Jim Larkins

You might think one of the most difficult things about erectile dysfunction is working up the courage to present your penile dilemma to your doctor.

Ironically, though, your real trouble could begin with the good doctor’s diagnosis. A great many doctors are generally ignorant of the wide range of options for ED. Even those who are informed fail to prioritize treatment choices, even though general medical theory dictates that all treatments should begin with the least harmful option first.

While attending a recent medical convention in San Antonio, Texas, Mark Newell, Ph.D., surveyed over 250 doctors. The majority of these physicians thought that oral medications were the least harmful treatment they could use. The fact is, though, according to Newell, oral supplements are fourth in line in the range of options.

The problem with oral medications is that they are diffused throughout the entire body before they actually reach the penis, where they can alter the biochemical actions that initiate the erection process. Because these supplements are completely invasive, they can impact everything from our vision to our cardiovascular system. While pills do have a valuable role to play in treating ED, limited prescription renewal rates indicate they are not for everyone.

But if the little blue pill isn’t the first answer for ED, where do you start? Well, you might want to start with vacuum therapy. Proponents of this option claim you can wield an erection in 90 seconds with absolutely no impact to the rest of your body.

Next in line for curing that which ails your sick dick is the penile suppository. If you’re still incapable of sporting wood, you can try penile injections. (Cringe!) Only after you have exhausted these other options does Newell claim you should even try to use pills.

Beyond pills, there is hormone replacement therapy, or for the extreme case of ED, there is the option of going robo-dick. Surgeons have successfully implanted mechanical devices for numerous chronic ED sufferers. This, of course, is the most invasive option of all.

Whichever option you choose in treating ED, remember that the condition could be alerting you to something much worse. The rock hard erection you used to enjoy as a teenager was the result of veins, arteries, nerves and muscle tissue in the penis operating at peak condition. But as you go through life, diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, or poor lifestyle choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise and the use of tobacco and alcohol can affect the nervous and vascular systems.

The penis, like a canary in a coal mine, can be a warning beacon of arterial blockage, which could lead to a serious life-threatening condition.

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