Most cases of ED occur in men who were previously able to sustain an erection. The condition is usually reversible, but the chances of completely curing ED depend on the underlying cause. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a remission rate of 29 percent after 5 years.
ED cannot be cured, however, the right treatment can help in the reduction or elimination of the symptoms.
Two types of erectile dysfunction:
- Primary ED: When a man has never been able to have or sustain an erection. This is rare and requires more intensive and medical-based treatment for its reversal.
- Secondary ED: It occurs in people who once had a regular erectile function. This is the most common type that is temporary and can be reversed.
ED is usually treatable with medication or surgery. However, a person may be able to treat the underlying cause and reverse symptoms with no medication.
Methods for reversing ED fall into three categories:
Short-term treatments- These help with achieving or maintaining erections but do not address the underlying cause of ED. For example, sildenafil (Viagra) increases blood flow to the penis, which can provide short-term relief from ED.
Addressing the underlying cause- Primary treatments address the issue that is causing ED. When clogged arteries are responsible, taking medication or exercising more frequently can improve cardiovascular health. This may eliminate ED or reduce the frequency of episodes.
Psychological treatments- The cause of ED may be psychological, and the condition itself may lead to anxiety. Psychological treatments can reduce anxiety, increase self-confidence, and improve relationships with sexual partners.
Ways for ED Reversal
ED can be the first sign of diabetes-related nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, or a neurological problem.
While the cause of ED may be physical, the condition can still have psychological effects. It may lead to self-consciousness or anxiety, which can make it more difficult to get an erection. A treatment plan may, therefore, include both physical and psychological methods.
Treatment for ED reversal include:
1. Lifestyle changes
Adjusting the lifestyle can improve many issues that cause ED, such as diabetes and clogged arteries.
Lifestyle changes that can help include:
- Using relaxation exercises to manage ED-related stress and control blood pressure
- Exercising to improve blood flow
- Losing weight, when necessary, to lower blood pressure and improve testosterone and cholesterol levels
- Changing the diet, especially beneficial for diabetes or cardiovascular disease patients
2. Pelvic floor exercises
The pelvic floor muscles help men to urinate and ejaculate. Strengthening these muscles may also improve erectile function. A comprehensive 2010 review found that pelvic floor exercises may help men with diabetes to get and maintain erections.
3. Counseling or couples’ therapy
ED can negatively impact self-esteem. It may be difficult to talk about, but the issue is common. It is important to acknowledge and discuss ED, particularly when it causes depression or anxiety.
Individual counseling can aid in uncovering the cause of the problem. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help an individual to manage their anxiety and resolve issues, which can eliminate ED and prevent it from returning.
Couples’ therapy can help sexual partners to talk through their feelings and find healthful, constructive ways to communicate about ED.
4. Herbal and alternative remedies
Some men find that alternative and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, help with ED. Preliminary research suggests that some herbal supplements may also help.
A 2018 review found that ginseng preparations significantly improved symptoms of ED in the population studied. Preparations of maritime pine extract, Pinus pinaster, and maca, Lepidium meyenii, also showed promising results, but more research is needed.
A wide variety of medications can help with ED. The best-known are drugs, such as tadalafil (Cialis) and Viagra, which increase blood flow to the penis and help to achieve an erection.
6. Medication changes
Some medications can make ED worse. Blood pressure medication, for example, may lower blood flow to the penis, making it harder to get an erection.
Anyone who suspects that ED is associated with a medication should tell a doctor. Alternative drugs are often available.
7. Mechanical devices
Penis pumps can draw blood into the penis and induce an erection in most men, including those with severe nerve damage. When there is severe nerve or blood vessel damage, using a ring can help to keep blood in the penis.
Even when serious physical health issues are present, a mechanical device can usually help with getting an erection.
If other strategies are ineffective, or when there is an anatomical cause of ED, a doctor may recommend surgery. The procedure involves implanting a device that enables immediate erections. Surgery is effective in most cases, and the rate of complications is less than 5 percent.
Early intervention can often detect a serious medical condition, and determining the cause of ED early may increase the likelihood of reversing it.