Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that causes an inability to get or maintain an erection. There are a number of treatment methods available.

An erection is the result of an increase in blood flow to the penis. The brain usually sends signals to the penis during arousal, which causes the erection. However, a range of factors can disrupt this process to prevent an erection, even when a person feels aroused.

Health conditions, physical factors, and psychological factors can all cause ED. The treatment method may depend on the cause.

This article will discuss the various ways a person can treat ED and explore some of the causes of ED in more detail.

A man picks up pills for his ED, which may be one of the best ed treatments.Share on Pinterest
Pills, psychotherapy, and surgery can all help treat ED.

There are a number of pills that people can take for ED. They include:


Sildenafil (Viagra) is a common medication for treating ED. It is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. This is a class of drug that prevents an enzyme that helps control blood flow from working properly. These drugs cause the blood vessels to relax and increase blood flow through them.

Doctors sometimes prescribe sildenafil to treat high blood pressure in addition to ED. Clinical trials suggest that sildenafil is an effective way of treating ED in most people.

To treat ED, take this drug 30 minutes to 4 hours before sexual activity. It is still necessary to feel aroused for an erection to occur, even after taking the drug.


Avanafil (Stendra) is another ED pill from the PDE5 class of drugs. It works in the same way as sildenafil but acts quicker and for longer.

Avanafil can take effect 15 minutes after a person takes the drug, and it may last for up to 6 hours.


Tadalafil (Cialis) is another type of PDE5 drug for treating ED. Doctors also use this drug to treat prostate problems and high blood pressure.

Tadalafil takes at least 30 minutes to start working, but it can last for up to 36 hours. Some people take low doses of tadalafil each day instead of just before sex.


Vardenafil (Levitra) is another PDE5 medication. Although it works the same as the other PDE5 drugs, it lasts for around 4 hours.

Risks and side effects of ED pills

These pills are generally safe, but some people should avoid taking them. This includes anyone who:

  • is under 18 years of age
  • has low blood pressure
  • has recently had a stroke or heart attack
  • has a history of heart or liver disease
  • is allergic to ED pills

Anyone taking medications for a health condition should always check with a doctor before taking an ED pill. The drugs can also have side effects that include:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • hot flashes
  • a stuffy or runny nose
  • dizziness
  • vision problems

A person should stop taking the drug immediately if they experience chest pains, fever-like symptoms, or a painful erection that lasts for several hours.

Learn more about pills for ED here.

For some people, ED is the result of a psychological or emotional problem. For example, anxiety or stress about sexual activities might cause ED. Someone with low-self esteem might also experience ED.

In these cases, psychotherapy might be a good option. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of psychotherapy that aims to change thought and behavior patterns that cause problems.

CBT may focus on underlying problems, such as depression or anxiety. It might also focus on sexual factors, such as training sexual skills or changing thought processes about sex.

Vacuum devices use a mechanical pump to create an erection. Another name for these devices is penis pumps.

Vacuum devices go around the penis. Using a hand-powered or electronic pump, they create suction around the penis that draws blood into the shaft. The penis then becomes erect. A band around the bottom of the penis keeps it erect.

These devices are effective for creating an erection, but they require a break in sexual activity to start the device.

Learn more about ED pumps here.

ED rings are bands that go around the base of the penis. They are made of rubber or plastic. The band restricts blood flow out of the penis to help maintain an erection.

ED rings are usually part of a vacuum device. However, they may also work on their own. For example, some people can get an erection but are unable to maintain it. These people may benefit from using an ED ring.

Read more about ED rings here.

There are also several surgical options for treating ED.

A common form of surgery is a penile implant. This involves placing a mechanical device into the penis that inflates to create an erection.

Implanting a three-piece pump involves placing two cylinders into the penis. An inflatable pump goes into the scrotum and connects to a device in the stomach that contains a fluid.

A two-piece version is also available. This option includes the fluid in the scrotum rather than the stomach. Squeezing the pump in the scrotum draws fluid into the cylinders to create an erection.

Surgery is an effective way of treating ED. However, it is typically a last-resort option when other treatments have been ineffective.

There are also several lifestyle changes to consider that might help with ED.

People with overweight or obesity may wish to consider losing weight to help with ED. This might involve restricting calories and increasing their activity levels.

Following a healthful diet and regularly exercising can be helpful for anyone with ED.

Smoking is also a risk factor for ED. Avoiding or quitting smoking is another lifestyle change that can help.

Learn about some foods that may help combat ED here.

ED occurs when a person is unable to get or keep an erection for sexual intercourse.

A range of factors can disrupt this process. For example, alcohol consumption and tiredness can both prevent a person from getting and maintaining an erection.

It is normal to experience this from time to time. However, ED is when this happens regularly.

It can also result from a medical condition, such as:

There may also be a psychological cause of ED. A psychological cause could relate to a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. It might also be due to problems with self-esteem or stress.

Other factors that can cause ED include:

  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol or substance use
  • having overweight or obesity
  • taking certain medications, such as those for blood pressure or cancer
  • being physically inactive

If a person is concerned that they may be experiencing ED, they can speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider about choosing the best form of treatment for them.

ED is a common condition with many available treatments methods.

Most ED pills are effective for treating the condition, but each has side effects and risks. There are also a range of mechanical and surgical options available.

Some people may benefit from dealing with emotional or psychological problems that might be causing the ED.

The best choice of ED treatment will depend on the cause and the person.