No Magic Pill Will Provide All Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Medications are not quite a magic pill to improve the sex lives of men with erectile dysfunction problems, a Deakin University study has found.

Hayley Matic conducted the study for her Doctor of Psychology (Health) with Deakin’s School of Psychology under the supervision of Professor Marita McCabe. She found that while oral medications, known as PDE5 inhibitors, may restore a man’s ‘sexual function’ they don’t necessarily restore a man’s ‘sexual health’.

“As well as the obvious physiological aspects, men with erectile dysfunction (ED) suffer a range of problems such as significantly poorer self esteem, sense of masculinity, sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction,” Dr Matic said.

“This study found that overall well being was not improved in the men who had used medical interventions for their erectile dysfunction.”

Dr Matic’s study explored the psychological and relationship impact of erectile dysfunction on the lives of Australian men and their partners. It also looked at men’s help-seeking behaviour and experiences with oral medication as treatments for their ED. It involved 410 men with erectile dysfunction and 242 men without ED.

“Erectile dysfunction affects up to 50 per cent of men at some point in their lives and is generally treated with the use of oral medications,” Dr Matic said.

“The focus on the medical and biological elements of erectile dysfunction has led to a relative dismissal of the role of psychological and relationship aspects of men’s sexual experiences. As a result many men stop using the medications and continue to suffer ED as well as the associated problems with their masculinity, self-esteem and quality of life.

“Hopefully the results of this study will open up current mainstream treatments for this sexual dysfunction to include greater awareness of the psychological and relationship factors inherent in a man’s sexual health.”

Dr Matic suggests that improvements could come from:



  • Ensuring GPs and specialists who assess and treat sexual dysfunction are educated in the potential broad ranging impact of erectile dysfunction on a man’s life


  • Ensuring that those prescribing erectile dysfunction medications are able to talk to their patients about their expectations for the use of the drugs


  • Increased development of and referral to non-medical treatments for erectile dysfunction, either in conjunction with medication treatment or as a stand-alone


  • Increased inclusion of a man’s partner in the assessment and treatment for erectile dysfunction in both medical and other settings.

“As medications are only potentially able to address the biological/physiological aspects of sexual arousal, there is a clear need to consider broader application of a biopsychosocial model of health to our understanding and treatment of erectile dysfunction,” Dr Matic said.

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Exposure to BPA Linked to Male Fertility Problems

Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used to make resins and strengthen plastics, has been linked to many health problems that affect men, not only potentially fatal diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, but also life-changing conditions such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. The latest study also finds that BPA may be responsible for impaired semen quality and a drop in sperm count.

BPA Lowers Sperm Concentration and Vitality, but Not Shape and Size

Although much research has been done on men and women who experience high-dose exposure, such as those that are exposed in their work settings, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist, has found that similar associations are found in those with general environmental exposure as well. Most Americans’ urine has evidence of BPA exposure, as the chemical is used in commonly used products like hard plastic drinking bottles, metal food container linings, dental sealants, and cash register receipts.

The most recent research, funded by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety, found that men with high amounts of chemical BPA in their urine had more than three times the risk of lowered sperm concentration and lower sperm vitality, more than four times the risk of a lower sperm count, and more than twice the risk of lower sperm motility than those without detectable urine BPA.

Li did not find an association between BPA and sperm shape or its volume.

Read: BPA Worsens Male Sexual Function

The data is based on a five-year study of 218 Chinese factory workers who provided researchers both urine and semen samples. The findings held even after accounting for other potentially influential factors such as smoking, prior exposure to other chemicals, and personal history of fertility issues.

Gail Prins, a reproductive physiologist not involved with the study, says that the findings make sense. “Evidence has indicated that for the past few decades, sperm counts have been declining In some human populations – and that this might be related to exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA is very reasonable.”

Read: BPA Linked to Increased Testosterone Levels In Men

Dr. Li says that the findings confirm that the general public “should probably try to avoid exposure to BPA as much as they can.” Prins agrees, as chemical levels build over time. US News reporter Deborah Kotz suggests the following methods:

• Consume frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned. In addition to their BPA-free benefit, fresh and frozen produce usually have more nutrients, which often get lost in the process of canning.
• Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles. Canned soda and juice often contain some BPA. If you do use plastic, look for those without a number 7 recycling code, which usually indicates the presence of BPA.
• Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid. A separate assessment from the Environmental Working Group found that liquid formulas contain more BPA than powdered brands.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been evaluating the safety of BPA with the assistance of the National Institutes of Health but declined to say if it is considering following Canada’s lead in declaring the chemical toxic and banning it from use.

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BPA Worsens Male Sexual Function

Men who have elevated levels in urine of bisphenol-A (BPA), a substance found in many consumer products, are more likely to experience worsening male sexual function, including decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. This is the first study done in humans to show that high urine levels of BPA are linked with reduced sexual function in men.

This study, which was conducted by researchers with Kaiser Permanente, follows a previous investigation by the same organization in which measures of BPA exposure were recorded based on workers history and environmental exposure to BPA on the job. Various other research has shown an association between exposure to BPA and asthma risk in children, fertility, hyperactivity in girls, and harm to the heart.

