Sexual arousal is a complex process involving a coordinated effort on the part of the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. If any part of the system doesn’t function properly, the end result can be erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is a sensitive subject for most men. But this problem, which causes a persistent inability to achieve and maintain an erection, is more common than you probably think — and it’s treatable. About 5% of men at age 40 have complete erectile dysfunction, increasing to about 15% at age 70. And mild-to-moderate ED affects around 10% of men per decade of life, so that by 50 years, close to 50% of men suffer some degree of dysfunction.
Board-certified urologist and men’s sexual health physician Dr. William Brant understands the impact any degree of erectile dysfunction can have on your quality of life, and he provides a number of evidence-based treatments to help you reclaim your health and your sexual confidence. And because ED can be an indication of an underlying disorder, he stresses the importance of seeking prompt medical attention if you experience any symptoms. Here’s what he wants you to know about the condition and its solutions.
Erectile dysfunction basics
In many ways, ED is a blood flow issue. In order for an erection to occur, blood must flow uninterrupted into corpora cavernosa (masses of erectile tissue) and stay there until sex is complete. Anything that interrupts that flow, whether physical or psychological, can lead to some degree of erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes, which includes underlying medical conditions, are responsible for about 90% of ED cases. Atherosclerosis is one of the most common causes, because it narrows or clogs the arteries in the penis, preventing the necessary blood flow.
Other physical causes include:
- High blood pressure or cholesterol
- Hormonal disorders, including thyroid conditions and testosterone deficiency (low T)
- Structural or anatomical disorders of the penis, such as Peyronie’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Injuries in the pelvic area
Numerous prescription medications can also cause ED by impacting blood flow, including high blood pressure and heart medications, antidepressants, sleeping pills, chemotherapy or prostate drugs, and illicit drugs and alcohol.
We offer a number of different treatments that help with ED. These include:
Oral medications including Viagra® and Cialis®, which are PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors, block a chemical that prevents sufficient blood flow, so you can achieve an erection. Essentially, these medications act to amplify the erections you already have. However, these medications may be ineffective at helping conditions such as low T, Peyronie’s disease, or injury and should not be the only treatment method tried.
Vacuum erection device (VED)
This external device fits over your penis, and as you pump it up, it pulls blood into the penile tissue. A plastic ring placed at the base of your penis maintains the erection for up to 30 minutes.
Some medications that widen and relax blood vessels can be injected directly into the penis, increasing flow.
Penile implants are the most definitive solution, analogous to having a knee replacement for a knee that has failed conservative treatments. If conservative ED treatments yield no joy, a penile implant procedure may be an option. Dr. Brant implants new hydraulic cylinders directly in the penis. This long-lasting solution provides firmer erections in a more natural manner.
Low-intensity shockwave therapy (LiSWT) is already in use to heal wounds, bone fractures, and damaged connective tissues, but doctors are now viewing it as a potential treatment for ED, one that can reduce your dependence on medications.
Dr. Brant and his team use the Li-ESWT system for men who have mild-to-moderate vasculogenic (blood flow-related) ED and who’ve had success with the PDE-5 inhibitors.
Dr. Brant uses a wand-like device to deliver low-intensity sound waves into the tissues of the penis, clearing away plaque that may be blocking the blood vessels and preventing blood flow into the corpora cavernosa. In addition, the waves stimulate growth factors that allow your body to develop new, healthy blood vessels. The treatment is noninvasive and takes only about 15 minutes in-office to complete.
Schedule a Erectile Dysfunction Consultation with D. Brant Today
If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, don’t despair; we have solutions that will restore your performance in the bedroom and your self-confidence. Give our office a call at 801-207-7922 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brant, or book online today.