Category: Erectile Dysfunction

Comparing Viagra/Sildenafil to Cialis/Tadalafil

When patients find that they need erectile dysfunction/ED medication, their mind often goes straight to which medication is best. This decision can be challenging with all of the marketing swirling around ED treatment. Ultimately, however, the two most commonly known medications on the market are Sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra, and Tadalafil, the generic version of Cialis. Other than the dosages – 100 mg maximum for sildenafil and 20 mg maximum for Tadalafil, the two drugs have similarities and differences that every patient should know and understand.

For one, both are PDE5 inhibitors, which relax and widen blood vessels to allow for increased blood flow. This is the primary mechanism of their effectiveness, and it’s why they are so good for mild to moderate ED.

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Eroxon Topical Erectile Gel

Man squeezing gel out of tube into hand

You may have heard of a new erectile dysfunction therapy known as Eroxon (MED 3000) that the FDA recently approved for over-the-counter use. It is a topical gel marketed in Europe and the UK as a faster way to gain an erection versus Viagra or Cialis, and their generic forms sildenafil and tadalafil, respectively. However, while this sounds like a fantastic erectile dysfunction therapy, does it work?

Before determining whether this particular gel works, we should discuss the history of topical erectile dysfunction gels and formulations. This very short discussion centers around the fact that we have tried to create topical versions of several medical therapies, including, for example, trimix, which is otherwise used as an injection into the penis, without any success – the simple fact is that, to date, we do not have a reliable therapy that functions topically.

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P-Shots for Erectile Health. Legit?

Doctor with gloves filling injection

You may have heard of the term biohacking. It’s a colloquialism now used for a practice that is centuries, if not millennia, old – fine-tuning the body to extract the highest and best performance. A favorite therapy of Biohackers is known as platelet-rich plasma therapy, posited as a rejuvenation therapy, and is used in several applications. Orthopedic surgeons use it to help rejuvenate joints. Hair loss specialists claim it may assist with regrowth, especially in those with androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. Plastic surgeons use it for facial skin rejuvenation – the list goes on.
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Will My ED Treatment Cause Priapism?

woman handing man meds in bed

When discussing erectile dysfunction, or ED, most men are laser-focused on treatments to eliminate the embarrassment and lack of function. Because erectile function plays a significant psychological and physical role in our lives and lifestyles, we are often predisposed to trying almost everything to eliminate it, sometimes with little regard for the consequences. From supplements to pills and injections to implants, there is no lack of options when choosing how to treat ED.

Of course, each of the erectile dysfunction treatment options on the market today has side effects. Fortunately, due to the number of studies and funding put into these treatments, most options are relatively safe with minor side effects. However, a significant issue, considered an emergency, can arise from specific erectile dysfunction treatments. That concern, albeit rare, is priapism – an erection lasting more than four hours.

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When to Consider a Penile Implant for Erectile Dysfunction

Man and wife walking down path holding hands

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual satisfaction. It is a prevalent condition affecting up to 30 million men in the United States and 150 million worldwide. ED can significantly impact a man’s quality of life and intimate relationships. Luckily, numerous treatment options exist for ED, which range in invasiveness and cost. These include oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil), intraurethral alprostadil, penile injections, and vacuum devices. However, if these methods fail to provide satisfactory results or are contraindicated due to medical conditions, a penile implant may be worth considering. However, it can also be regarded as a first-line treatment through shared decision-making. This article explores the circumstances under which patients could contemplate a penile implant as a treatment option for ED, discussing the procedure, benefits, and potential risks involved.

Some situations that may warrant the consideration of a penile implant include:

  1. Non-Responsiveness to Medications: If oral medications or other ED treatments do not produce the desired results, a penile implant may be a viable alternative.
  2. Anatomical Abnormalities: Certain anatomical abnormalities, such as Peyronie’s disease (scar tissue formation in the penis) or severe congenital penile curvature, can coexist with refractory ED. In such cases, a penile implant can help overcome these physical limitations.
  3. Underlying Medical Conditions: Individuals with medical conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, or prostate cancer treatments (e.g., radical prostatectomy) may experience persistent ED that does not respond well to conservative treatments. A penile implant can offer a solution in these cases.

There are two primary types of penile implants: inflatable and malleable.

  1. Inflatable Implants: This type consists of inflatable cylinders placed in the penis, a fluid-filled reservoir, and a pump. The cylinders fill with fluid by squeezing the pump in the scrotum, creating an erection. After intercourse, the liquid is transferred back to the reservoir, deflating the implant. The reservoir is typically placed within the pelvis through the same incision used to place the implant.
  2. Malleable Implants: Malleable implants, also known as semi-rigid implants, consist of bendable rods inserted into the penis. They allow the individual to position the penis for sexual activity manually. Unlike inflatable implants, malleable implants do not require a pump or reservoir. However, the same level of natural flaccidity is not achieved with a malleable.

