Here are your options arranged in order from least to most expensive.
When men in their 30s or early 40s experience ED, the first thing they should do is have a physical checkup. In younger men, ED may be indicative of diabetes or coronary artery disease, two health problems that can be most successfully addressed when they’re in their earliest stages. While your doctor may prescribe medications to treat these conditions, lifestyle changes can go a long way toward improving sexual function. Lifestyle changes can also benefit men who don’t have diabetes or heart disease. Specifically, you should try:
- Giving up cigarettes, since smoking causes blood vessel constriction throughout the body
- Losing excess weight with a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Exercising regularly, which improves cardiovascular health and general circulation
- Limiting alcohol consumption, because as a depressant, alcohol can interfere with sexual functioning.
Best of all, the cost of this treatment is nearly nothing, other than a possible gym membership.
While penile implant surgery is not usually the first choice for treating ED, it is an effective and essentially permanent solution for chronic ED. The most common implant used in ED treatment has two cylinders that are placed inside the penis. A fluid-filled reservoir is surgically implanted under the groin muscle or abdomen wall. A pump and a deflation valve are implanted inside the scrotum. Creating an erection involves pumping fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders. Deflation is just a matter of pressing the release valve. This surgery is often covered by insurers and is covered by Medicare, making out-of-pocket expenses low. Most implants last at least 10 years.
Vacuum pumps are another cost-effective choice for those considering ED treatment options. First, a special tube is placed over the penis. Air is pumped out of the tube, mechanically drawing blood into the penis. Once an erection is attained, a ring is placed around the base of the penis to maintain the erection long enough for sexual activity. This is a prescription device that costs $300 to $600. Most insurers cover it, as does Medicare, and the device should last for several years, making it very cost-effective.
Nonprescription pumps can be purchased online at retailers like Amazon starting at around $30.
Self-administered injections might be a difficult concept for the squeamish to deal with, but the needle used is very fine and the result is an erection that can last up to four hours. Sold under the brand names Caverject and Edex, these prescription injections cost about $35 per injection. Most insurers cover them, but Medicare does not. Another injection option is an off-label mixture of the generic versions of three drugs: phentolamine, alprostadil, and papaverine. This is not FDA-approved for treatment of ED, but urologists are free to prescribe it, and some say that the results are better than with Caverject or Edex. The combination is usually less expensive as well.
Supplements / Herbs
Some men choose to turn to supplements and herbs as alternative ED treatment options. While few have undergone rigorous scientific testing, the properties of certain supplements make them attractive to those with ED. If you want to try supplements or herbs, speak with your doctor to be certain that they won’t interfere with any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you take. Also be sure to purchase supplements from reputable sources for product consistency. The most common supplements used to counter ED include:
- Vitamins E and C
- Flaxseed meal
For men without health problems that would contraindicate them, prescription drugs today are the gold standard when it comes to ED treatment options.
They can, however, be expensive, and insurance usually does not cover the costs. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 per pill.
In some men, ED is not caused by a physical problem, but by psychological factors. These factors may range from childhood trauma to depression to marital or relationship difficulties. ED drugs like Viagra are less likely to work for men whose ED is caused by psychological factors. Psychological counseling, however, can be very effective in helping these men work through the problems that are factors in their ED.
Couples’ counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychosexual counseling are a few of the types of counseling that have been used successfully with men who have ED resulting from psychological issues.
Psychological counseling is expensive, and insurance coverage is often limited, but for the man who has relationship or psychological issues to work on, counseling can not only lead to better sexual functioning, but better functioning and mood in general.
ED treatment options range from “free” (exercising regularly to lose excess weight) to expensive (paying for regular therapy sessions), and there are many options between the extremes. The best choice for you in treating ED will depend on:
- Presence of underlying physical issues (diabetes or heart disease)
- Your age
- Your budget
- Your relationship status
- Your personal preferences
A good place to start when dealing with ED is with your family doctor. If a reference is needed to a urologist, cardiac specialist, or psychological counselor, your doctor can advise you on your options. And if you’re interested in trying prescription ED drugs and you don’t have any contraindicated conditions, your family doctor can prescribe them, and may have samples you can take home with you. Don’t make the mistake of using Canadian pharmacies who sell fake generic versions of Viagra and Cialis that don’t currently exist!
Are you interested in trying Viagra as an ED treatment? One great option for over one million people is AccessRx.com. AccessRx is an online facilitator, and contracts with U.S.-licensed doctors and pharmacists who can prescribe and dispense Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis to those who meet medical criteria. The medications are delivered quickly and discreetly to your door or to a shipping pickup facility.