If the problem is physical, there are numerous treatments available, such as penile injections or penile revascularization surgery, which increases blood flow to the cavernosal artery of the penis. There are also medications like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but Lehmiller cautioned men with erectile difficulties not to self-medicate without seeing a doctor beforehand due to the potential negative side effects associated with such medications (such as chest pain or shortness of breath).
Even if your relationship isn't the source of it, depression can keep you from getting an erection. "Erectile dysfunction can affect someone with depression even when he is in a stable and loving relationship," says Dr. Reitano. "Unfortunately, the drugs used to treat depression can cause erectile dysfunction, as well. The good news is that erectile dysfunction medications work whether the difficulty is from the depression itself or from the medications."
Like going bald, ED becomes more common as men age. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 5% of all 40-year-old men have ED and that number rises with age. Between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men have ED. This is one of the reasons you see so many ED drug commercials during televised sporting events, Fox News programs, and other shows that typically attract men over 50 (just kidding, Fox).
"Erectile dysfunction medication interferes with the process that allows blood to leave the penis," adds Reitano. "Men with erectile dysfunction would benefit from having the chemicals leading to the erection outweigh the actions of the chemicals that cause the penis to lose its firmness, to have the systems that cause the inflow outweigh the chemicals that cause the outflow."
Erectile dysfunction in older men. Because erections primarily involve the blood vessels, it is not surprising that the most common causes in older men are conditions that block blood flow to the penis, such as atherosclerosis or diabetes. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis. Other physical disorders, as well as hormonal imbalances and certain operations, may also result in erectile dysfunction.
Use penile injection therapy. An alternative method that you may be advised on by a doctor is penile injection therapy. For this you will be trained by the doctor how to inject your penis with medicine that relaxes the blood vessels and promotes the blood flow that causes an erection. This treatment has been shown to be effective at treating a range of issues both physical and psychological.
In the long term, the best thing you can do for ED problems is “stay playful and keep the focus off getting your partner erect,” says Goldberg. Experiment with new erotic scenarios and situations, like having sex in a different room, wearing lingerie, or role-playing your fave fantasy. Oh, and don’t limit yourselves to just intercourse either (which applies to all couples, whether or not you’re dealing with ED). “The broader your definition of sex,” Goldberg says, “the more sex you can be having.”
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Ginseng (Panax ginseng) opens the arteries, including those that carry blood into the penis. Korean researchers gave 90 ED sufferers one of three treatments: a placebo, an antidepressant (trazodone), or ginseng. The placebo and antidepressant groups showed 30 percent erection improvement, the ginseng group, 60 percent. Other Korean scientists repeated this study, giving a placebo or ginseng (2,700 mg/day) to 45 men with ED. After 8 weeks, the ginseng group reported firmer erections. However, 2,700 mg of ginseng might cause jitters and possibly insomnia.
“Although having sex at 70 is not the same as having sex at 20, erectile dysfunction is not a normal part of aging,” according to Michael Feloney, MD, urologic surgeon and expert on sexual dysfunction issues at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “You should still be able to have a satisfying sex life as you age." If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, these 10 dos and don'ts may help.