Penile implants offer several benefits for individuals with persistent ED:

  1. Reliability: Penile implants provide a reliable and on-demand solution for achieving and maintaining erections.
  2. Spontaneity: Unlike other treatment options that may require planning or timing, penile implants allow for spontaneous sexual activity.
  3. Improved Satisfaction: Across multiple studies, penile implants have been shown to have up to a 90% patient and partner satisfaction rate. This high satisfaction rate makes sense as penile implants can restore sexual function and enhance overall well-being.

However, it is essential to consider the potential risks associated with penile implants, and discussing these factors with a physician is crucial before making a decision:

  1. Infection: While rare, the risk of developing an implant infection is between 1 and 3%. Infection risk is higher in the following situations: replacement or revision of penile implant, immunosuppression, poorly controlled diabetes, and pre-existing infection anywhere else in the body. In case of penile implant infection, the device must be removed, the cavity washed out, and new placement.
  2. Mechanical failure: As with any mechanical device, there is a chance of breakdown of the components over time, requiring reoperation. The risk of mechanical failure is 5% at five years after device placement.
  3. Intraoperative complications: Complications during the operation are exceptionally rare. However, one notable complication is an injury to the urethra, which requires abandoning the surgery and waiting to place the implant when the urethra has healed.

When traditional treatment options for ED prove ineffective or unsuitable, a penile implant can be considered a viable solution. It offers individuals a reliable and on-demand method to regain sexual function, improving quality of life and intimate relationships. However, the decision to pursue a penile implant should be made after carefully considering the individual’s unique circumstances in consultation with Dr. Kapadia.

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Nitric Oxide and Its Role in Erectile Dysfunction

Man eating healthy trying to increase nitric oxide in body

Several potential issues can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Many of these are discussed on our website. However, some are less discussed yet worthy of mention and attention; one such potential cause is a deficiency in nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, or NO, is a gas molecule that most cells in the body produce. It is an integral part of how our body functions and plays a role in activating the enzymes in blood vessels that, among other things, help make a normal erection. As we age, however, the body produces less nitric oxide (which is the case for many essential bodily functions).

While the prevalence of erectile dysfunction continues to be researched, studies have shown that about 20% of the United States male population and 50% of those aged 40 to 70 years may suffer from moderate ED. Greater than 60% of men over 70 may suffer as well. This data is from the early 2000s, and the obesity epidemic, for example, has significantly worsened so those prevalence figures may be even higher.

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Could How You Grow Your Hair Be Causing ED?

Man looking in mirror touching hair

One of the most concerning issues that male patients discuss with their friends or physicians is hair loss. For many, hair is a sign of virility, and despite the inevitability of male pattern, baldness, which ultimately comes down to genetics, we still fight for that hair tooth and nail. It’s no wonder that hair restoration has grown to be such a huge industry and is rife with therapies that work and others that many claim to be effective but don’t have much data to support the assertion. From micro-needling rollers to caffeine ointment, red light therapy, various essential oils, and medication, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to process and seemingly impossible decisions to make.

Enter Finasteride

Finasteride is a drug known as a five alpha reductase inhibitor. Its main claim to fame is the very effective blockage of dihydrotestosterone (DHT (finasteride blocks upwards of 90% of DHT in the prostate and 70% in the blood)). DHT is essential to the normal workings of our bodies and is instrumental in developing male characteristics. However, excess DHT on our scalp later in life can cause hair follicles to shrink and ultimately die. By controlling the DHT systemically via the oral intake of finasteride or locally through topical applications, we see some of the very best hair regrowth results of any therapy.

It’s worth understanding that finasteride was not developed as a treatment for hair loss but rather to slow the growth of the prostate to fight a natural process known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) that affects most men later in their lives. However, it soon became clear that men taking this drug grew more hair on their scalps, and you have the ubiquitous drug we are used to hearing about today.

The Side Effects of Finasteride

For all its benefits, Finasteride has some potentially significant side effects. They mostly revolve around the effects of very low DHT, including low libido, reduced general function, depression in some, and even erectile dysfunction. These effects seem more pronounced when finasteride is taken orally, but the topical version can also be problematic. Younger men seem to have greater side effects than their older counterparts. As such, if you are currently using finasteride therapy for hair loss and having difficulty maintaining an erection, you may wish to speak to Dr. Kapadia to understand more about the systemic effects that both the oral drug and, to a lesser extent, topical application can cause.

What Is the Answer?

If you look up the recommended dosages of oral finasteride, you may be shocked to see how varied they are. Dosages from .5 mg up to 5 mg are routinely prescribed. Why so much variance? We all react differently to finasteride; no single dosage makes sense for every patient. However, as with most drugs, we strongly encourage working with your primary care physician, urologist, and hair loss specialist, to take the minimum effective dose. This helps ensure the drug can take effect while minimizing its potential, side effects, and considerations. This dosage can, of course, be modified to find a sweet spot. And patients should be aware of how their body reacts in the days and weeks after changing their dosage.

