Posts Tagged ‘penile injection therapy’

Practical Approach To Erectile Dysfunction

September 16, 2017

Andrew Siegel MD  9/16/17

shutterstock_side view manjpeg

ED is a highly prevalent condition and a common reason for a urology consultation.  A pragmatic approach to its diagnosis and treatment–the topic of today’s entry–has always worked well for my patients.  A practical approach starts with simple and sensible measures, and only in the event that these are not successful, proceeding with more complex and involved strategies, dividing management options into four tiers of complexity. 

 Principles to managing male sexual issues are the following:

  • If it ‘ain’t broke,’ don’t fix it: “First do no harm.”
  • Educate to enable informed decisions: “The best prescription is knowledge.”
  • Try simple, conservative options before complex and aggressive ones: “Simple is good.”
  • Healthy lifestyle is vital: “Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.”

Questions that need to be asked in order to evaluate ED include the following:

AS and DM

  • How long has your problem been present?
  • Was the onset sudden or gradual?
  • How is your sexual desire?
  • How is your erection quality on a scale of 0-5 (0 = flaccid; 5 = rigid)?
  • Can you achieve an erection capable of penetration?
  • Is your problem obtaining an erection, maintaining an erection, or both?
  • Is your problem situational? Consistent? Variable?
  • Are nocturnal, early morning and spontaneous erections present?
  • Do you have a bend or deformity to the erect penis?
  • How confident are you about your ability to complete the sexual act?
  • Are there ejaculation issues (rapid, delayed, painful, inability)?
  • Do you have symptoms of low testosterone?
  • What treatments have been tried?

Of equal relevance are medical, nutritional, exercise and surgical history, medications, and use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.  A tailored physical includes blood pressure, pulses and an exam of the penis, testes and prostate.  Basic lab tests including urinalysis, serum glucose, HbA1c, lipid profile and testosterone.

Information derived from the evaluation as described above will provide a working diagnosis and the ability to formulate a treatment approach.  Although a nuanced and individualized approach is always best, four lines of treatment for ED are defined—from simple to complex—in a similar way that four lines of treatment can be considered for arthritis.  For arthritis of the knee, for example, first-line therapy is weight loss to lessen the mechanical stress on the joint, in conjunction with physical therapy and muscle strengthening exercises. Second-line therapy is anti-inflammatory and other oral medications that can help alleviate the pain and inflammation. Third-line therapy is injections of steroids and other formulations.  Fourth-line therapy is surgery.

If the initial evaluation indicates a high likelihood that the ED is largely psychological/emotional in origin, referral to a qualified psychologist/counselor is often in order.  If the lab evaluation is indicative of low testosterone, additional hormone blood tests to determine the precise cause of the low testosterone are done prior to consideration for treatment aimed at getting the testosterone in normal range.  If the lab evaluation demonstrates unrecognized or poorly controlled diabetes or a risky lipid and cholesterol profile, appropriate medical referral is important.

Practical treatment of ED


elephant penis
 Credit for photo above goes to one of my patients; note the 7 prodigious appendages!

First-line: Lifestyle makeover

 A healthy lifestyle can “reverse” ED naturally, as opposed to “managing” it. ED can be considered a “chronic disease,” and as such, changes in diet and lifestyle can reverse it, prevent its progression and even prevent its onset.

My initial approach is to think “big picture” (and not just one particular aspect of the body working poorly).  Since sexual functioning is based upon many body components working harmoniously (central and peripheral nerve system, hormone system, blood vessel system, smooth and skeletal muscles), the first-line approach is to do what nurtures every cell, tissue and organ in the body. This translates to getting down to “fighting” weight, adopting a heart-healthy and penis-healthy diet (whole foods, nutrient-dense, calorie-light, avoiding processed and refined junk foods), exercising moderately, losing the tobacco habit, consuming alcohol in moderation, managing stress (yoga, meditation, massage, hot baths, whatever it takes, etc.), and getting adequate quantity and quality of sleep. Aside from general exercises (cardio, core, strength and flexibility training), specific pelvic floor muscle exercises (“man-Kegels”) are beneficial to improve the strength, power and endurance of the penile “rigidity” muscles.

If a healthy lifestyle can be adopted, sexual function will often improve dramatically, in parallel to overall health improvements. Many medications have side effects that negatively impact sexual function. A bonus of improved lifestyle is potentially allowing lower dosages or elimination of medications (blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetic meds, etc.), which can further improve sexual function.

