Many physical and psychological situations can cause erectile dysfunction, and brief periods of ED are normal. Every man experiences erectile dysfunction from time to time. Nevertheless, if the problem is persistent, men should seek professional help, particularly since erectile dysfunction is usually treatable and may also be a symptom of an underlying health problem. It is important to treat any medical condition that may be causing erectile dysfunction.
Drug therapy with PDE5 inhibitors is the main treatment for erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) are the three PDE5 inhibitor drugs approved for treatment erectile dysfunction. In general, if a man is a candidate for PDE5 inhibitor therapy and is satisfied with the results, no further treatment is necessary.
PDE5 inhibitors are not safe or effective for all men. Men who cannot or choose not to take the drugs may have other options, including:
- Medications inserted or injected into the penis
- Vacuum devices
- Surgery (limited to rare cases)
Ultimately, how successful the medical treatment is and how well it is accepted depends, in large part, on the man's expectations and how he and his partner both adapt to the procedure.
Psychotherapies. Some form of psychological, behavioral, or sexual therapy may be recommended for certain patients.
Lifestyle Changes. No matter what the treatment, embarking on a healthy lifestyle is the first and critical step for restoring and maintaining erectile function.
Review Date: 07/20/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.