Sexual Wellness

What Are The Latest Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction?

Fact Checked

There are new ED treatments for improving men's health and sexual activity coming out all of the time. Here is our roundup of some of the latest treatments for ED.

Last Updated: 04/25/2022

Written by

Eric Ridenour

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Paul Thompson

Erectile dysfunction or ED is a condition that affects many men. If you have problems with ED, you may want first to check to see if there are any underlying health conditions such as heart disease or other medications causing erectile issues before seeking ED treatment. It is a common problem and can be treated with many options. If you have erectile dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms and the best treatment for you. There are new ED treatments for improving men's health and sexual activity coming out all of the time. Here is our roundup of some of the latest treatments for ED.

Male Hormone Therapy

Commercials promoting a medication that increases “low T”, also known as testosterone replacement therapy, compete for airtime. Male hormonal treatment does not treat erectile dystrophy, however. This can increase a male's desire with low testosterone but is not generally beneficial on a female. Women can take an ultrasound to see if your testosterone level is high or low, but ED is generally not an issue here, obviously. When using injections, patches, or gel, hormone treatment may improve mood and sexual performance but not resolve mechanical issues. Testosterone replacement therapies should not be given to men who have cancer.

Surgical implants

If the treatment of erectile dysfunction does not improve your health, two types of penile implants are available for treatment. You may use an implantable pump for creating erections by placing fluid into the inside shaft of the penis. The other choice is the flexible prosthesis that functions as a semi-rigid rod, inside the penis for intercourse. The potential dangers of such treatment include infections and mechanical malfunctions.

Herbal Supplements

Herbs like Ginkgo biloba, Saw Palmetto, and Yohimbe has been used to treat erectile dysfunction by many people. However, there are no known scientifically proven effective methods to prevent or treat erectile dysfunction with herbal remedies. Supplements are also unregulated and can cause several side effects on your daily health and prescription medication. Do NOT use supplements for erectile dysfunction without consulting with your doctor.

Vacuum pumps

Also known as a penis pump, vacuum pumps are an alternative for people who experience problems with Sildenafil or other drugs. Using the penis pump is the next best option to treat erectile disorders and avoid pain. To create an erection, place the vacuum erection device on top of the penis. The air will flow out through a tube. The elastic rings that you slip on the penis are used to increase blood flow support erecting. The device can treat approximately 75 percent of men. Symptoms may also include swelling, and occasional bleeding.

Shock wave therapy improves blood flow

Researchers have found that Low Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (Li-ESWT) can reduce the revascularization of penis blood vessels in men. Shock wave therapy may also help maintain an erections, but the science behind this technology is very new, but very promising. Shockwaves are similar to the shock wave that breaks up kidney stones and maybe cause revascularization. Several clinical trials have been conducted for this effective treatment to date.

Penile injections

Alprostadil is an erectile dysfunction medication that has an automatic erectile dysfunction response. Penile injections are a very practical set of ED treatments for men who have oral medicine complications such as an underlying condition that prevents using the little ‘blue pill’ or other pills to treat ED. However, some people report a burning sensation at the injection site, causing them to avoid this method to treat ED.

Oral medications

Almost half of all men suffer from ED, and 80% get it resolved somehow. Oral medications are often a first-line therapy and have been marketed as inhibiting Phosphodiesterase 5 and help improve blood flow for male sexual dysfunction. Often side effects of ED drugs include cough or headaches. Note that taking nitroglycerine or other nitrate drugs for heart disease or blood pressure may not help treat cardiac problems as the drug will cause low blood pressure. Here are the top FDA approved medications on the market:

  • Sildenafil Citrate: This medicine works best when taken one hour before intercourse on an empty stomach. If you have mild to severe erectile dysfunction, it works for four to five hours or more.

  • Vardenafil Citrate: This medicine, which can be taken with or without meals, is likewise most effective when taken one hour before intercourse. A high-fat meal may prevent it from absorbing as rapidly as it should. If you have mild to severe erectile dysfunction, vardenafil will work for four to five hours or more. A newer version that dissolves on the tongue may work faster than the tablet.

