How to treat potency problems
Many people wait a long time before seeking treatment for their potency problems. But the vast majority can be easily helped. Stefan Arver, a specialist in men’s medicine, guides us through the methods available.
Potency problems and impotency can be difficult to talk about. And despite the fact that around 70 percent of all men who seek treatment for their problems with potency can be helped by tablets, many wait a long time to seek treatment. Sometimes several years.
Often my patients have been struggling with this problem for years before they come to me. Awareness of potency problems has increased, but the threshold for seeking care is still high. Stefan Arver, specialist in endocrinology and senior physician at Anova, Karolinska Institute.
Many suffer in silence unnecessarily
“My patients have often struggled with this problem for years before they come to me. Awareness of potency problems has increased, but the threshold for seeking care is still high,” says Stefan Arver, specialist in endocrinology and senior physician at Anova, the center for andrology, sexual medicine and trans medicine at the Karolinska Institute.
A typical patient at Stefan Arver is between 55 and 65 years old. Most are over 58 years old.
“After the age of 58, you can see a drastic increase in the proportion of patients who seek care for their erection problems,” says Stefan Arver.
Firstly, the degree of the problem is assessed
When a patient comes to him, he always starts by assessing how serious the potency problems are. Can the patient get little or no erection? How long has the problem been going on? He also examines blood lipids and blood pressure.
“We go into the relationship with their partners and their life situation in general. I also ask about smoking, alcohol and drugs. These are risk factors in developing problems with potency,” says Stefan Arver.
Tablets are the first option for those with problems with erections
For many patients, the first solution is to try potency drugs, which works for the vast majority.
“Today we have access to very effective medications with mild side effects and they work for approximately 70 percent of patients. The drugs work by helping the body’s natural system on the trot and amplifying the signals that cause you to get an erection,” says Stefan Arver.
For those who want to try tablets, there are a number of different drugs on the market, such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. The tablets work by preventing the breakdown of the signaling substance that causes the blood vessels to dilate. This amplifies the nerve signal that causes the blood vessels to relax.
How the tablets work
Tablets make vasodilation easier, but the tablets themselves don’t give you an erection, you have to be sexually aroused and stimulated for them to work, says Stefan Arver.
The tablets work within an hour and the effect lasts from six hours to up to 36 hours, depending on which variety you have taken. The tablets are taken in connection with having sex, but the treatment can also be designed in other ways if it suits the patient better.
“Some people think it feels strange to take a tablet before having sex and that it increases the pressure to perform. In such a case you can arrange to have a lower dose that you take every day instead,” says Stefan Arver.
For those patients for whom tablets don’t work, there is the option of injecting vasodilating drugs directly into the swelling parts of the penis instead
“It is an alternative for patients who cannot or do not want to take tablets. It is a more powerful treatment and it also works if, for example, you have nerve damage or more severe erection problems,” says Stefan Arver.
For those who find the idea of injections unappealing, there is also another way to treat potency problems with the help of medication – by administering medication via the urethra.
“You can drip a cream into the urethra or insert jelly pellets containing medicine. These medicines contain the same substances as those that are injected, says Stefan Arver.
Erection pumps are an oft-forgotten method
For those who can’t or don’t want to take tablets or try injections, another alternative is an erection pump. An erection pump or penis pump, as it is also called, is a kind of plastic cylinder that you insert the penis into. By pumping on a handle, you then create a vacuum that causes the swelling bodies to fill with blood and the penis to get hard. To keep the blood in the penis and prevent it from flowing out, a penis ring is placed around the base that squeezes the penis and causes the blood to stay there.
“Before Viagra, this was a fairly common method. Then Viagra came along and it was almost forgotten about. We can help about 90 percent of the men who have potency problems with pills or injections, but this can be an option for those who can’t or don’t want to use it. It can also be a good supplement to medicines, or if you do get some kind of erection but don’t get fully hard,” says Stefan Arver.
Have an erection prosthesis surgically implanted
For those patients who are not helped by tablets, injections or other methods, there is the possibility of surgery to insert a kind of erectile prosthesis. The prosthesis consists of a silicone rod that makes the penis semi-rigid the whole time, which allows you to have intercourse.
“This can be a solution for patients who have suffered damage to the tissue or who have severe vascular damage. There is also another kind of prosthesis in which a kind of plastic tube is inserted that is connected to a container in the scrotum. The container contains a liquid that can be pumped in and out of the tube. It does a kind of imitation of what happens in the body when the swelling bodies fill with blood and you get an erection,” says Stefan Arver.
Important to talk about potency problems
Regardless of what type of erection problem you have or however your life is, it’s important to know that you can get effective help and that there are many options. And above all, it is important to be able to talk about the problem.
“Problems with potency are common and affect many men from time to time. It’s important to talk about it. There is often some type of disease behind it and most people can get their erection back with simple methods.”