Best ways to treat your erectile dysfunction – Treatment for men unable to have an erection took a great leap forward when the first oral erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, Viagra (sildenafil), was introduced in 1998. But there have been strides recently in a host of other ED treatments, ranging from over-the-counter pumps to surgical implants and suppositories.
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Diagnosing your own ED is not a good idea, however. If you have trouble getting an erection, it’s important to see a doctor before pursuing any sort of treatment. There could be a medical explanation for your condition, and your health and sexual history may come into play.
Viagra, Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil) fight erectile dysfunction by relaxing smooth muscle in the penis, a process that increases blood flow and enables an erection.
The effectiveness of these phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors is well documented. “ED drugs are 70% effective in allowing the penis to achieve hardness for sexual activity,” says Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine and the editor in chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
And the pills are generally considered safe. Side effects can include headaches, sinus congestion, indigestion, and blue vision, but all are usually mild. “They’re some of the safer drugs on the planet,” says Dr. Goldstein.
If you’re on ED drugs, don’t take nitrates—such as nitroglycerine pills for chest pain or the recreational drugs known as “poppers.” The combination can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels and can even cause a heart attack.