  • Tadalafil: Tadalafil is taken one to two hours before intercourse, with or without meals. It works for up to 36 hours. It can be taken in tiny doses regularly or in greater doses when needed.

  • Avanafil citrate: Avanafil citrate is the newest FDA approved drug on the market. Depending on the dose, this drug is given with or without meals 30 minutes before intercourse. It can linger for up to six hours.

Other therapies to treat erectile dysfunction

There are many other new treatments for erectile problems people use to improve erectile dysfunction.

Stem cell therapy 

Early findings from a clinical trial indicate that stem cell therapy is one of many innovative therapies that may be a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction, with the technique restoring sexual function in males with the illness through stem cells. Researchers believe that stem cell therapy might be a viable therapeutic option for ED.

Prostate surgery 

While ED is frequent immediately following a prostate operation, you may restore sexual function after some time. This might range from a few months to two years. Also, keep in mind that ED may be treated by other means as well. You will be able to recover after surgery and discover an effective ED therapy suited for you if you work with your doctor.

Tension ring 

According to most users, the ring helps an erection persist long enough for intercourse. Because ED rings keep blood from flowing back when the penis is erect, they are most effective when a man can obtain and maintain a partial or full erection.

PRP therapy 

Thousands of people have had platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment options and have regularly reported improved erectile function, including reduced trouble obtaining and sustaining an erection. Many patients report an increase in hardness and length or girth.

Future treatment options for erectile dysfunction

Future therapies to treat erectile dysfunction will focus on offering oral medications that are more effective, act faster, and have fewer adverse effects than existing treatments.

Many pharmaceutical firms are working on novel ED pills, and several new choices may be available soon. These are some examples:

Activators of melanocortin 

These are medicines that appear to have an effect on the central nervous system (for example, the brain). Animal studies have indicated that they can cause an erection. Initial human trials indicate that the medication (PT-141) can be useful when administered intranasally (through the nose) to males with nonmedical (psychological/emotional) rather than physical causes of ED and mild to moderate ED. More extensive research will be required to show these medications' safety and overall efficacy. So far, nasal congestion and minor bleeding are known to occur.

Gene therapy 

This revolutionary treatment would send genes that make products or proteins that may not be working correctly in men with ED's penile tissue. The replacement of these proteins may enhance erectile function. Gene therapy has been shown to improve erectile function in experimental animal models. Human investigations may also show that this treatment is effective. Gene therapy may take a long time to get regulatory approval and widespread acceptance.

Alpha-blockers

In clinical studies and in clinical practice, both selective alpha-1 blockers (doxazosin) and alpha-2 blockers (yohimbine) enhance erectile function. Kaplan et al. proved the efficacy of doxazosin as an oral therapy for certain men with mild to moderate ED.

Clinical trials and research to for treating ED

Ongoing research in ED treatment and improving sexual stimulation are constantly making medical news. Some of the latest peer-reviewed studies include studying sexual activity and function in male cancer survivors and sperm quality, erectile problems in young vs. elderly patients, and even the social-environmental impact of COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction.

FAQ's

Can nitric oxide levels affect erectile dysfunction?

Absolutely! As an ED drug, Nitric oxide (NO) is a strong neurotransmitter that relaxes blood vessels and promotes circulation. Some data suggest that arginine may enhance blood flow in the heart's arteries to improve heart health and reduce chest pain. This might help with blocked arteries, chest discomfort or angina, and coronary artery disease. In addition, things like High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity can cause a dangerous drop in blood flow, affecting both your heart and ability to get an erection. In some cases, NO boosters can help treat ED.

Should you communicate with your partner when considering options

Yes. Communicate openly with your significant other when looking to treat ED. They may be able to help you discover underlying conditions relating to your overall health. In addition, your partner can help you discuss which new treatments are most beneficial to you as a couple, rather than simply what you may want.