Erectile Dysfunction 

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction, or ‘ED’, is a medical term describing the inability to achieve or maintain an erect penis adequate for sexual function. This condition is one of the most common sexual problems for men. The likelihood of experiencing erectile dysfunction increases with age, and it affects an estimated 15 to 30 million American men. 3 out of 4 of these men are over the age of 40. The effects of ED can range from minor to severe depending on individual cases.

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

Male erectile dysfunction is made up of several problems associated with the sexual performance of a man, including:

  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Difficulty keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Peyronie’s disease, a curvature of the penis during an erection
  • Premature ejaculation, (release of semen before or shortly after penetration with minimal sexual stimulation occurring)

If you’ve experienced one or more of these symptoms, get in touch with your Urology Specialist. We’ll be happy to get you set up for our next available appointment.

Erectile Dysfunction Causes & Risk Factors

Erectile Dysfunction can stem from inhibition, stress, medication use or a medical condition. Causes of ED include:

  • Psychological problems
  • Aging and a natural drop in hormonal activity
  • Stress
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Minor illness
  • Illegal drug use
  • Serious or chronic conditions

Many prescription or over-the-counter medications may have side effects that cause erectile difficulties. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and alcohol may also lead to sexual problems as can smoking or sedentary lifestyle. Modifying lifestyle risk factors may contribute to overall health, and in some individuals, may correct mild erectile dysfunction.

Low T or abnormally low levels of circulating testosterone may cause ED although low testosterone is found in a minority of men who develop ED. Depression, relationship conflicts, stress and anxiety can also play a role. Most patients do not require extensive testing before beginning treatment. These tests are usually just not necessary. Your urologist will do a simple medical history, physical examination and a few routine blood tests.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment & Prevention

Erectile Dysfunction can be treated in a number of ways, depending on the specific case. Treatment options include:

Oral Medication 

Medications such as Viagra, Levitra, Staxyn, Adcirca, Cialis and Stendra all work well to enhance a natural chemical in the body called nitric oxide. This chemical allows proper blood flow, helping you achieve an erection more easily.

Inflatable penile prosthesis 

A surgical procedure that involves placing a reservoir and pump into the body as a type of penile reconstruction. This procedure is done when there is a clear medical reason for ED that is not likely to be resolved.

Vacuum erection device 

A tube is placed around the penis, and a hand-powered or battery-powered pump sucks the air out of the tube, causing a vacuum effect. This ‘vacuum’ allows blood flow into the penis, allowing for a proper erection.


Testopel is a male sex hormone that works as a testosterone replacement therapy for men who suffer from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction.

Intracavernosal Injection

This medication is injected into the base of the penis to stimulate an erection when sexually aroused.


At Urology Specialist of the Carolinas, many of our staff specialize in erectile dysfunction treatment and prevention, including: 


If you’re struggling with the effects of erectile dysfunction, there are actually quite a few exercises that will help fight ED. Not only can exercises like kegels, pilates and aerobics help normalize or even eliminate ED, but they also promote an overall healthier lifestyle that you’re bound to see the benefits of. Read our blog to learn more.

If a man is having trouble maintaining an erection during sex, or experiencing any of the above symptoms, he should contact his Urologist to discuss his symptoms and possible treatment options.

Insurance coverage of erectile dysfunction treatment depends on the type of treatment that is received. If an existing medical condition is causing ED, an insurance provider will likely cover a portion of the cost. Speak to your insurance provider to determine if treatment will be covered.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction with The Urology Specialists of the Carolinas

If you think you are at risk for erectile dysfunction, or you would like a physical exam to check your overall urinary tract health, then contact us to schedule an appointment. Our board-certified urologists will listen to your symptoms and work with you to determine next steps for treating your symptoms. 

In the meantime, download our free resource, The Man-To-Man Guide on Healthy Aging, to learn what health concerns men should be aware of as they age, as well as our tips for maintaining your health regardless of age.


Other Procedures