“The food you eat is so profoundly instrumental to your health that breakfast, lunch and dinner are in fact exercises in medical decision making.”  Thomas Campbell MD

 

healthy meal

Above: A nice, healthy meal consisting of salmon, salad, veggies and quinoa

 

fat belly

Above: Not the kind of belly you want–visceral obesity is a virtual guarantee of pre-diabetes–if not diabetes–and greatly increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, including ED

Bottom line: Drop pounds, eat better, move more, stress less, sleep soundly = love better!

Second-line: ED pills and mechanical devices

In my opinion, the oral ED medications should be reserved for when lifestyle optimization fails to improve the sexual issues. This may be at odds with other physicians who find it convenient to simply prescribe meds, and with patients who want the quick and easy fix.  However, as good as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and Stendra may be, they are expensive, have side effects, are not effective for every patient and cannot be used in everyone, as there are medical situations and medications that you might be on that preclude their use. In the second-line category, I also include the mechanical, non-pharmacological, non-surgical devices, including the Viberect and the vacuum suction devices.

Viagra (Sildenefil). Available in three doses—25, 50, and 100 mg—it is taken on demand and once swallowed, it will increase penile blood flow and produce an erection in most men within 30-60 minutes if they are sexually stimulated, and will remain active for up to 8 hours.

 Levitra (Vardenefil). Similar to Viagra, it is available in 5, 10, and 20 mg doses. Its effectiveness and side effect profile is similar to Viagra.

Cialis (Tadalafil).  Available in 2.5, 5 mg, 10mg, and 20 mg doses, its effectiveness and side effect profile is similar to Viagra. Its duration of action is approximately 36 hours, which has earned it the nickname of “the weekender.” Daily lower doses of Cialis are also FDA-approved for the management of urinary symptoms due to benign prostate enlargement.

Stendra (Avanafil). Similar to Viagra, it is available in 50, 100 and 200 mg doses. Its advantage is rapid onset.

Vacuum suction device                                                                                                                          This is a mechanical means of producing an erection in which the penis is placed within a plastic cylinder connected to a manual or battery-powered vacuum. The negative pressure engorges the penis with blood and a constriction band is temporarily placed around the base of the penis to maintain the erection.

Viberect device                                                                                                                               Initially employed as a means of triggering ejaculation in men with spinal cord injuries using vibrational energy, it has achieved wider use in provoking erections in men with ED. The device has dual arms that are placed in direct contact with the penile shaft. The vibratory stimulation will cause an erection and ultimately induce ejaculation.

Third-line: Vasodilating (increase blood flow) urethral suppositories and penile injections

These drugs are not pills, but other formulations (suppositories and injections) that increase penile blood flow and induce an erection.

M.U.S.E. (Medical urethral system for erection).  This is a vasodilator pellet—available in 125, 250, 500, and 1000 microgram dosages—that is placed into the urinary channel after urinating.  Absorption occurs through the urethra into the adjacent erectile chambers, inducing increased penile blood flow and potentially an erection.

Caverject and Edex (Prostaglandin E1) are vasodilators that when injected directly into the erectile chambers result in increased blood flow and erectile rigidity. After one is taught the technique of self-injection, the medication can be used on demand, resulting in rigid and durable erections.  A combination of medications can be used for optimal results– this combination is known as Trimix and consists of Papaverine, Phentolamine, and Alprostadil.

Fourth-line: Penile implants

There are two types of these devices that are surgically implanted into the erectile chambers under anesthesia, most often on an outpatient basis. Penile implants are totally internal, with no visible external parts, and aim to provide sufficient penile rigidity to permit vaginal penetration.

The semi-rigid device is a simple one-piece flexible unit consisting of paired rods that are implanted into the erectile chambers. The penis with implanted flexible rods is bent up for sexual intercourse and bent down for concealment. The inflatable device is a three-piece unit that is capable of inflation and deflation. Inflatable inner tubes are implanted within the erectile chambers, a fluid reservoir is implanted behind the pubic bone and a control pump in the scrotum, adjacent to the testes. When the patient desires an erection, he pumps the control pump several times, which transfers fluid from the reservoir to the inflatable inner tubes, creating a hydraulic erection which can be used for as long as desired. When the sexual act is completed, he deflates the mechanism via the control pump, transferring fluid back to the reservoir.

