Erectile Dysfunction Medications

Married couple arguing in bedroom

Erectile dysfunction (ED), a prevalent condition affecting men worldwide, is characterized by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

In this article, we examine some of ED's common causes and symptoms and the various treatment options available. By exploring these aspects, individuals seeking guidance and support in managing their erectile dysfunction can make informed decisions that may improve their overall quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  • Erectile dysfunction can have physical causes such as poor blood flow, nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, as well as psychological motivators including stress, anxiety, and depression.

  • Lifestyle choices including smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

  • Treatment options for erectile dysfunction include oral medications that enhance nitric oxide effects and increase blood flow, lifestyle changes such as exercise and a balanced diet, vacuum erection devices, and penile implants for severe cases to name just a few. 

  • It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any treatment plan for erectile dysfunction to ensure safety, efficacy, and personalized guidance.

Commonly Prescribed Medications

Caverject Impulse
Ethanol / Propylene Glycol / Glycerol / Carbomer / Potassium Hydroxide
Vardenafil Hydrochloride
Vardenafil Hydrochloride
Stud 100 Desensitizing Spray
Sildenafil Citrate

Recognizing the Symptoms of ED

Recognizing the symptoms of ED can be accomplished by paying attention to changes in sexual performance and considering factors such as difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.

Erectile dysfunction symptoms may include a consistent inability to get or keep an erection, reduced sexual desire, and trouble with ejaculation.

It is important to note that occasional difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection do not necessarily indicate erectile dysfunction. However, if these issues persist over time and start affecting one's overall sexual satisfaction and quality of life, seeking medical advice is advisable. 

Recognizing symptoms early on allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment. By understanding the signs, individuals can take a proactive approach to addressing their ailment. 

Now that we have a better understanding of ED and some of the causes which may lead to the condition, let’s explore some of the tests and procedures doctor's use to identify ED, and some of the available treatments.

Common Tests and Procedures

Although tests may vary depending on the health care provider, approaches to diagnosing male erectile dysfunction have some procedural commonalities.

Physical exam: a physical examination assists the doctor to identify any physical anomalies or deformities that may be contributing to the patient's condition.

Hormone testing: this test permits the doctor to measure levels of male hormones. Blood tests involve sending a sample of blood to a lab where the patient's testosterone and cortisol levels are checked. Testing may also include a complete blood count to check for heart disease, diabetes or infection which may be causing or contributing to the condition.

Blood tests may also detect digestive and kidney diseases which may have an effect on hormone levels, circulation, and nerve function. Kidney problems can also lead to a toxic buildup of waste, which may also affect sexual function.

Urine test: used primary to check for diabetes, infections, or other co-morbidities which may be contributing factors to the patient's ailment. The urine and blood tests can also detect whether the patient has consumed illegal drugs or other substances which may be contributing to their erectile dysfunction.

Medical history: a recent Genome-wide Assocation (GAW) study found that the ED sufferers within the study group possessed a genetic defect in their DNA makeup involving a gene called SIM1. People with this genetic defect showed a nearly 26% higher risk of ED. A medical history work-up by the doctor can help to identify historical evidence which may suggest the patient's condition is hereditary. Any past conditions, surgeries or injuries in the patient's history, which may also be contributing factors to their ED condition, may also be identified during the medical history work-up.

Digital rectal examination: examining the prostate gland in older men is important for the early detection of prostate cancer, but some forms of prostate disease could be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction.

Psychological examination: these tests are used to assess and identify psychological factors including excessive stress and depression which may be interfering with the patient's normal sexual desires and function.

Nocturnal penile tumescence: this procedure involves using a monitoring device to assess the quality of erections during sleep.

Ultrasound testing: this highly accurate procedure is a non-invasive imaging test that assesses blood flow in the penis. Underlying factors including arterial insufficiency or venous leakage - which may cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction - are often diagnosed using Doppler ultrasound testing.

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

  1. Oral medications: prescription drugs including Viagra and Cialis, enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical in the body that relaxes muscles in the penis. They help increase blood flow to the organ, facilitating an erection.

  2. Lifestyle changes: Incorporating healthy habits like regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, reducing stress levels, and avoiding smoking can significantly improve symptoms of ED.

  3. Vacuum erection devices: Also known as penis pumps, these devices create a vacuum around the penis to draw blood into it and form an erection. A constriction ring is then placed at the base of the penis to maintain it.

  4. Penile implants: In severe cases where other treatments have failed or are not suitable, surgical insertion of penile prosthesis may be considered. These implants allow for manual control over erections and offer long-term effectiveness.

Newer Medicinal Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

Eroxon Stimgel - sometimes referred to as Med3000 - is a relatively new product manufactured by Futura Medical. It is unique in that it is, according to its manufacturer, the first over-the-counter product (which means a doctor’s prescription is not required to purchase it). The product is purported to be a fast acting, topical ED medication. The drug is FDA approved and is in its early stages of distribution in America. Because the product is new, patients contemplating its use are strongly advised to consult their doctor or pharmacist prior to use.

How to Manage Psychological Impediments

If the doctor cannot find any significant physical or hereditary causes for a patient's ED, it may be safe to assume the condition is primarily psychological in nature. Consequently, it's important to identify and address any psychological factors which may be present.

Seeking Help from a Therapist

Working with a licensed therapist may help a patient to address any non-physical, psychological factors that are contributing to their ED. Depending on the condition, a therapist can help the patient to develop strategies for managing anxiety and reducing stress that aren't related to sex. Cognitive behavioral sexual therapy may also be employed to help patients develop new thoughts and behaviors related to sexual activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stress or anxiety cause erectile dysfunction?

Yes, stress and anxiety can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Psychological factors such as performance anxiety and stress can interfere with the normal physiological response required for achieving and maintaining an erection.

Are there any lifestyle changes that can help improve erectile function?

Making certain lifestyle changes can potentially improve erectile function. These may include maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, managing stress levels, and seeking treatment for underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

What role does age play in the development of erectile dysfunction?

Age is a significant factor in the development of erectile dysfunction. As men age, they are more likely to experience physiological changes affecting blood flow and hormone levels, leading to difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection.

Are there any natural remedies or supplements that can effectively treat erectile dysfunction?

Natural remedies and supplements, such as L-arginine, Panax ginseng, and DHEA, have been suggested to potentially aid in treating erectile dysfunction. However, more research is needed to establish their safety and efficacy.

Can certain medications or medical conditions contribute to erectile dysfunction?

Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihypertensives, and antiandrogens, can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Medical conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances, and neurological disorders can also be underlying causes of the condition.


Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is a common male sexual dysfunction that affects many men. Various factors, including physical and psychological issues, can cause it.

Recognizing the symptoms of ED is essential for early intervention and treatment. Fortunately, several options, such as prescription medication, lifestyle changes, and therapy, are available to address this issue.

Seeking professional help is crucial for individuals experiencing erectile dysfunction to regain their sexual health and overall well-being.

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.