The advent of Viagra, followed by Cialis, Levitra, and others, received about as much attention in the media and pop culture as one would expect from a cure for cancer, AIDS, and bubonic plague all rolled into one, perhaps showing something a little disturbing about our priorities. Suddenly the problem of “erectile dysfunction” was solved, and the world could breathe easy again.
But maybe not solved for everyone. For various reasons, there are people who cannot or choose not to take medication to deal with their problems achieving or maintaining erections. Let’s look at some of the alternatives to Viagra, et al, starting with other medical options, then moving on to lifestyle and other possibilities:
A vacuum constriction device, or pump, is a cylinder that goes over the penis. Air is pumped out of it, creating a vacuum that pulls blood to the shaft of the penis, causing erection. A ring is slid to the base of the penis to help maintain the erection after the cylinder is removed.
Penile prostheses or implants consist of rods surgically inserted in the erection chambers of the penis. The rods can be bendable such that the penis is always semi-erect but has to then be positioned for sex, or inflatable so the penis can be made erect when necessary.
Vascular reconstructive surgery attacks the problem by improving blood supply to the penis. This procedure is only appropriate for a small percentage of men suffering from erectile dysfunction, is complicated and expensive, and only infrequently works.
Rather than a physical fix, often a mental or emotional fix is what’s in order. Psychological factors such as stress play a big, big role in erectile dysfunction for many people. Relationship counseling, therapy to deal with stress and promote relaxation, or talking out fears that erection problems indicate a loss of masculinity or something to be ashamed of can sometimes put a man in a better frame of mind and lessen the problem.
5. Healthier lifestyle
Erectile problems occur more often in people who smoke, are obese, and certainly, as even popular culture is well aware, in people who are drunk. Stop smoking, don’t abuse alcohol and drugs, eat right and exercise, and you may well see an improvement without using any medication.
6. Alternative medicine
They’re backed by little more than anecdotal evidence and marketing, but certainly there are herbal and alternative treatments purported to help erectile dysfunction. If you go this route, be sure to use something harmless. It may not do any good, but at least it won’t hurt you.
A sometimes overlooked option is simply to accept that when you’re 70, maybe your erections won’t be the same as when you were 17. You can still have a good life, indeed still have a good sex life, even as your body changes with age. As noted, there are plenty of ways to at least partly reverse the changes. But there’s also the option of adjusting to them.
Whatever you choose, be sure it’s under the guidance of a qualified physician.
If you wish to further research the options for treating erectile dysfunction, a couple of good places to start would be the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.