It’s also important to remember that finasteride may not cause erectile dysfunction and that aging is making it more difficult for you to achieve and maintain an erection during intercourse. In this situation, we can work with you to develop an erectile dysfunction treatment plan, including medication like sildenafil (generic Viagra) or tadalafil (generic Cialis), or for more severe erectile function, problems, course of injections, or even a penile implant.

Most importantly, speak to us about this and any other erectile function issues he may have. While it may feel awkward to have that conversation, we’ve helped thousands of men with the same problem, and want you to rest, assured that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Ultimately, erectile function can be achieved, no matter how bad your condition.

Why Can It Take So Long to Regain Erectile Function After Prostatectomy

Man and woman lying together holding hands on the mans chest

In the early days of radical prostatectomy, the anatomy of the prostate remained poorly understood. Erectile dysfunction occurred in all men who underwent a prostatectomy in those times. However, with an improved anatomic description of the prostate several decades ago, we began understanding the erectile nerves that envelop the prostate gland. This led to the advent of a procedure known as a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, which is now performed most often robotically. Despite taking great care in sparing the erectile nerves with the incredible 3-D visualization of robotic technology, virtually all men still get erectile dysfunction temporarily. Many fortunately regain erectile function over the period of months to a year. This is not to say that the nerve-sparing feature of the surgery is not essential. Quite the opposite. However, it has become evident that the involvement of other structures during surgery contributes to ED.

How Long Does Erectile Dysfunction Last After Prostatectomy?

Despite the nerve-sparing nature of the surgery, most patients experience ED that lasts beyond the physical recovery time after a prostatectomy. We expect most patients to regain erectile function in one to 12 to 18 months. That is considered the goal; for some, it can take up to two years. Up to 50% of patients may never regain erectile function and will need to consider alternative treatment options.

What Can Be Done?

For patients that require a prostatectomy to address fast-growing or aggressive prostate cancer, the best option is to visit a urologist and men’s health specialist like Dr. Kapadia, who has a specific program for patients with post-prostatectomy impotence. Our program follows a stepwise approach to address the two most common and disruptive concerns a man will face after a prostatectomy – ED and urinary incontinence. The first phase starts soon after cancer treatment and will include daily 5mg Tadalafil, generic Cialis, or Sildenafil, generic Viagra, on demand. If necessary, we may move on to injection therapies and other proven rehabilitative options. For most, this will improve erectile function satisfactorily; however, for some, we may need to continue to the restoration phase of treatment if we do not see results within the first year to 18 months. That said, we don’t give up because everyone’s anatomy is different, and there is no linear improvement in erectile dysfunction. Learn more about Dr. Kapadia’s post-prostatectomy rehabilitation and restoration program.

The Long-term Solution

For those who have not regained satisfactory erectile function after 12-18 months, there is a good chance that the dysfunction will not reverse. At this point, it is time to discuss an inflatable penile prosthesis, also known as a penile implant. Penile implants carry a very high satisfaction rate for couples and represent an elegant solution to a complex problem. The implant is completely customized to a man’s anatomy and provides a natural-appearing erection. Most importantly, the sensation, the ability to climax, and urination are completely unchanged. This means a man can enjoy a full and normal sex life with their partner.

For more information, we encourage you to contact our office to explore erection rehabilitation options after prostatectomy. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction for any reason, we can discuss the possibility of a penile prosthesis.

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The Different Causes and Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Man standing covering crotch with both hands crossed

The prospect of erectile dysfunction, or not being able to perform sexually, either due to the inability to achieve an erection or maintain that erection throughout intercourse, strikes fear into the hearts of young and older men alike. And while ED may seem like a concern that would only affect those of advanced age, that’s not necessarily the case. There are different reasons why erectile dysfunction may occur, and each of these has treatment options to address the root cause.

Here at our practice, we have no shortage of younger men – those under the age of 40 – that experience problematic ED. These men can suffer from a variety of issues, both organic (structural) and non-organic such as anxiety, poor past sexual experiences, depression, and more. Regardless, they are often relieved that the cause of their erectile dysfunction can often be treated with medication or talk therapy.

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Improve Blood Flow to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Blood cells flow in vein

The function of a man’s erection revolves around blood, so it stands to reason that improving blood flow can work wonders to enhance sexual performance and reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction / ED. There are several other potential causes of erectile dysfunction, including medication and even psychological considerations, but those will be discussed separately. Most importantly, early detection and treatment are important. Many men, often out of embarrassment, wait months or even years as their sexual health declines before seeking treatment from a qualified urologist or men’s health specialist. Or they opt for supplements or generic medications without a complete picture of their sexual health. Ultimately, visiting a knowledgeable specialist and urologist like Dr. Kapadia is the best next step.

In the meantime, whether you are suffering from ED or not, here are some tips to improve blood flow and give yourself the best chance at a long and satisfying sex life.

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