Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. It can cause embarrassment, leading to performance anxiety, which leads to more difficulty and more embarrassment.
However, there’s no need to be ashamed. ED’s a common condition, affecting about 30 million American men.
The good news? We can help!
Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Aleksander J. Bodnar and the staff at Viva Health are committed to helping our patients overcome ED and enjoy normal, healthy sex lives. That’s why we offer a range of effective treatment options at our Clifton and Linden, New Jersey, locations.
Here’s what you need to know about ED and what you can do about it.
What causes an erection?
A successful erection is all about increased blood flow to the penis. The increased flow can be stimulated by sexual thoughts and/or physical contact with the penile tissue.
During arousal, the penis muscles relax, allowing blood to flow into chambers on each side of the penis. The blood stiffens the tissue to cause an erection. After intercourse and ejaculation, the muscles contract, forcing the excess blood out through the penile veins.
What causes ED?
Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves coordination of the brain, nerves, muscles, hormones, and blood vessels. If any component isn’t functioning, ED may result.
Sexual dysfunction is increasingly common as you get older, in part because testosterone levels decline (low T) over time. Low T may also be a side effect of medication or an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.
In addition, physical or psychological stress can cause or worsen ED, including performance anxiety, the worry you won’t be able to perform in bed.
What to do about erectile dysfunction
At Viva Health, we offer many options to help ED and ease performance anxiety.
When treating ED, we often start with medication, such as Viagra® (sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil), and Cialis® (tadalafil). These are all phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors (PDE5 prevents adequate blood flow to the penis).
Hormone replacement therapy
If your ED is caused by low T, hormone replacement therapy can help. At Viva Health, we use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). The hormone is plant-sourced but chemically identical to what your body produces, so it’s usually well-tolerated.
BHRT, available in numerous forms, can boost your sex drive and increase your ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Medications such as Edex® and Caverject® can be injected directly into the penis, widening and relaxing blood vessels and allowing for increased blood flow.
Underlying medical conditions can produce ED as a side effect. Rather than adding medication with even more side effects, addressing those conditions with lifestyle changes can be a more effective way to help you reclaim your sexual health — and boost your overall health.
Dr. Bodnar might recommend limiting or eliminating alcohol and drug use, achieving a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)
ESWT has been used to heal damaged connective tissues and regrow bone following a fracture since 1980. In a similar way, it can treat ED.
Also called acoustic wave therapy because it uses sound waves, ESWT reduces the need for oral or injected medications. It’s particularly effective for men with mild to moderate ED who’ve had success taking the PDE5 inhibitors.
The wand-like device delivers low-intensity sound waves into the deep penile tissues to clear plaque buildup in blood vessels and stimulate growth factors so your body can create new, healthy blood vessels.
ESWT is noninvasive, has no downtime or side effects, and has a success rate of more than 70%, making it comparable to other treatments.
If you’re struggling with ED and performance anxiety as a result, Viva Health can help put your sex life back on track. Give us a call at either of our locations to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bodnar, or book your appointment online.