Men with erectile dysfunction are traditionally treated with oral medications. This works successfully in 80-85% of men, at least for a while. Medications may be rendered less effective or contraindicated especially in men with associated conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, or hypertension.
The next level of treatment may be self-injection therapy using medications that increase the blood supply to the penis. This consists of using a small needle to inject medication directly into the penis 15-30 minutes before engaging in sexual intimacy. These medications can allow an erection to last for safely 30-40 minutes.
Another option is to use a vacuum device, which is a long plastic tube, applied to the penis. The air around the penis is evacuated to create a partial vacuum, which allows blood to rush into the penis that is trapped by the application of a thick rubber band at the base of the penis.
If these treatments don’t work, then the man either gives up on his sex life or agrees to a surgical procedure to insert a penile prosthesis. The most commonly used prosthesis is an inflatable prosthesis that allows a man to have an erection whenever he wants and the erection will last as long as the man wishes to maintain the erection. After the man has ended his sexual encounter, he can touch a release button on the prosthesis, and the penis becomes soft or flaccid. The prosthesis is entirely concealed inside the penis and no one can tell that the man has the prosthesis in place.