Sexual function is an important aspect of men’s health. Although often less discussed than other medical issues, erectile dysfunction is extremely common and can negatively impact intimate relationships and a man’s psychological health. Alexander Rozanski, MD, a urologist at UT Health San Antonio, is helping to educate men about the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and provide them with modern, reliable treatment options.
Symptoms and risk factors of erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It affects approximately one in five American men 20 years or older and more than half of men over the age of 40. ED can negatively impact one’s quality of life and is often associated with other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, low testosterone, prostate cancer treatment and Peyronie's disease (penile curvature).
“ED can act as a warning sign of more serious underlying cardiovascular or diabetic conditions,” Dr. Rozanski said. “That’s why I strongly encourage men to talk with their doctors about their ED symptoms as it may help identify and prevent the progression of related conditions.”
In addition to heart disease or diabetes, ED can also be a result of low testosterone, which can affect up to 40% of men over the age of 45. ED can also occur after receiving treatment for prostate cancer because the nerves that provide stimulation for an erection lie very close to the prostate and may be injured during cancer treatment.
Modern treatment options for erectile dysfunction
Treatment options for ED include oral medications, injections, penile implants, vacuum erection devices and urethral suppositories. The side effects, success rates and satisfaction rates vary with each of these treatments.
“ED is an exceedingly common problem, and, fortunately, we now have a number of treatment options available to help men who experience this condition,” Dr. Rozanski said. “One popular and effective solution I offer patients is a penile implant, which provides a permanent solution with very high patient and partner satisfaction rates. It’s important that men thoroughly talk with their doctors and partners about all treatment options and find what best fits their lifestyle.”
A penile implant is an outpatient surgical procedure. The urologist implants two hollow cylinders inside the shaft of the penis, a small pump within the scrotum, and a fluid reservoir of saline solution in the lower abdomen. Before sexual intercourse, the pump is squeezed to move the saline solution from the reservoir into the hollow cylinders within the penis. This creates a rigid erection. Once sexual activity is complete, pressing the deflation button on the pump reverses the process by sending the saline fluid back into the reservoir and returning the penis to its natural-looking flaccid state.
“The effectiveness of the penile implant is substantial,” Dr. Rozanski said. “An impressive 98% of patients report erections to be excellent or satisfactory. At seven years out from surgery, 94% of implants are still in use and free of revision. The device is entirely contained internally within the body and nicely replicates both a natural erection when inflated and a flaccid state upon deflation. Of all the ED treatment options, the penile implant best allows couples to preserve spontaneity in their intimate sexual relationships.”
Appointments and education
Men who are experiencing the negative effects of erectile dysfunction are encouraged to speak with a doctor. There are many effective treatment options available including medications, devices and surgery.
New patient appointments are available at UT Health Physicians. Call now to make an appointment (210-450-9600).
Learn more about erectile dysfunction here. To watch a Men's Health Discussion with Dr. Alexander Rozanski, click here.