Erectile dysfunction (ED) is very common, affecting more than 30 million men in the U.S. However, it is now possible to treat almost all men with ED. Washington University urologic surgeons answer common questions about common erectile dysfunction. 

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the consistent inability to achieve an erection sufficient for satisfactory intercourse.   The majority of men with ED are sexually active, but they are having intimacy without a rigid enough erection for penetration or completion of intercourse.  

What causes erectile dysfunction?

In about 90% of men, erectile dysfunction is due to an underlying medical condition that affects the blood supply or nerves to the penis.   ED is psychogenic in 1 out of 10 men.  These men typically still have morning erections or can achieve an erection with masturbation.  

What is the main cause of erectile dysfunction?

ED is most often secondary to a cardiovascular condition, such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, myocardial infarction (heart attack), peripheral vascular disease, etc.

Men with diabetes mellitus are at high risk of developing severe ED.  

92% of men with clinically diagnosed depression have erectile dysfunction.

Can you cure erectile dysfunction at home?

There is no simple home remedy as a cure for ED. Mild to moderate ED can be improved by improving overall medical health and cardiovascular condition. Cardiovascular condition is improved by exercise, weight loss, healthier diet and compliance to medications/regimens suggested by a health care practitioner. 

What options are there to treat ED?

There are many proven treatment options for erectile dysfunction.  

  • Over 70% of men with mild to moderate ED respond to oral ED medications (as prescribed by a physician).
  • Urethral suppository (MUSE) was approved by the FDA in 1997, but it has a poor response rate and is rarely prescribed.
  • Vacuum erection devices can be obtained online for about $200.00. They are effective at providing erections, but many men are not pleased with the discomfort of the penile ring, the degree of rigidity and lack of spontaneity.
  • Penile injections are available through most Urology practices at a reasonable cost.  There is no need to spend thousands of dollars at a “Specialty (Men’s Health) ED Clinic.” Typically, in the Urology office, a man is given a test dose. If effective, a prescription can be filled for a short term trial for under $150.00. Injections are effective, but there is a high discontinuation rate within 6 – 12 months.
  • Penile implants are considered the most effective treatment option, and have the highest satisfaction rate. Most men do not realize that the cost is covered by insurance; the average man spends under $300.00 for the entire procedure.  It is placed through a small (1.5 inch) incision in about an hour, and should not be noticeable when naked. 

Oral Medications

Injection Therapy

Where can I find a doctor to treat ED?

Washington University Urology can provide options and treatments for erectile dysfunction. Meet our specialists below. 

To request an appointment, please fill out this online form or call 314-362-8200.