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Understanding Erectile Dysfunction Causes

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It’s estimated that erectile dysfunction (ED) affects more than 20 million men in the United States alone. The majority of those men are over 40 years old, but ED can strike no matter what your age is.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There is no one main cause for erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction causes can be varied, but often it is an unfortunate side effect of a disease. For instance, men who have diabetes, decreased testosterone levels, high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, or some other health conditions may get ED.

Disease-related Erectile Dysfunction Causes:

  • Diabetes – Causes nerve and artery damage which can make achieving an erection difficult.
  • Kidney Disease – Causes chemical and hormonal changes which often lead to lower libido and sexual performance.
  • Neurological Diseases – Damage to the normal functioning of the nerves and brain make it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. Common examples include strokes, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Vascular Disease – Account for up to 70% of all diagnosed ED cases due to restrictions in blood flow to the heart, brain, and penis.

Oftentimes after prostate surgery men experience ED due to nerve damage or other trauma to the  body. Sometimes smoking, alcohol use, or certain medications can all cause ED. It can even result from  everyday pressures such as stress, anxiety, or just nervousness.

Non-disease related Erectile Dysfunction Causes:

  • Prostate or Bladder Surgery – damage or removal of nerves and tissue in the pelvic region can often cause physical desensitization in men.
  • Injuries – Physical injuries to the pelvis, lower spinal column, bladder, and penis can cause long-term blood flow or sensitivity problems.
  • Hormonal Imbalances – Often associated with andropause in middle-aged men, imbalances of the thyroid, prolactin, and testosterone can all negatively impact a man’s sexual virility.
  • Venous Leak – Occurs when the veins in the penis are physically unable to stop the blood from flowing back out of the penis, making an erection impossible.
  • Tobacco, Alcohol, or Drug Use – These substances have been clinically proven to damage blood vessels and restrict blood flow throughout the body, ultimately leading to erectile dysfunction.
  • Prescription Drugs – Over 200 types of prescription drugs are known to cause ED.
  • Prostate Enlargement – Recently implicated as being associated with ED, enlarged prostates may be causing restrictions in nerve and blood vessel function.

Interested in speaking to a pharmacist? We’re ready to answer any questions you may have. Fill out our consultation form and we’ll work with you to set up a consultation to discuss your needs and options for erectile dysfunction treatment.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options

While some men respond well to oral erectile dysfunction treatments such as Viagra or Cialis, others do not respond to these treatments or have uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects to these erectile dysfunction medications. In those cases, custom compounded medications can often be used to successfully treat ED.

Oral and Sublingual Medication Options

Pills taken orally and fast-acting compounded sublingual medications known as troches or rapid dissolve tablets (RDTs) are a good option for ED treatment. These pills use the same active ingredients found in common ED medications like Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil) and Levitra (Vardenafil). The medications enhance the effects of Nitric Oxide in penile tissue, encouraging greater blood flow into the penis. 

OTC and Supplement Options

Nutritional supplements and over the counter (OTC) options can be good additions for increased sexual wellness. These items generally help with libido, ED and supporting normal sexual function, so they may work well for you as an initial option. Our Nitric Oxide Support Booster promotes cardiovascular function, making it a great choice for increasing the blood flow in your body. It’s available without a prescription, so you can drop by our pharmacy and take a quick test at no cost to determine if it’s right for you. 

VED (Vacuum Erection Device) Options

VEDs are also known as penis pumps. They are a mechanical device which draws blood into the penis by creating a vacuum. A penis pump can serve as a form of physical therapy, bringing oxygen-infused blood into the penis and aiding in rehabilitation after prolonged periods of ED. VEDs can also be used as part of intercourse with the aid of a restrictor band slid onto the base of the penis. This holds the blood in place inside the penis to aid in the erection. We offer VEDs and bands without a prescription if this option works best for your needs. 

Injectable ED Medication Options

The injectable medications Alprostadil (prostaglandin E1), phentolamine, and/or papaverine are used individually or in combination. While an injectable ED medication may sound intimidating or even painful, the truth is, the treatment involves very little discomfort and is an easy and very effective way to treat ED. The table below covers some common injections for erectile dysfunction and their preparations:

Common Preparations for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Medication Name Medication Details ED Medication Effects
Alprostadil (PGE1) Available in a variety of premixed concentrations Relaxes muscles and blood vessels in the penis, allowing for better blood flow.
Papaverine Typically available in a standard 30 mg/ml concentration Increases blood flow in the penis. 
Triple Mix (Tri-Mix) A combination of Alprostadil (PGE1), Phentolamine and Papaverine The combination works to increase blood flow to the penis.
Super Triple Mix A highly concentrated version of the standard triple mix injection A higher concentration of Tri-Mix, this allows for increased blood flow to the penis. 
Bi-Mix A combination of Phentolamine & Papaverine Relaxes muscles and allows for increased blood flow at injection site.
A custom combination and concentration We can customize combinations and concentrations as needed Customization means the treatment will vary depending on your custom concentration. 

View our illustrated guide or watch the instructional video below to learn how to inject these medications. For more instructional videos and information, visit our resource videos page.

To learn more about options available to you for erectile dysfunction treatment, download our ED pamphlet that covers treatment options and directions on their use. 

Fortunately, no matter the cause, we offer medication and products that can successfully treat ED.

Find Your Solution Today

Fortunately, no matter the cause, we offer medication and products that can successfully treat ED.

Find Your Solution Today