What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection satisfactory for the completion of sexual performance.
- Approximately 50% of men 40 to 70 years of age experience erectile dysfunction.
- Anything that can affect the brain, nerves, arteries or veins can cause trouble with erections.
- More common causes of erectile dysfunction include stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, high cholesterol, heart disease, poor circulation in the legs, high blood pressure and medications used to treat high blood pressure, depression and medications used to treat depression, diabetes, surgery such as radical prostatectomy and colorectal cancer surgeries, pelvic radiation, and hormone therapy for prostate cancer.
Erectile dysfunction is often referred to as couple’s disease as it not only affects the man who has ED but also his partner. It is important to realize that your sexuality and your partner’s sexual fulfillment are not lost because you cannot achieve a rigid erection. If you choose not to proceed with treatment for erectile dysfunction, you and your partner can still have a fulfilling sex life. Retreating and avoiding sex may only cause more stress and anxiety for you and your partner. If you find it difficult to discuss sexuality and changes that are occurring, it might be helpful to seek out professional help. Many couples benefit greatly from counseling and therapy. Please ask your doctor for a referral.
Radiation and erectile dysfunction
All treatment options for prostate cancer carry a risk of erectile dysfunction, however they differ in how soon after treatment the erectile dysfunction occurs and how likely it is to occur. If you are already having trouble with erections, none of the treatment for prostate cancer will improve your erections.
Treatment for ED
There are several treatment options available for erectile dysfunction. These treatments include:
- Medications – they all work in a similar way to increase blood flow to the penis.
- Viagra (sildenafil) -available in generic form. When taking Viagra, try to avoid a high-fat meal around the time of its use because this could prevent Viagra from working as well.
- Cialis (tadalafil)
- Levitra (vardenafil)
- Stendra (avanafil)
- Urethral suppository – Muse (alprostadil)
- Injection – Tri-Mix, direct injection into the penis
- Vacuum device–plastic cylinder with a hand or battery operated pump.
- Penile prosthesis– surgically placed.
- Urology Austin now offers Shockwave therapy for ED.
Contact the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology to schedule a consultation.