Penile implants can be a life changer for a man who cannot achieve a sustainable erection. They provide the necessary penile rigidity to have intercourse whenever and for however long that is desirable.

 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a practicing physician and urological surgeon board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  Dr. Siegel serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community that is in such dire need of bridging.

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Penile Injection Therapy: A Small Prick For A Bigger One

March 5, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 3/5/2016

In 1983, at the American Urological Association meeting in Las Vegas, an event occurred that forevermore changed the field of male sexual dysfunction. Giles Brindley, a British physiologist, appeared from behind the podium and dropped his trousers, revealing to the audience his erection that had been induced by the injection of a medication directly into his penis. Commented one authority: “Farther down the Strip, Seigfried and Roy were making a white Bengal tiger disappear, and two circus aerialists—one sitting on the other’s shoulders—were traversing a tightrope without a net. But even in Vegas they’d never seen a show like this.” Few medical breakthroughs have had the dramatic effect that Brindley’s demonstration had, solidifying the principle that an erection is caused by smooth muscle relaxation in the erectile sinus tissues of the penis.

 

When first-line (healthy lifestyle) and second-line measures (ED meds, vibrational stimulation, penile pump)  are not sufficient in restoring erectile rigidity, penile injection therapy can be an effective and safe third-line option.

Penile injections of vasodilator drugs (medications that promote penile blood inflow) are beneficial for a wide range of medical conditions associated with ED. Vasodilator drugs injected directly into the penile erectile chambers bypass psychological, neurological, and hormonal factors and act locally on the erectile sinus tissues, causing blood to pour into the erectile chambers, inducing a rigid erection on demand. Injection therapy can be useful in ED due to psychological, neurological and hormonal causes as well as in men with some degree of blood vessel disease due to fatty plaque blocking arterial inflow. These injectable medications are the only such drugs that are capable of initiating an erection—in other words, achieving an erection without sexual stimulation.

A tiny needle is used to inject the medication into the side of the penis, directly into one of the paired penile erectile chambers. An erection usually occurs within 5-30 minutes and lasts for a variable amount of time, depending on the dosage of the medication. Injection-induced erections do not interfere with one’s ability to ejaculate or experience an orgasm.

Alprostadil (Caverject, Edex) is a commonly used vasodilator that increases penile blood flow and relaxes arterial and erectile sinus smooth muscle in the erectile chambers, resulting in a rigid erection. A combination of medications is often used to obtain optimal results. This combination is known as Trimix and consists of three drugs: Alprostadil, Papaverine and Phentolamine.

Who Knew? In 1982, French vascular surgeon Dr. Ronald Virag discovered the effect of Papaverine on erections when he mistakenly infused it into the penis, thinking he was administering saline. The patient immediately developed an erection and Dr. Virag realized that a new treatment for ED was possible.

Patients interested in using penile injection therapy are taught how to do the procedure during a urological office visit, at which time a test dose is administered. It is not a difficult technique to learn, although it requires some degree of dexterity. After learning the technique, the medication can be self-administered on demand. It often requires some trial and error to get the dosage just right so that the erection lasts an appropriate amount of time, in accordance with individual needs. With practice, one rapidly becomes skilled in the technique—not unlike learning to use contact lenses.

Side effects can be pain, bruising, scarring and prolonged erections. The most common side effect is a dull ache that is usually mild and tolerable. This typically happens with Alprostadil more commonly than with Trimix. A bruise may occur at the injection site and is best prevented by applying compression on the injection site for several minutes following the injection. Occasionally, a small lump can develop at the site of repeated injections and rarely penile scarring may be a consequence.

On occasion, a prolonged erection (priapism) may occur. It is undesirable to have an erection that lasts for more than four hours. If this occurs, it may require the injection of a medication to reverse the effects of the vasodilator drug and decrease penile blood flow in order to bring the erection down. This is safest done in an ER setting where cardiac monitoring can be performed.

Who Knew? Many male stars in the adult film industry use Trimix in order to achieve the erectile rigidity and durability necessary for their performances.

