Erectile Dysfunction

Frequently Asked Questions

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What causes an erection?

When a man is exposed to certain stimuli -- physical or mental -- neurological signals accompanied by a rush of blood flow are sent to the penis. When those signals reach the penis, the two erectile chambers located within the penis fill up with blood. This also clamps off the side veins within the penis and traps blood in the erectile chambers.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability to achieve and / or maintain an erection. This varies in terms of the degree and severity from patient to patient.

What causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are a number of conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction, some of which include:

Age: The age that doctors usually consider to be a risk factor for erectile dysfunction is about 50. However, it is not uncommon for men in their 30s and 40s to have erectile dysfunction.

Medications: Certain medications can cause erectile dysfunction.

Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for many medical problems, and erectile dysfunction is no exception.

Other Medical Conditions: Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, can also bring patients in to see an urologist about erectile dysfunction.

How do you diagnose a patient with erectile dysfunction?

Obsidian offers an array of diagnostic testing for clients with ED. We’ll work with you to get your targeted history and give you a thorough physical examination to determine the best diagnostic approach. Extensive laboratory tests — bloodwork to detect conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, liver disease and thyroid abnormalities, among much else — will help us determine what might be wrong and how to fix it. We’ll also conduct a PSA test, as well as obtaining more advanced PSA derivatives, to rule out prostate cancer, one potential and devastating cause of erectile dysfunction.

We’ll perform sophisticated blood tests to evaluate your testosterone balance, including measurements of bioavailable testosterone and free testosterone. Are you suffering from hormonal abnormalities? We’ll determine your estrogen and pituitary-hormone levels to find out. When clinically warranted, we’ll also conduct advanced vascular and neurologic testing — penile Doppler studies and nocturnal-tumescence readings — to be sure we’ve zeroed in on the cause.

Do men need to visit a specialist to receive treatment for erectile dysfunction?

At the very least men should see a urologist — preferably a urologist that specializes in sexual heath. While oral medication may often be an initial treatment for ED, it’s important to find the root cause of erectile dysfunction. This is because many times ED can be an indicator of another health issues that may need your attention.

What treatment options are available for patients diagnosed with erectile dysfunction?

There are a multitude of treatment options available to treat patients diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. Obsidian’s array of treatment options for men with ED typically include risk-factor reduction and lifestyle modification. We tailor all therapy regimens to each client; they may include oral pharmaceuticals such as Cialis, Viagra or Levitra, in varying doses.

Other treatments may include professionally fitted vacuum erection devices, intra-urethral vasoactive suppositories and penile injection therapy making use of signature Obsidian drug combinations designed specifically for each client. Multi-modal therapy, too, is an option for clients whose ED is not cured by monotherapy.

How effective are the medications that are used to treat erectile dysfunction?

Medications for erectile dysfunction can be very effective for certain patients. Men who have mild or moderate erectile dysfunction can experience great results. Approximately 75 percent of men will experience some benefit from using these medications.

Do ED medications cause side effects?

There are some minor side effects associated with these medications, but they are usually mitigated by adjusting dosage or switching to an alternative drug.

Are there any men who should not take the medications?

Men who have coronary artery disease, particularly those who take nitrates or nitroglycerine, should not take these medications.

When should a man consider talking to his doctor about penile implant surgery to treat his erectile dysfunction?

This is considered a last resort after failing to achieve a satisfactory erection with medications or injections.

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