Erectile Dysfunction Treatments Erection Aids

Erection aids can help men deal with impotence issues. Aids are not treatments: they will not cure impotence, or treat underlying physical or psychological causes. They can, however, be used to make sexual intercourse possible in spite of erectile dysfunction. These aids range from non-invasive vacuum pumps to the effective, if somewhat intimidating, penile injection. Not every aid is appropriate for every man: you may need to experiment to find a solution that works for you.

Penile Injections: Papaverine Hydrochloride and Phentolamine

Erections can be achieved by injecting medication directly into the corpora cavernosa (the two chambers that run down the length of the penis and which trap the blood necessary for erections). Penile injections work in as little time as five to fifteen minutes, and the erection may last as long as an hour.

Medications used for penile injections include papaverine hydrochloride and phentolamine. Papaverine hydrochloride causes the muscles of the corpora cavenosa to relax, allowing blood to flow into the penis with greater ease. Phentolamine blocks signals from nerves that cause the penile arteries to contract, which forces blood out of the penis. Often the two medications are combined for greater effect.

Injections should not be used more than ten times in a month, equally spaced. When administering the injection, the man should alternate which side of the penis he uses. Frequent injections can lead to scarring around the injection site.

Priapism is the medical term for an erection that doesn’t subside, and is a possible side effect of using penile injections. Priapism can last for over eight hours and requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, priapism responds well to medical treatment.

Penis Rings

Penis rings are perhaps the oldest type of erection aid. The device is simply a ring, often made of plastic or rubber, that fits around the base of the penis after achieving erection. The ring prevents the blood that is stored in the corpora cavernosa from leaking out of the penis during intercourse. The rings work best for men who can achieve erections but who have difficulty maintaining them for intercourse.

Vacuum Pumps

Vacuum pumps are among the most commonly used erection aids, and are often effective. A vacuum pump has a plastic container that fits over the penis. The container is connected to a pump that creates a partial vacuum in the container. This results in blood rushing into the penis, and erection.

A vacuum pump may come with an elastic band that is placed around the base of the penis after achieving erection. The band, similar to a penis ring, prevents blood from leaking back out and reducing the erection.

A vacuum pump has few, if any adverse side effects. A variation on the more common pumps includes a rubber sheath that stays on the penis during intercourse and provides extra support.

Intraurethral Suppositories and Prostaglandin E1

Intraurethral suppositories can cause erections in as little as ten minutes. The medication, usually alphrostadil (a synthetic version of prostaglandin E1) is administered using an applicator. The medication is inserted into the tip of the urethra, at the head of the penis. Erections generally last between thirty minutes to an hour.

Prostaglandin E1 is a powerful vasodilator, which relaxes the penile arteries and promotes blood flow. Prostaglandins are a family of hormone-like substances that perform a variety of chemical functions in the body. Although the term prostaglandins implies a connection to the prostate, only prostaglandin E1 directly affects sexual activity.

Use of prostaglandins should be monitored by a health professional. Side effects can include testicular and penile pain, a burning sensation in the urethra, dizziness and possible urethral bleeding and spotting. Men suffering from blood clotting disorders or those on blood thinners should not use protaglandins.


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