How to Cure Erectile Dysfunction
Unfortunately for those men who suffer from erectile dysfunction, diagnosing and curing the condition can be a long and frustrating affair. Healthy sexual performance relies on a vastly complicated system where psychology, physical health and body chemistry all contribute. Because of this, isolating the problem can be a largely trial and error endeavor. When it has been determined that medical intervention is required, one of the first places men can look is hormonal therapy.
Why Choose Hormonal Therapy?
Hormonal therapy is not an effort to force the body in an unnatural direction. Rather, it is an attempt to bring the body back into a healthy chemical balance. Unlike more invasive and radical treatments, properly applied hormonal therapy seldom causes irreversible changes in the patient. The appearance of unwanted side effects can generally be corrected simply by discontinuing hormone treatment.
The condition of a man receiving any type of hormonal treatment should be closely monitored by a physician. Any abnormalities that arise should be reported immediately so that treatment can be altered or discontinued if necessary. While some side effects are simply the body reacting to the introduction of the hormone and will disappear on their own, others can lead to real problems if ignored.
TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy)
Perhaps best known for its abuse by athletes as an alternative to anabolic steroids, TRT can also be instrumental in curing certain men of sexual problems.
Lower than normal testosterone levels in a man can lead to issues in every aspect of his physical health. The low level of testosterone can cause some men to feel listless and generally unmotivated toward any physical activity. It can be a factor in the abnormal development of osteoporosis. Low levels can contribute to infertility in a man. Lastly, abnormally low testosterone can cause erectile difficulty and an overall lack of interest in sexual activity.
Testosterone replacement therapy will not be prescribed unless the man actually has an abnormally low testosterone level for his age and lifestyle. Because of this, if applicable, the treatment is one of the more likely methods to cure many health issues.
TRT is applied in two different ways:
The first is an injection administered every couple of weeks. The advantages of this application method are being sure the treatment is actually reaching the body and having no need to take daily time and effort to perform maintenance. The disadvantage, in the event that unwanted side effects arise, is not being able to immediately halt the inflow of testosterone.
The second method of treatment is a daily self-administered dose in the form of a pill, skin patch or gel. Patients opting for this method are trading the convenience of infrequent treatments for the control of being able to dictate precisely when the treatment is applied.
Possible side effects of TRT are:
• Oily skin (with possible acne outbreaks)
• Changes in the frequency of urination
• Mood swings
• Increased symptoms of sleep apnea for those who experience this condition
• Higher risk of blood clots
• Increased breast size
• Decreased testicle size
Cabergoline treatment is prescribed to combat excessive prolactin in men. An abnormally high prolactin level is one of those conditions with effects that are difficult to pinpoint. There is strong evidence that high prolactin is often found in men with erectile dysfunction, but no direct causality has been determined. In other words, lowering prolactin levels in a man may or may not be the ultimate cure. In some cases, it has worked perfectly, and in others, it has had no noticeable effect.
Cabergoline is an ergot treatment that does not directly change the body chemistry, but rather blocks the pituitary gland from releasing prolactin. Like estrogen, prolactin is often considered a “female” hormone but is also found in smaller quantities in men. Men with an extremely high prolactin level will usually exhibit symptoms that are problems of their own, such as enlarged breasts. It is possible, though, that a man with higher than normal prolactin could be unaware of the situation because he has demonstrated no noticeable symptoms.
The treatment is administered orally twice a week, with the prescribing physician monitoring results. The doctor gradually increases the dosage until it reaches an effective level. This process is necessary because it is impossible to determine how much of an effect a given dosage will create in a given person until the dosage has actually been administered. The guidelines set forth by the doctor should be strictly followed as even a minor overdose could cause major problems in someone who is extremely responsive to the medication.
Minor side effects can occur. These should be reported to the supervising physician, but do not indicate an emergency. Such side effects include:
• A dry mouth
• Minor vertigo
• Tingling or numbness
• Mood changes
• Digestive issues like excessive gas, vomiting or constipation
More serious side effects could indicate an allergic reaction to the medication and should be treated as an emergency. These include:
• Significant lower back pain
• A noticeable decrease in urination
• Sudden lack of appetite or weight loss
• The development of a dry cough
• Unusual shortness of breath
• Swollen feet or ankles
Bromocriptine is often prescribed as an alternative for those who demonstrate an adverse reaction to Cabergoline. Also an ergot that blocks prolactin production, its effects and side effects are similar to Cabergoline. However, a different chemical structure means a person who is allergic to one may not have any reaction to the other.
Like Cabergoline, Bromocriptine treatment is administered orally with the supervising physician adjusting the dosage until the desired effect is achieved.
Light side effects that should be reported but do not constitute an emergency can include the following:
• A light-headed feeling
• Phantom sensations – sounds, sights or feelings of things that are not there
• Less frequent than normal urination
• Mood swings
• Digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation
Also like Cabergoline, some side effects could indicate that the person receiving treatment is reacting badly to the medication itself, as opposed to the person’s body adjusting to the change in hormonal level. The more serious possible side effects that should be treated as an emergency include:
• Severe chest or back pain
• Severe mental depression
• Unexplained shortness of breath
• Racing heart
On Side Effects
Due to differing body chemistry unique to each individual, someone undergoing treatment could experience no side effects at all or could experience several different symptoms. For the same reason, an individual could experience symptoms that are not in the lists above. The best policy concerning side effects is to report any symptoms and let the physician make the determination whether a change in treatment is in order.
Determining Whether Hormonal Therapy Is Appropriate
This is a straightforward process. A physician will perform blood work and compare that patient’s hormonal levels to an index for healthy males of a similar age. From these tests, it can easily be determined whether the man in question is producing too much or too little of a given hormone.
Upon determining that the man could benefit from hormonal therapy, the physician will outline treatment options for the patient as well as the impact these options might have on his life. Once treatment has been decided on, a schedule will be established for the treatment and the reporting of any symptoms, good or bad, that arise once treatment begins.
Treatment of chronic erectile dysfunction is a graduated process. The first steps are ensuring that the man is living a lifestyle that includes adequate physical activity and a healthy diet. In some cases, psychological solutions may be explored with the patient undergoing assessment and treatment to clear up any possible psychosomatic causes for the erectile difficulties.
If the clean living approach proves to be inadequate, the next step is medical intervention. Hormonal imbalance is very often the first suspect because treatment tends to show quick results and side effects tend to be relatively mild and easily correctable.
For men who are candidates for hormonal balance therapy, this is quite frequently the end of the journey. Depending on the root cause of the hormonal imbalance, treatment could be a temporary measure to correct the situation, or it could become a permanent part of the lifestyle regimen to maintain healthy function.