Erectile dysfunction is an extremely common condition effecting men of all ages. About 40 to 50 percent of 50 year old men have some degree of erectile dysfunction with an increasing risk of impotence occurring at older ages. In younger men, erectile dysfunction is often associated with stress or performance anxiety.
The major risk factors for erectile dysfunction include obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.
After consultation with your doctor the first line of therapy usually involves oral medication to try and enhance the blood flow to the penis. If the tablets are inadequate injection therapy can also be used which is usually much more infective but involves the use of a very fine needle to inject a drug directly into the penis itself.
If erections are still not satisfactory for intercourse the next step would generally be placement of a penile prosthesis. This requires surgical placement of an inflatable device into the body of the penis. A small pump mechanism is placed in the scrotum next to the testes and a reservoir of fluid is placed behind the pubic bone. The procedure can often be performed through a single incision in the scrotum. When a man wishes to have intercourse it is a simple matter to inflate the device by squeezing the pump in the scrotum. The device can be similarly deflated by squeezing a different part of the pump mechanism.
The operation to place a penile prosthesis generally involves an overnight stay in hospital. The procedure itself is generally straight forward and although infection can be a risk, the procedure is usually uncomplicated. Both men and their partners report a very high satisfaction rate using these devices. It must be stressed however that this is really a last resort in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.