out certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart and vascular disease, low male hormone level, prostate cancer, and diabetes, which are associated with erectile dysfunction. Medical/surgical treatment of these conditions may also cause ED. In addition to these health conditions, certain systemic digestive (gastrointestinal) and respiratory diseases are known to result in erectile dysfunction:
Geraerts, I., van Poppel, H., Devoogdt, N., de Groef, A., Fieuws, S., & van Kampen, M. (2016, January–February). Pelvic floor muscle training for erectile dysfunction and climacturia 1 year after nerve sparing radical prostatectomy: A randomized controlled trial [Abstract]. International Journal of Impotence Research, 28(1), 9–13. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26538105
Guys with kidney disease may also develop problems maintaining erections. That's because medical conditions like these also impact hormone levels, blood circulation, and energy, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Or some guys lose interest in sex because because of the emotional and physical changes these conditions may cause. However, men may regain their interested with time as they treat the initial kidney problems. But that's not to say that all men with kidney problems will go on to experience ED. Taking prescribed medication, communicating with your doctor, and speaking with a psychologist can help guys maintain a healthy sex life.