What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for the purposes of sexual intercourse. It is a problem that affects many men particularly with increasing age.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is commonly caused by the following:
- vascular disease
- hormonal or endocrine problems
- psychological problems
- trauma or spinal cord conditions
How is erectile dysfunction investigated?
Erectile dysfunction can be investigated in various ways looking for specific disorders, but in most cases all investigations are found to be normal. The most common cause is vascular disease and this may lead to the discovery of other problems such as coronary vascular or cerebrovascular disease. Investigations that may be requested include a blood sugar level, a male hormone profile, thyroid function tests or a lipid profile. In some situations an ultrasound of the penile blood vessels may be necessary.
What are the options for treatment of erectile dysfunction?
Treatment is usually commenced by addressing any underlying contributors to erectile dysfunction, for example treating undiagnosed diabetes. The options for treatment include psycho-sexual counselling, oral medications such as Viagra, injectable medications and vacuum erection devices. Surgical options include insertion of an inflatable penile prosthesis.
What is a penile prosthesis?
A penile prosthesis is a device that is surgically implanted in the penis. The device has inflation cylinders that the patient controls to achieve an erection on demand. It has a high success and satisfaction rate amongst patients. It is suitable for most patients with erectile dysfunction that have not had success with simpler forms of treatment.