What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction is when a man finds it hard to achieve and maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. It is common for men to experience this at some point in their lives as it can be caused by many common circumstances. Stress, tiredness, consuming too much alcohol and anxiety are all potential causes of temporary erection difficulties. If the problem keeps happening then it is advised to speak to a doctor as there may be an underlying health condition.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments. Which treatment is best for each person depends on the cause. Ongoing emotional causes are best treated with counselling, while many physical causes can be effectively treated with medication.
How medication can help
Medicines such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra help by encouraging the body’s natural erection process. They increase the flow of blood into the penis by expanding blood vessels. This leads to the penis becoming engorged with blood and hard enough for sexual intercourse. Each medication has a different active ingredient, but they all work in the same way. The active ingredients are:
Vardenafil can only be bought under the brand name of Levitra, while Sildenafil and Tadalafil can be bought either as the branded versions or on their own. Non-branded, or “Generic” medication is significantly cheaper and is clinically identical. For more information about branded vs generic medication, see our section dedicated to this topic. (Link here to Branded vs Generic page)
While all three drugs work in the same way they last for different amounts of time. Also, some people may find that one works better for them than another. Sildenafil (Viagra) works for about 4 to 8 hours and vardenafil (Levitra) for about 5 to 8 hours. Tadalafil (Cialis) stands out as the longest lasting of the three as it’s effects can last for up to 36 hours.
What other treatments are available
If someone isn’t suitable for treatment by medication then there are other options.
Vacuum pumps encourage blood flow into the penis and are effective in around 90% of men no matter what the cause of their erection problems. A vacuum pump is a plastic tube that you put your penis into and the vacuum around your penis encourages blood flow. You then put a plastic ring around the base of your penis to stop blood escaping so that you can keep your erection long enough to have sexual intercourse.
While some men can be put off by the thought of using an injection, they can be an invaluable option for some people who can’t take any of the tablet forms of treatment. Injections contain a drug called Alprostadil, which is a synthetic hormone that encourages blood flow into the penis. The effects kick in very quickly at around 5 to 15 minutes and the injections have been shown to be effective in around 80% of men who didn’t respond to tablets.
Lifestyle changes that can help
There are some lifestyle changes that you can try yourself to improve erection problems. These include stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, losing weight and increasing exercise. Although it’s not always easy, reducing your stress levels can also have a positive impact.
Changes to other medication you take
Sometimes other prescription medication can cause problems with a man getting erections. If you take long term prescription medication and you are having problems maintaining an erection you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on whether they may be contributing to your problem. Common prescription medication that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
Is it safe to order medication online?
As long as you are ordering your medication through a legitimate website then it is just as safe as getting treatment from your local GP and Pharmacy. The key therefore is to check that you are using a legitimate website. There are two regulatory bodies that a website must be registered with in order to operate legally. They are:
Both these organisations ensure that websites are operating fully within the law and are supplying legitimate licensed medication from registered pharmacies in the UK. Websites must display a logo for each of these two governing bodies to prove that they are a legitimate company. When you click on these logos it should link to the relevant organisation’s website and display the registration details of the website you are dealing with. To see our regulatory status click the following links:
All medication can have side-effects and Erectile Dysfunction treatments are no different. However, most men find the side-effects to be mild and not significant enough to stop them taking their medication. The most common side-effect is a headache. Less commonly people can experience the following:
A rare but serious side-effect is Priapism which is where your erection won’t go away. This can be a serious problem and must be treated by a doctor. If you have had an erection for 2 hours or more you should see a doctor immediately.
There are some medical conditions and medical treatments that can make it dangerous for you to take tablets for erectile dysfunction. If you have any of these you must speak to a doctor before starting treatment and you must follow their advice carefully. Common medical conditions that mean you must use caution when taking these tablets include the following
If you take prescription medication that contains nitrates then you must also be very careful about taking these treatments. Nitrates are most commonly found in medication for angina. If you take nitrate medication you must strictly follow your doctor’s advice before starting erectile dysfunction tablets.