Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition where the man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.
ED can be a tremendous source of embarrassment, but if you have it, know that you’re not alone. It affects about 30 million American men. So what’s the good news? It’s treatable.
At Viva Health in Clifton and Linden, New Jersey, board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Aleksander J. Bodnar and his staff are committed to helping their patients overcome ED and regain healthy sex lives.
That’s why they offer a range of treatments that target ED at its source. Here’s what you need to know.
How does an erection work?
An erection can be stimulated by sexual thoughts and/or physical contact with the penile tissue, but the key is increasing blood flow to the penis.
When aroused, a man’s penile muscles relax, allowing for an influx of blood delivered through the penile arteries into two chambers, one on each side of the penis. As the blood fills the chambers, the tissue stiffens into an erection.
After ejaculation, the penile muscles contract, forcing the excess blood out through the veins.
What causes ED?
Male sexual arousal is a whole-body experience, with a coordinated effort involving the brain, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and hormones. If any part of the system doesn’t work properly, it can result in ED.
Sexual dysfunction is more common with age because testosterone levels decline over time (low T). Other common causes are medication side effects and decreased libido and/or sexual sensation caused by an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.
In addition, stress, both physical and psychological, and mental health issues can cause or worsen performance issues and ED.
Help for erectile dysfunction
At Viva Health, we offer a number of treatment options to help resolve ED.
Medications are our first line of treatment for ED. Common prescriptions include Viagra® (sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil), and Cialis® (tadalafil). These are all phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors, blocking the action of a chemical that prevents enough blood flow to the penis.
Hormone replacement therapy
If your ED is caused by low T, testosterone replacement therapy can help. At Viva Health, we use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), a plant-based hormone chemically identical to what your body manufactures, so it’s usually well-tolerated.
BHRT is available in numerous forms (e.g., gel, cream), and it can boost libido as well as improve erections.
We can also inject medications, such as Edex® and Caverject®, directly into the penis. They widen and relax blood vessels to allow for increased blood flow.
If your ED is due to an underlying medical condition, making lifestyle modifications is a great way to reclaim your sexual health — and boost your overall health.
Dr. Bodnar might recommend eating a nutritious diet, achieving a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and limiting or eliminating alcohol and drug use, among other things.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)
ESWT has been used clinically since 1980 to heal damaged or inflamed connective tissues and regrow bone after a fracture. It also can help treat ED.
Also known as acoustic wave therapy because it uses sound waves, ESWT reduces dependence on oral or injected medications. And it’s particularly effective for men experiencing mild to moderate ED who’ve had success with the PDE5 inhibitors.
Dr. Bodnar uses a wand-like device to deliver low-intensity sound waves into the deep penile tissues. The waves:
- Clear away plaque buildup in blood vessels that impairs blood flow
- Stimulate growth factors so your body can create new, healthy blood vessels
ESWT is noninvasive. It requires no anesthesia or downtime and has no side effects. What it can do is revitalize your sex life by facilitating firmer and longer-lasting erections. Its success rate is over 70%, and it’s compatible with other treatments.
If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, Viva Health can help you get your mojo back. Call us at either location to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Bodnar, or book your appointment online today.