Erectile dysfunction, defined as the inability to achieve or maintain a rigid erection for sexual satisfaction, is a common condition affecting about half of American men over the age 40. For most men the primary cause of ED is physical, not psychological, and is associated with common medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol.

First stop

Oral medications are usually the first treatment option for most men experiencing ED. These medications are considered safe and effective for the vast majority of men. However, about 30 percent of men with ED do not respond adequately to pills.

If you are one of these men, do not despair, effective treatment options exist and finding a satisfying path to restoring sexual function can be life changing.

Second line

Most men respond well to second line therapies including injection therapy, Vacuum Erection Devices (VED), urethral suppositories and penile implants.

Injection therapy utilizes medication delivered into the penis via an ultrafine diabetic like needle. It is an extremely effective option with one study reporting an 85.8 percent satisfactory intercourse rate. Intraurethral suppositories utilize an applicator, which delivers a small pellet directly into the urethra. This method is considered less effective than injection therapy, with success rates in the 30-40 percent range.

"About 30 percent of men with ED do not respond adequately to pills."

VED's can be used by any man with ED regardless of age or underlying medical condition. A vacuum erection device consists of a hollow plastic tube, a hand or battery-powered vacuum pump and a tension ring. The vacuum pulls blood into the penis, once an erection is achieved; an elastic tension ring is placed at the base of the penis to help maintain the erection. VED’s are a drug free, cost effective, non-invasive ED treatment option with high satisfaction rates (68-80 percent).

Remaining options

A penile implant is a unique and reliable, ED solution that allows for spontaneity with no medication side effects or ongoing costs. A penile implant is inserted into the penis during an outpatient procedure, is entirely contained within the body and is designed to be simply and easy to operate.

A penile implant is a permanent ED treatment providing an erection anytime and for as long as a man desires. For over 40 years penile implants have helped over 400,000 men return to an active and satisfying sex life. Men and their partners have reported a 92 - 98 percent satisfaction rate and 97 percent would recommend a penile implant to a friend.

It’s important for men with ED to know that even when oral therapies fail there often is an effective path to sexual restoration. Therefore, these men should reach out to their health provides to explore which ED treatment option best suits their needs.