Erectile dysfunction or ED is defined as the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse.  There are more than 3 million cases per year.  ED can be a sign of a physical or psychological condition.  Patients that are suffering from ED, should first be evaluated or any underlying physical and psychological conditions.

Having erection trouble from time to time, isn’t necessarily a cause for concern

If it is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence, and contribute to relationship problems.  ED symptoms might include persistent trouble getting an erection, keeping an erection, and reduced sexual desire.  A family doctor is a good place to start when you have ED problems.

Physical causes of ED may include:

heart disease, clogged blood vessels, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and certain prescription medications.  The best way to prevent ED is make healthy lifestyle changes.

For example:

  • see your doctor for regular checkups, stop smoking, limit alcohol, don’t use illegal drugs, exercise regular, and reduce stress.

It is estimated that ED affects about one million men in Australia.  Luckily, there are medications covered in Australia that can help with ED.  There are medications like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) that can make a difference in a man’s life.  Let’s talk about Viagra first.  Viagra works by binding to an enzyme called phosphodiesterase.  The effects of the build up make the arteries bigger and thus allow more blood to flow into the penis. Please note, the drug will not give an erection without sexual stimulation.

Common side effects of Viagra include rash, diarrea, blurred vision, and susceptibility to urinary tract infections

The Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) does subsidises the cost of the drug.  The PBS is a program offered by the Australian government that subsidises prescription drugs to residents of Australia. The PBS seeks to insure that Australian residents have affordable and reliable access to a wide range of necessary medicines.  The cost of a medication is negotiated between the government, through the department of health and the supplier of the drug.  In 2019, the general copay was .30.  In order to keep costs down, the July 2007, the Australian Government introduced brand premiums on medications where cheaper generic brands were available.

Cialis is also a drug subsidised by the PBS

Cialis works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis causing an erection.  The most common side effects with Cialis include headache, indigestion, back pain, muscle aches, flushed skin, stuffy or runny nose.  As with Viagra, Cialis may not be safe to take for men with certain medical conditions, including men who have had a stroke, heart disease, and/or retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease.)

Levitra, another drug on the PBS list, is also used to treat Ed.  Levitra also works by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis.  Levitra will only work if you are sexually aroused.  It does not increase your sex drive.  Levitra is non addictive. These drugs are not an aphrodisiac.  It will not make you desire sex or make you feel sexually excited, it will only help you to get an erection if you are sexually stimulated.  It works on the body, not the mind.  The effects of these drugs differ, it may start working with 1 hour and last up to 25 hours.

  Do not take any ED drugs if you are currently taking nitrate medicines which include, nitroglycerin, nicorandil, sodium nitroprusside, isosorbide mononitrate, and isosorbide dinitrate.

You also shouldn’t take any ED drugs if you have chest pain, hypotension, uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled arrhythmia, loss of vision, hereditary degenerative retinal disorders, severe liver problems, severe liver problems requiring dialysis, and/or been diagnosed with a disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Always talk to your doctor first.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions: heart or blood vessel problems, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and disease or deformity of your penis, low or high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, bleeding disorders, active stomach ulcer, or liver problems.  Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much and how often you can take these drugs.  It is important to note that drinking alcohol can temporarily impair the ability to get an erection. To reduce this, do not drink large amounts of alcohol before sexual activity.

Published by Archer Fowler

My special interests: erectile dysfunction, urology, male health, alopecia.

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  1. My first experience wa the first time i was about to have sex. I got nervous when it happened as it was my first time and i was soft. Could not get it up and it became a real problem overtime i was with a new girl until i became comfortable. I needed to take a pill to give me a erection eery time before i had sex. Until i got over the nerves as i got older.

  2. sex satisfaction is really key in a relationship. However, mid last year I started experiencing erectile dysfunction and I felt bad as I could not satisfy my girlfriend. It took me a while to find a doctor who was willing to help me solve my problem.

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