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Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence means the inability to achieve or maintain a rigid erection. Occasional ED happens, but ongoing erectile dysfunction deserves evaluation and treatment. Problems with erections can greatly affect relationships, as well as a man’s confidence and quality of life. That’s why your ED diagnosis at OU Health results in a comprehensive treatment plan formulated for your particular situation.

Potential Causes of ED

Because erectile dysfunction may signal other problems, your OU Health urologist evaluates your overall health for potential related conditions or causes such as:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension / high blood pressure
  • Medication side effects
  • Obesity
  • Previous prostate cancer treatments
  • Vascular conditions

OU Health Treatments for ED

Depending on the level of dysfunction and motivation, you can take advantage of many treatment options for ED, both nonsurgical and surgical.

You’ll start with activities to address any underlying conditions, such as the need for weight loss, diabetes control or heart health, that may contribute to erectile issues. You may need to allow time to heal from prostate cancer treatment or to correct low testosterone levels that can contribute to low libido and improve response to treatment.

Then, your doctor may recommend one or more options such as:

  • Nonsurgical care – Next steps after managing underlying health issues include:
    • Oral medications – Viagra® (sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil) or Levitra® (vardenafil); may be taken on demand before intercourse or on a scheduled basis to increase the body’s natural response to stimulation
    • Penile (intercavernosal) injections – Used if oral medications aren’t beneficial; direct injection can cause erection; your doctor will teach the technique in the clinic and use ultrasound at the initial injection to analyze and measure penile blood flow
    • Vacuum erection devices
    • Intraurethral suppository – Medication placed at the tip of the penis to trigger an erection
  • Surgical treatment – Placement of inflatable or bendable penile prosthesis from Boston Scientific or Coloplast; best option when nonsurgical actions or other treatments haven’t resolved the issue or side effects aren’t tolerated; procedure typically performed in operating room with approximately one-day hospital stay; cylinders placed within penis draw fluid from reservoir located either behind the bladder or under abdominal muscles with control pump in scrotum; follow-up studies show excellent satisfaction