BPA is an ingredient used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. A major exposure source is food, as BPA leaks out of the resin lining of cans for foods and beverages and from plastic contains that are often used to store and heat food. An Environmental Working Group study found, for example, that 10 percent of all canned foods tested and in 33 percent of cans of infant formula, a single serving contained BPA levels greater than 200 times the government’s safe level for industrial chemicals. BPA is also found in baby bottles, water bottles, and dental sealants.

The new five-year study, the results of which were published in the online Journal of Andrology, included 427 workers in factories in China and compared those who were exposed to BPA in manufacturing environments with controls who worked in factories without BPA. Urine samples from workers were analyzed for concentration levels of BPA using high-performance liquid chromatography.

Sexual function problems, including decreased sexual desire, lower ejaculation strength, difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, and overall less satisfaction with sex life, were uncovered using standard male sexual function inventories and in-person interviews. The researchers noted that BPA is suspected to disrupt the human endocrine system, which affects both male and female reproductive systems.

De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author, explained that “even among men exposed to BPA from only environmental sources (no occupational exposure and with average BPA level lower than the average observed in the American population), there were indications of an increased risk of sexual dysfunction.”

Kathy Gerwig, Kasier Permanente’s vice president of Workplace Safety and environmental stewardship officer noted that “this study greatly enhances our understanding of the health effects of BPA.” Given that BPA exposure appears to worsen male sexual function and the results of previous research show an association between exposure to BPA and various health risks, it seems wise for individuals to avoid this environmental toxin as much as possible.

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Older men with restless legs show higher rates of erectile dysfunction

A new study shows that older men with restless leg syndrome (RLS) also suffer from higher rates of erectile dysfunction. The findings also show that increased frequency of restless leg syndrome leads to worsening erectile dysfunction for men.

For men who have restless leg syndrome 15 times a month or more, the incidence of erectile dysfunction was as high as seventy eight percent, and lower for those who experienced fewer episodes of RLS monthly.

The study, published in the journal Sleep suggests that restless leg syndrome and erectile dysfunction share the same mechanism.

For older men without restless leg syndrome the occurrence of erectile dysfunction was forty percent. For older men who reported restless leg syndrome, erectile dysfunction incidence was fifty three percent. The study came from an analysis of 23,119 men who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study. Information about erectile dysfunction and RLS was obtained via questionnaire. Average age of the men was 69, that included male dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, podiatrists, pharmacists and veterinarians in the US. Approximately four percent of the men had RLS.

According to lead author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, instructor at Harvard Medical School, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and research scientist at the Harvard School of public health in Boston, Mass, “The mechanisms underlying the association between RLS and erectile dysfunction could be caused by hypofunctioning of dopamine in the central nervous system, which is associated with both conditions.”

Scientists do not know what causes restless leg syndrome, a condition that is more prevalent in middle aged women and older adults. RLS causes frequent movement of the legs and uncomfortable sensations that interfere with sleep because of a persistent uncontrollable urge to move the legs. There are several identified factors that make restless leg syndrome worse, including stress, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, pregnancy, iron deficiency, and certain medications. Heredity might play a role, but the source of the condition has not yet been discovered.

The findings from the current study suggest that sleep apnea could play a role in both restless leg syndrome and erectile dysfunction through decreased levels of circulating testosterone.

The study is not conclusive in that it does not establish cause. The scientists say further studies are needed to uncover the biological mechanisms linking restless leg syndrome to erectile dysfunction in older men. For men who experience restless leg syndrome in addition to erectile dysfunction, a sleep study could be of benefit, and may be worth discussing with your physician.

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Topical cream studied for erectile dysfunction

Scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University are working on a cream to rub on and treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The cream could prove to be safer than oral medications used to deliver nitric oxide to the cells that improves blood flow to treat impotency. Using encapsulated nanoparticles, the scientists have found a way to deliver nitric oxide and prescription drugs that penetrate the tissues to treat erectile dysfunction that affects tens of millions of men.

The study, published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, was performed on eighteen rats with age related erectile dysfunction. The cream, when applied topically, delivers drugs to treat erectile dysfunction in a controlled release fashion that eliminates the potential side effects when erectile dysfunction drugs are delivered systemically.

The researchers treated three groups of rats – one group received the topical nanoparticles erectile treatment with encapsulated nitric oxide. A second group received nanoparticles encapsulated with nitric oxide, plus an experimental erectile dysfunction drug called sialorphin. Sialorphin acts differently than PDE5 inhibitors currently on the market such as Viagra and Cialis. The third group was given the topical erectile dysfunction cream plus tadalafil (Cialis).

The nanoparticle, nitric oxide system, applied topically, combined with either sialorphin or tadalafil, significantly improved erectile dysfunction in five out of seven rats treated. Developer of the topical erectile dysfunction treatment and study co-author Joel M. Friedman, M.D., PhDs says, “Most of the animals, nearly 90 percent, showed a response to treatment with the nanoparticles.”

It only took thirty minutes for the rats to respond to the treatment says senior author Kelvin P. Davies, Ph.D., associate professor of urology at Einstein. “In both rats and humans, it can take 30 minutes to one hour for oral ED medications to take effect.”

Using a topical treatment for erectile dysfunction could prove safer for men with existing heart disease, and could also provide a more effective treatment for diabetics who have high rates of erectile dysfunction. So far, the erectile dysfunction cream looks safe. The scientists found no signs of systemic toxicity, local inflammation, or other undesirable side effects.

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