Erectile Dysfunction
General Health

Erectile Dysfunction

Jelin T.

Choosing the appropriate treatment for you

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to achieve and maintain an erection adequate for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It has grave effects on the quality of life of those who suffer it and their partners. Recent studies have shown that this disease affects 12% of the male population between 25 and 70 years of age. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 150 million men suffer Erectile Dysfunction, of these, only 18% will seek professional help.

Certain habits can affect normal functioning of the penis, such as chronic diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension. A clinical study revealed that male diabetic patients were three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than non- diabetic males. Psychological or emotional problems, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, certain medications and of course, the natural process of aging are also included as contributing factors.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences, almost 72% of patients with alcohol abuse history had common symptoms of sexual dysfunction.

The first thing to do when experiencing erectile problems is to seek help through a physician. Tests such as testosterone levels will be made to confirm the diagnosis, and appropriate treatment options will be suggested.

Testosterone supplements has been replaced by oral treatment since 1998 when Viagra (sildenafil) came into the picture. Testosterone alone, does improve erections in the majority of patients who take it, but works only in those who actually have low testosterone levels.

Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil)  are PDE-5 inhibitors. They provoke muscles in the penis to relax allowing blood to flow freely so that an erection occurs. They all have the same mechanisms but there are different things to consider when trying to decide which one suits you best.

All three should be taken 30-60 minutes before sex, but Cialis can be taken once daily. Cialis can also work up to 36 hours different from Levitra that works up to 8 and in a lesser amount Viagra, up to 4-5 hours.

Side Effects and Drug interactions

The three of them share similar mild side effects with some differences. The three of them may produce a stuffy or runny nose, headache, stomach ache, priapism (a persistent and painful erection of the penis) and sudden cardiac arrest and death.

Changes in vision and flushing are only seen in Levitra and Viagra, whilst back pain and muscle ache only in Cialis.

All three interact with nitrates, and certain blood pressure drugs such as alpha-blockers. Viagra also interacts with amlodipine and ritonavir. Cialis interacts as well with enalapril, metoprolol and bendrofluazine. Mixing alcohol and Cialis may also cause Orthostatic Hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up from a sitting or lying position.) So be sure not to mix these type of drugs since alcohol alone causes ED.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about all the prescription drugs, supplements and over the counter drugs you are recently taking before deciding with him or her which is the best option for you. All three have good results, but one of them might not be the best option for you according to your medical history background, so be sure to share all relevant information since erectile dysfunction should be approached in a more systematic way since it is usually a sign that there are other health problems occurring.

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