Achieving and maintaining an erection is a complex physiological process that involves hormones, nerves, muscles and blood vessels, as well as the emotions. When a problem arises in any of these areas, erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur. Plus, lifestyle factors can also play a role in ED, and in many men, it's a combination of tow or more factors that combine to cause symptoms. Some of the most common causes of ED include:
vascular disease such as atherosclerosis (“hardening” of the arteries)
high cholesterol or high blood pressure
scar tissue inside the penis (Peyronie's disease)
injury or surgery affecting the pelvic region or spinal cord
alcoholism and drug abuse
certain prescription medications
treatments for prostate issues including cancer and prostate enlargement
stress, anxiety or depression
Understanding the possible causes is the first step in making sure you get the most appropriate and most effective treatment.
There are several types of treatment for ED, depending on the underlying causes, including:
oral medications to help increase blood flow to the penis, essential for achieving and maintaining an erection;
injectable medications to increase blood flow;
psychological counseling for stress, emotional issues or relationship problems
Losing weight, begin more physically active, quitting smoking and learning to manage stress are lifestyle changes that can also help in some cases.
Penile implants are devices that are surgically placed inside the penis to help achieve and maintain an erection. The devices may comprise semi-rigid rods or inflatable chambers that can be enlarged with a pump that's implanted in the scrotal sac. Penile implants are usually considered only when other methods and treatments for ED have been tried and have been determined to be unsuccessful. Implantation involves a simple, same-day procedure.
Leonard W. Liang, M.D., is a provider for Medicare and most major insurance plans, and provides insurance billing. You are responsible for co-payments or charges that are not covered by your insurance. If you have questions regarding billing or which insurance plans we accept, please contact us. Questions regarding insurance coverage and benefits should be directed to your employer or insurance company.
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