Erectile Dysfunction: Donít Let It Keep You Down!


Anna stood at the foot of their bed, awash in the forgiving glow of a dozen tea light candles. She was still a beauty, draped in a soft silk nightie that clung to her body in all the right places. Joe couldnít believe 20 years had gone by. She slipped between the satin sheets and whispered in his ear. He turned and looked deeply into her eyes. What he said made her jaw drop...


ďNot tonight, dear. I have a headache.Ē


Did your jaw drop too?


Thatís because, historically, women have owned that classic excuse for turning down sex. But women are not the only ones who suffer a lack of libido or other sexual obstacles on the journey toward their golden years.At least 20-25% of US men may lose interest in sex as they reach middle age.


While libido issues are a problem for some men, their biggest nightmare is not that theyíll lose interest in sex, itís the fear that they wonít be able to perform when they want to have sex.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) -- formerly called impotence-- is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual activity. And thatís a real downer.


Over 18 million American men suffer from ED, making it much more common than low libido.While it can occur at any age, itís seen more often in men over 65.


The most common physical and psychological causes of ED include:


  • Chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease; kidney, lung or liver disease; or diseases of the veins, arteries and nerves, especially where blood flow to the pelvic area is restricted.
  • Hormonal abnormalities, such as low testosterone.
  • Drug abuse.
  • Prescription drugs, including antidepressants, tranquilizers, antihistamines, blood pressure and prostate cancer medications.
  • Surgery for prostate, rectal or bladder may damage erection-controlling nerves.
  • Trauma to the spinal cord or pelvis may damage erection-controlling nerves.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Stress and overwork.
  • Serious relationship problems with partner.
  • Depression.
  • Latent homosexuality.


Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatment options available for ED. Which option, or combination of options, is right for you will depend on the cause and severity of your condition, and your budget.However, if your ED is caused by a medical condition, the treatment may be covered by your health insurance.


Some of the treatment options for ED include:


  • Oral medications (like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra).These do not cause an erection, but merely relax smooth muscles in and increase blood flow to the penis, so an erection may occur naturally upon physical and/or psychological stimulation.They work well for many men, but differ in dosage, duration, effectiveness, and side effects. Also, men with certain medical conditions or who take certain prescription drugs may not be able to take these medications.


  • Prostaglandin E penal injections. If you are not squeamish, this self-administered needle into the base of the penis will produce an erection within 5-20 minutes, which lasts about an hour. The injections are costly and side effects include prolonged erection and bleeding at the injection site.


  • Intraurethral suppositories. Another self-administered therapy for the brave of heart, this treatment involves inserting a suppository the size of half a grain of rice two inches into the tip of the penis. Not surprisingly, side effects include pain, minor bleeding in the urethra and dizziness. It works like the oral medications.


  • Testosterone replacement therapy for hormonal imbalance.


  • Vacuum tubes and tension rings to create and maintain an erection.By hand pumping a hollow plastic tube which covers the penis, blood is pulled by vacuum action into the penis to create an erection. Then, you slip a tension ring around the base of the penis to maintain the erection, remove the plastic tube, enjoy the erection for as long as it lasts, and then remove the ring when youíre finished.Drawbacks include lack of spontaneity and premature deflation.


  • Penile implants. Surgically implanted devices along the sides of the penis which can be inflated to allow an erection to occur whenever and for however long one is desired. It is expensive and invasive and is often not considered unless other options have failed. Side effects include infection from the surgery.


  • Vascular surgery for ED due to injury or vascular blockages.

  • Counseling for psychological causes.


  • Alternative therapies, like DHEA and ginseng supplements, may benefit some men, but for the most part come up short.


One of the best treatment options is preventative in nature-- adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes diet and exercise to avoid the culprit diseases which can cause ED. And heed the advice of Harry Fisch, M.D., in his book, The Male Biological Clock, where he warns that if somethingís bad for the heart, itís bad for the penis.

With all the options available to men today to prevent or treat ED, there is no reason to ever play the ďheadacheĒ card. You should be able to get a rise out of life at any time!