Sadly, there are some unscrupulous medical groups who prey on unsuspecting and vulnerable ED patients, often offering injection therapy without discussion of alternative treatments and charging patients exorbitant fees for medications such as Trimix.. See the following LA Times article concerning this:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/07/local/la-me-boston-medical-20110404

The reality is that medications such as Trimix can be obtained via prescription from your urologist at reputable compounding pharmacies for very reasonable fees. It should not cost an arm and a leg to obtain a rigid penis!

Technique of Penile Injection

Preliminary tips:

  • Shave the base of the penis to make the process easier.
  • If possible, immediately before injecting, manipulate the penis to obtain some penile blood flow and filling.  The procedure will be easier with a plumper penis.
  • Avoid injecting into superficial veins.
  • The injection only needs to be done on one side even though there are two injection chambers, since they communicate.
  • Vary the injection site to avoid scarring.
  • Do not inject more than three times weekly.

 

Triple-P_Injection

(Author: Post Prostate, Source: Own work; 16 March 2013)

  1. If you are right-handed, use your left thumb to protect the 12 o’clock position (penile nerves) and your left index finger to protect the 6 o’clock position (urethral channel). If you are left-handed, use your right thumb to protect the 12 o’clock position (penile nerves) and your right index finger to protect the 6 o’clock position (urethral channel).
  2. Use an alcohol swab to cleanse the base of the penis in order to prevent infections and then set aside the swab and save.
  3. Holding the prefilled syringe like a pen, in dart-like fashion penetrate the skin of the penis at a right angle, passing the needle as far as it will go. The site should be between the 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock position for a righty and 9 o’clock and 11 o’clock position for a lefty. The base of the shaft is the easiest location for the injection; however, because the erectile chambers run all the way to the head of the penis, any shaft location is acceptable for the injection site.
  4. Inject the full contents of the syringe by applying pressure to the plunger.
  5. Remove the syringe and use the alcohol swab to apply pressure to the injection site for several minutes.
  6. Observe your penis becoming increasingly rigid and the rest is up to you!

Bottom Line:  Penile injection therapy can be an effective and safe option for restoring erectile function when first and second-line measures are not sufficient.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store that is home to quality urology products for men and women.  Use code UROLOGY10 at check out for 10% discount. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penile Implants

February 27, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 2/27/16

With respect to male sexual dysfunction,  implantation of a penile prosthesis is a highly effective procedure capable of restoring erectile function in those men who do not respond to simpler treatment measures.  In many ways it is as quality-of-life-restoring as a total knee replacement is to one suffering with arthritis, converting a penile “cripple” into a functional male with restored erections and resolution of the psychological and emotional devastation resulting from loss of manhood.

There are two principles that can be pretty much applied to all situations in life:

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (Pardon the English.)
  2. If it is broken, try the simple and conservative before the complex and aggressive.

These concepts are commonly applied to medical issues in general and male sexual dysfunction in specific.  If erections are satisfactory, no treatment is necessary (but maintaining a healthy lifestyle will sure help keep things that way).   However, if erections are flimsy and feeble, the following sensible tiered strategy is in order:

First-Line Approach

Lifestyle makeover. This includes a heart-healthy (and penis-healthy) diet, getting down to “fighting” weight, exercising regularly, drinking alcohol moderately, avoiding tobacco, minimizing stress, getting enough sleep, etc. Aside from general exercises (cardio, core, strength training, flexibility), specific pelvic floor muscle exercises (“man-Kegels”) are beneficial to improve the strength, power and endurance of the penile “rigidity” muscles.

Second-Line Approach

ED meds/Penile vibratory stimulation therapy/Penile pump.  Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Stendra are pharmacological options.  As an alternative to medications, penile vibratory nerve stimulation (Viberect device) can be an effective means of helping resurrect erectile function. Alternatively, the vacuum suction device is a means of drawing blood into the penis to obtain an erection; the system uses a constriction band to maintain the erection.

Third-Line Approach

Urethral suppositories/Penile injection therapy. Suppositories are medicated pellets that are placed in the urethra (urinary channel) that  increase penile blood flow and induce an erection. Penile injections of vasodilator medications do the same and more effectively so, but require the medication to be injected directly into the penile erectile chambers. (Blog on this subject forthcoming next week.)

Fourth-Line Approach

Penile implant. This is a device made of synthetic materials that is surgically implanted under anesthesia, typically on an outpatient basis. It is totally internal, with no visible external parts and aims to provide sufficient penile rigidity to permit vaginal penetration. For the right man under the appropriate circumstances the penile implant can be a life changer.

