Erectile dysfunction is more common than most people think – one in ten men will experience it at some point in their lives. It’s characterised by the inability to get and maintain an erection, but the good news is that in most cases it can be managed. With so many treatments available, you could get back to enjoying a healthy sex life sooner than you think. In this blog, we ask what is the fastest way to cure erectile dysfunction?
What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and maintain an erection, and though this happens to most men occasionally, for those with ED, it’s an ongoing problem.
It’s common in men with underlying health issues that affect either the way blood flows around the body or the central nervous system, including:
- High blood pressure
- Arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessels)
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve disorders
It can also be caused by psychological problems, such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Is it possible to cure ED?
In some cases erectile dysfunction can be cured, but this hinges on whether the underlying cause of the problem is fixable. Where this isn’t possible, most men find success with short-term treatments that reduce the symptoms of ED.
What works for one person, might not work for another, so it’s important to keep an open mind. Some are happy to make lifestyle changes or try natural remedies, while others prefer medication.
In general, ED treatments can be broken down into those that manage the symptoms short-term and those that address the underlying cause.
Short-term ways to treat ED
The fastest way to treat erectile dysfunction in the short-term is with a medication like Viagra or Cialis. These tablets are part of a group of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors.
They work by dilating blood vessels at the base of the penis which increases blood flow for a firm, long-lasting erection. Though most of the ED tablets on the market work in this way, they have different active ingredients and contrasting features.
Perhaps the most famous of them all is Viagra – the little blue pill. Launched in 1998 by Pfizer, it’s considered to be an incredibly effective medication. According to the NHS, at least two-thirds of men say they have harder erections after taking sildenafil (Viagra)¹.
Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in Viagra, which is available to buy in its generic form (unbranded). Other ED tablets on the market include:
Some men prefer to use a penis pump to achieve an erection. This device creates a vacuum to encourage blood flow to the penis, which causes it to expand and harden.
Addressing the underlying cause
Most other treatments for erectile dysfunction are focused on tackling the problem behind the symptoms. GPs and sexual health specialists might consider:
- Statins to reduce high cholesterol and/or blood pressure medication
- Hormone therapy to manage testosterone levels
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling for emotional problems
It’s common for a treatment plan to contain more than one approach. Emotional problems, for example, can both cause and be a symptom of erectile dysfunction. Having some form of counselling tackles this problem on both fronts.
Erectile dysfunction can also be a side effect of some prescription drugs. In this case, switching to an alternative (with medical advice) could help reverse the symptoms.
Making lifestyle changes is another effective way to tackle some of the common causes of ED, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes to reverse ED
A healthy diet and regular exercise will improve your overall wellbeing for the best chance of success at fixing the underlying problems that cause ED.
- Exercise more – research suggests that walking every day can reduce the chances of experiencing ED by a staggering 41%².
- Eat better – enjoying a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish can cut cholesterol and improve your heart health for better circulation.
- Lose weight – a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to suffer with ED than a man with a 32-inch waist according to some reports³.
- Quit smoking – smoking is not only bad for your overall health, but it can clog your arteries and affect your circulation including blood flow to the penis.
- Limit alcohol – drinking excessively is a cause of erectile dysfunction, so to improve your performance in the bedroom, limit your alcohol intake.
You might have to wait a bit longer to see the effects of these lifestyle changes, but improving your health will also bolster the short-term ED medications.
Outlook for erectile dysfunction
Short-term treatments like Viagra and vacuum pumps won’t cure erectile dysfunction, but they are the fastest way of reducing its symptoms. Using these treatments can get you back up and running in the bedroom while you tackle the underlying problem.
Your GP can put together a treatment plan that addresses the cause of your ED, whether it’s a physical problem or a psychological one. Fixing any underlying health conditions is your best chance of success if you want to cure your erectile dysfunction.