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The articles contained in the FOLX Library consist of generally available information and do not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

ED

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

BASICS

ED stands for Erectile Dysfunction, which is when someone stops being able to have as much of an erection as they would like, or to have an erection for as long of a time as they would like. 

ED is quite common, studies show that ED affects about a third of people with penises. It becomes more common as people get older (50% of people in their 50s, 60% of people in their 60s).

If your ability to get or maintain an erection feels like it is a problem for you, then you are likely a candidate for ED medication. Sexuality and sexual function can be affected by a lot of factors (physical health, mental health, relationship issues, etc.), but as we age, our blood vessels and nerve endings also age and don't work as well. This is what ED medications can help with.

Yes, you can definitely take ED medication if you are on estrogen. You can also take ED medication if you are on an anti-androgen or on progesterone.

These medications can help people get and maintain an erection. Some of them are on-demand (taking a pill will lead to an erection in that moment), and some help with spontaneous erection (you won’t get an erection right away, but it will be easier to get and maintain an erection when you are aroused). These medications unfortunately cannot help increase someone’s libido or sex drive or change their ability to ejaculate.

There are certain medical conditions that cause erectile dysfunction that may not be improved by these medications, and these medications may make symptoms or outcomes related to those medical conditions worse.

If you are a healthy person with no medical problems, ED medications are typically very safe.  There are certain medical conditions and medications that increase your risk when taking ED medications, and certain conditions and medications that unfortunately mean that you should not take ED medications because the risk is too high. You can speak to one of our clinicians if you'd like to know more.

Most people who take ED medications take them on an as-needed basis (so whenever they plan on having sex), so how often you need to take them depend on how often you have sex. Some people a daily dose of ED medications.

The common ED medications are in a class called PDE5 inhibitors. They include the following medications: Tadalafil (Cialis); Sildenafil (Viagra); Vardenafil (Levitra); Avanafil (Stendra). These medications cause blood vessels to relax, increasing blood flow to the penis and enabling an erection to happen.

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

EFFECTS

Some people can experience flushing (reddening of the skin), headache, stomach upset, or nasal congestion. Some may notice a slight change in vision like blurriness or a slight blue tinge to your vision. Less commonly people can experience dizziness or lightheadedness related to a decrease in the blood pressure. Much more rarely, people can experience effects that require immediate medical attention such as a loss of vision or hearing, or an erection that does not go away on its own after 4 hours. It is recommended to avoid heavy alcohol drinking while taking these medications, as it can worsen the side effects, and to avoid drinking grapefruit juice as it can affect the levels of the medication in your body.

Many of the side effects of ED medication are due to how the medication affects blood vessels and blood flow (flushing or reddening of the skin, mild vision changes or sensitivity to light). You can't really do much about these, but they will pass.

To help with headaches and muscle aches, you can take a standard dose of acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil).

ED medications work best on an empty stomach, but to help with stomach upset, you can eat a small meal or snack before you take your ED pill.

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

LONG-TERM

Most people have to continue taking ED medications for as long as they want to continue having help with erections. For some people, the underlying cause of their erectile dysfunction (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.) gets better and therefore it is easier for them to get and maintain an erection without ED pills.

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

SEXUALITY

ED medications do not help with low sex-drive. Low sex drive can happen for a lot of reasons: low testosterone, alcohol or drug use, depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues. ED medications will not help resolve these issues, so if you are noticing a low sex drive, it is best to talk with your primary care provider or a mental health provider if you are experiencing issues like depression and anxiety.

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