There are two types of penile implants: semi-rigid and inflatable. I liken the difference between these two implants to the distinction between a Volkswagon and Mercedes, both effective and functional, but one with many more “bells and whistles.”

A semi-rigid penile implant (a.k.a. malleable implant) is a “static” implant that always remains rigid, not unlike the os penis (penis bone) present in many primates, except that this implant can be hinged. It is bent upwards to put it to use and is bent downwards to conceal it. It consists of two cylinders that are implanted within the penile erectile chambers through a small incision.

Print

(Coloplast semi-rigid penile implant)

The advantage of the semi-rigid implant is its simplicity, the fact that it is less expensive than an inflatable device and its utility for handicapped patients with dexterity issues or those who have limited reaches. Its disadvantage is that it cannot go from a flaccid state to an inflated state as can the inflatable penile implant, thus creating some potential issues with concealment. Furthermore, by virtue of the constant pressure of the implant on the soft tissues of the penis, it can be more uncomfortable than the inflatable variety and has the potential for thinning the penile flesh.

The inflatable penile implant (IPP) is a “dynamic” device designed to mimic the characteristics of a normal erection, with the capacity to inflate and deflate by virtue of a self-contained hydraulic system. Dual cylinders (inner tubes) are implanted in the erectile chambers. The length of the erectile chambers is precisely measured in order to size the implant properly, similar to measuring the size of your feet in order to ensure a good shoe fit. A control pump is implanted in an accessible area of the scrotum. The third element is the reservoir, which contains the fluid necessary for inflation. The reservoir is typically implanted behind the pubic bone or within the abdominal wall. Tubing connects the control pump to the cylinders and to the reservoir.

Titan Touch product anatomy

(Coloplast inflatable penile implant)

When an erection is desired in a man who has an IPP implanted, the scrotal control pump is repeatedly squeezed, which transfers saline from the reservoir into the penile cylinders. As the cylinders fill, an erection develops and with each consecutive squeeze, more fluid is flows into the cylinders, creating a more rigid erection of wider girth. The erection will remain until the release bar on the control pump is activated.   After the completion of sexual intercourse, by activating this release bar, the fluid in the cylinders returns to the reservoir where it is again stored, returning the penis to its flaccid state. Some IPPs are designed to increase in girth only, whereas others can increase in length and girth.

IPPs have been available for over forty years and have been improved remarkably over the years. The current devices are well-engineered, sophisticated,  highly effective devices. Penile sensitivity, sex drive and ability to ejaculate are essentially unchanged following an IPP implantation. It is important to know that unlike a normal erection, the IPP erection does not result in swelling of the head of the penis nor the erectile tissue surrounding the urethra. Nonetheless, it results in a penetrable and durable erection that can restore sexual function in a man who is incapable of achieving an erection.

Advantages of the IPP are its ability to inflate and deflate, creating no issues with concealment. The penis can be kept inflated for as long as desired, whether it be 60 seconds or 60 minutes and will not deflate after ejaculation, unlike what typically occurs under normal circumstances. Disadvantages include its additional expense (although it is usually covered by insurance), the fact that it requires some degree of manual dexterity to operate, and the fact that it is more susceptible to mechanical malfunction than the semi-rigid variety because of its complexity.

Bottom Line: The penile implant is a fourth-line approach for ED that is a highly effective means of providing erectile rigidity on demand, capable of restoring sexual function in a man who is incapable of achieving a functional erection.

Thank you to the Coloplast Corporation for providing the images.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store that is home to quality urology products for men and women.  Use code UROLOGY10 at check out for 10% discount. 

Is There A Better Way To Manage Erectile Dysfunction Than “Doping”?

October 3, 2015

Andrew Siegel, MD    10/3/15

IMG_1457(1)

(My patient Ben Blank, a talented artist and cartoonist, gave me the cartoon shown above in 1998 when Viagra first became available.  It is hanging in one of my exam rooms)

Erectile dysfunction is usually caused by a combination of many factors, including lifestyle, medical issues, medications, impaired blood flow, nerve damage, pelvic muscle weakness, stress and psychological conditions.

