If you’ve got erectile dysfunction, and you’ve decided to do something about it, you should congratulate yourself. According to the American Urological Association, less than a quarter of all the men who suffer from erectile dysfunction seek help for it. And this is a bad thing, because erectile dysfunction can itself be a symptom of more serious problems, such as heart disease. And by ignoring erectile dysfunction, or refusing to seek treatment for it, you might be taking more of a risk than you realize. In fact, a 2010 study found that this is the case much more frequently than previous thought.
But if you have decided to get help, you have a number of options choose from. Some of these options, such a Viagra or Sildenafil, are proven treatments with a high rate of effectiveness. There are also other treatments that, while not necessarily as effective as Viagra or Sildenafil, are present in the market. Let’s take a look at some of these options:
- PDE-5 Inhibitors – For a lot of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction, the underlying cause may simply be normal aging, or fairly benign causes. For men in that category, the most common and effective treatment is a class of drug known as PDE-5 Inhibitors. The best known medication in that class is Viagra, also known as Sildenafil, and these drugs work by protecting an enzyme known as cyclic-GMP, which helps to trap blood in the penile tissues of the body during sexual stimulation, thereby helping to cause and maintain an erection.
Of the PDE-5 inhibitors, Viagra (Sildenafil) was found to be the most effective, as compared to competing brands. Specifically, a 2006 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health focused on a ‘comparative meta-analysis’ of various drugs in this class, and found Viagra / Sildenafil to be the most effective. Likewise, studies consistently show that drugs in this class overall are the most effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – Hormone replacement therapy is essentially the supplementation of Testosterone in aging males, or males with low-Testosterone Syndrome. However, this treatment only works if low Testosterone is the root cause. For all other causes, hormone replacement therapy is ineffective. Furthermore, low Testosterone treatment has not been shown to consistent treat erectile dysfunction, even in those suffering from low Testosterone.
- Penile Suppositories – Another class of medication for erectile dysfunction is delivered via penile suppositories, which are inserted into the tip of the penis and cause the penile blood vessels to expand, causing increased blood flow into the penis, leading to erections. This method is less effective than other medications, with a roughly 73 percent success rate, and many users report varying levels of discomfort when using this method.
- Yohimbe – Yohimbe extract comes from the bark of the yohimbe tree, a native African evergreen tree that has been used as an aphrodisiac for many years. Yohimbe was approved for use by the FDA in the 1980’s, although the exact method by which it stimulates blood flow into the penile area is still unclear. Additional studies, such as a 1989 study conducted at the National Institutes of Health, also showed that yohimbe is limited in its effectiveness, with only 14 percent of the subjects studied achieving full erections.
- Korean Red Ginseng – Korean Red Ginseng, or Asian Ginseng, is part of a plant that grows in Southeast Asia, has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for a range of treatments, including erectile dysfunction. A study published by the American Journal of Urology did report some level of effectiveness in subjects who took red ginseng as opposed to a placebo. And while those rates were still significantly lower than Viagra / Sildenafil, it did show some level of promise. You can check WebMD for more information on this.
In the end, the most important thing is that, if you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction, that you seek medical attention, as it may be a symptom of a much more serious underlying problem. But, once you and your doctor determine that you’re not in danger, you can work together to identify a treatment that works for you.
And once you have a prescription in hand, you can choose to get that prescription filled at any one of a number of physical or online pharmacies. A word to the wise – if you live in the UK, Viagra can now be obtained under its technical name Sildenafil. While there is no difference in the two (Viagra is just the brand name for sildenafil, just like Tylenol is the brand name for ibuprofen), buying it as sildenafil is much cheaper. Unfortunately, US patients do not currently have this option available, for licensing reasons.