There are a number of alternative types of treatment for erectile dysfunction, including the application of vacuum constrictors and consultation with a psychotherapist.
Choosing the best type of alternative treatment
- Vacuum constrictors are devices that work for all types of erectile dysfunction — organic, psychological or mixed. The device has a flask that must be put on the penis. Using a pump, a vacuum is created that can induce an erection. Then, a limiting ring is put on the penis allowing it to maintain the erection for up to 30 minutes.
- Consulting a psychotherapist is recommended for men whose erectile dysfunction is at least partially triggered by psychological problems. Psychological problems are often at the source of many cases of erectile dysfunction
- Treatment may include sex therapy based on methods to change the patient’s attitude towards sex, as well as special sexual techniques. Consulting can also be applied along with drug treatment or using vacuum constrictors to cure erectile dysfunction that is caused by organic and psychological problems.
- Group therapy to deal with erectile dysfunction has also proved helpful for some men. Pairing group therapy with medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra) is generally better than just using drug treatment alone. Men who visit therapy groups are also more likely to continue using the prescribed drugs.
Though medications are the primary treatment for erectile dysfunction, some men also turn to alternative medicine. If you don’t want to take drugs or don’t find them very helpful, you can discuss the following alternative treatment options with your doctor. However, the majority of treatments described below still require more thorough scientific investigation before doctors can be assured of their efficacy:
- Acupuncture can help some men with erectile dysfunction.
- Ginseng has also shown some effectiveness in the fight against erectile dysfunction but, because it’s generally sold in food additives only, it’s often difficult to determine whether you’re getting the required amount.
- Some men also take L-arginine amino acid supplements as a food additive to treat erectile dysfunction. This amino acid increases the volume of nitric oxide in the blood, which relaxes the blood vessels. In theory, L-arginine is able to improve erection function; however, in practice the remedy may also be harmful.
- Though the antidepressant trazodone (Desyrel) is sometimes used to treat erectile dysfunction, there is insufficient evidence of its efficacy.
- Some men find food additives rich in zinc useful for erectile dysfunction, as the human body is sometimes lacking this mineral. However, zinc in large quantities can also be harmful.
- Some men use Yohimbine to treat erectile dysfunction, but this remedy is relatively rare.
Which one should I use?
It doesn’t matter what strategy you use in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but consulting your partner with this decision is always useful and will help improve results.
Psychotherapy as treatment for erectile dysfunction
For many men, psychological problems are a key factor in the development of erectile dysfunction problems. Close attention to these issues and efforts to conquer the anxiety connected with your sex life must be a part of the treatment for all men who have similar problems.
Types of treatment and their timeframe will depend on the kind of issue you’re having, for example depression, neurosis, anxiety or any other psychological disturbance.
You may be offered either individual or a group therapy. Bringing a partner to your consultations often helps, too.
Psychological treatment can be helpful to men who:
- wake up with an erect penis in the morning;
- can achieve a normal erection during masturbation;
- went through major life circumstances connected with high stress, for instance, breaking up with a partner, divorce, death of a loved one, changing residence or starting a new job;
- grew up in an environment in which sex and sexuality were considered offensive, negative and/or wrong;
- suffered sexual or physical violence during childhood;
- lost their mother or father in early childhood;
- have experienced serious problems in their relationship;
- have experienced neurosis, anxiety or physical problems with a psychological component, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, asthma or a neurogenic bladder.
Evidence indicates that some men find group therapy useful in their battle against erectile dysfunction.
Pairing group therapy with medication such as sildenafil (Viagra) is generally better than just using drug treatment alone. Men who visit therapy groups are also more likely to continue using the prescribed drugs.
Sex therapy as treatment for erectile dysfunction
Sex therapy can help some men suffering from erectile dysfunction. Sex therapy is not making love in the presence of your doctor in the room during sex or without such presence. This treatment is also not for the long term. Usually, sex therapy includes consultations with a sexologist who will recommend certain steps to be undertaken to change your sexual behavior.
Sex therapy helps men accept the fact that emotions like fear or anxiety can easily be associated with physical reactions. Therefore it’s important that:
- both partners are responsible for helping solve the problem, even if it is of a physiological nature;
- you and your partner receive knowledge and information about sexual techniques;
- it’s important to change any negative attitude to sex;
- it’s important to open up channels of communication between you and your partner.
Sex therapy can include:
- conversations about different causes of sexual problems and information about how emotions can affect physical processes;
- undergoing various psychological tests;
- conversations about natural changes in sexual function, which can manifest themselves with age;
- suggestions for enhancing sexual gratification, for instance, using preliminary caresses and foreplay, using lubricants, having enough rest, and limiting any distractive factors.
Your family doctor can refer you to a sexologist, but you may also be forwarded to a psychologist or a social worker.