Managing any medical problem should employ a sensible strategy trying the simplest, safest, and least expensive alternatives first. If unsuccessful, more aggressive, complicated and invasive options can be entertained.

For example, when a patient presents with arthritis, he or she is not offered a total knee replacement from the get-go (at least I hope not!). In accordance with the aforementioned strategy, managing knee arthritis should start with rest and anti-inflammatory medications and proceed, if necessary, down the pathway of exercise/physical therapy, arthroscopy, endoscopic knee surgery, and ultimately if all else fails, under the proper circumstances, to prosthetic joint replacement.

A Sensible and Practical Approach To Erectile Dysfunction

A similar approach should be applied to managing erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, however, many patients and physicians alike seek the “quick fix” and ignore many treatments that can help prevent or reverse the condition.

I like to adhere to the following principles to manage sexual dysfunction:

  1. Provide education (verbal and in writing) so informed decisions can be made.
  2. Try simple and conservative solutions before complex and aggressive ones.
  3. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it: “First do no harm.”
  4. Healthy lifestyle is crucial: “Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.” Lifestyle improvement measures are of paramount importance.

“Doping” is common among athletes, who use illicit drugs to enhance their athletic performance. In my urology practice, many of my patients “dope”—with legal drugs—in an effort to improve their sexual performance. Is there not a better and more natural way than starting with performance-enhancing drugs from the get-go?

Don’t get me wrong, the oral meds for ED (Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and Stendra) are “revolutionary” additions to the limited resources we once had to treat ED. Although far from perfect—expensive, contraindicated with certain cardiac conditions and for those on nitrate medications, associated with some annoying side effects, and not effective in everyone—nonetheless, for many men they are highly effective in creating a “penetrable” erection.

These drugs are commonly used as the first-line approach to ED. As useful as they are, I contend that “doping” should not be first-line treatment, but should be reserved for situations in which the simple and natural first-line interventions fail to work.

Since erections are nerve/blood vessel/erectile smooth muscle/pelvic skeletal muscle events, optimizing erection capability involves doing what you can to have healthy nerves, blood vessels and muscles. How does one keep their tissues and organs healthy? The first-line approach is commonsense—getting in the best physical (and emotional) shape possible. This might mean a lifestyle makeover to get down to “fighting” weight, adopting a heart-healthy (and penis-healthy diet), exercising regularly, drinking alcohol moderately, avoiding tobacco, minimizing stress, getting enough sleep, etc.—measures that will improve all aspects of health in general and blood vessel health in particular.

Focused pelvic floor muscle exercises improve the strength and endurance of the male “rigidity” muscles that surround the deep roots of the penis.

Since intact and functioning nerves are fundamental to the erectile process, activation of the nerves via penile vibratory stimulation can be an effective means of resurrecting erectile function.

The vacuum suction device—a.k.a., the penis pump—is a means of drawing blood into the penis to obtain an erection and enable penetration.

Second-line treatments are the well-established oral medications for ED. Although Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and Stendra all have the same mechanism of action, there are nuanced differences in potency, time to onset, duration of action, side effects, etc., so it may take some trial and error to find out which works best for you. Cialis uniquely is approved for both ED and prostate issues, so can be an excellent choice if you have both sexual and urinary issues.

Third-line alternatives include urethral suppositories and penile injection therapy. Suppositories are absorbable pellets that are placed in the urethra that act to increase penile blood flow. Injections do the same, but are injected directly into the penile erectile chambers.

Fourth-line treatment is the prosthetic penile implant. One variety is a semi-rigid non-inflatable device and another is a hydraulic inflatable device. They are implanted surgically within the erectile chambers and can be deployed on demand to enable sexual intercourse. For the right man, under the right circumstances, the penile implant is a life changer—as magical as a total knee replacement can be—converting a penile “cripple” into a functional male. However, it is vital to understand that the implant is a fourth-line approach, and less invasive options should be exhausted before its consideration.

Bottom Line: Sadly, our medical culture and patient population often prefer the quick fix of medications or surgery rather than the slow fix of lifestyle measures. A sensible approach to most medical issues—including ED—should be the following:

  • Get educated about all treatment options.
  • Explore the simplest, safest, and least expensive alternatives first.
  • Before considering medications to improve performance, think about committing to a healthy lifestyle and getting into optimal physical shape, including exercising the rigidity muscles of the penis and using vibratory nerve stimulation.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.