Erectile dysfunction resources
Resources to raise awareness & help you understand more about erectile dysfunction. Find the right option for you.
A third of men in their twenties experience erectile difficulties. We often hear of erectile dysfunction in older men, however, it’s often perceived as somewhat more of a taboo subject in younger men, but if you're experiencing difficulties it’s best to get it checked out early, so we really need to normalise the conversation.
Frequently asked questions about E.D.
- How is ED commonly treated?
In 1998 the first treatment for ED was released, Viagra®; a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE-5) which became known as the ‘little blue pill’. This simple pill was a game-changer for many men like you that had previously relied on treatments such as injections and vacuum pumps. In recent years other similar medications have been released, and more recently as the original patents have expired, the generic versions have also become available and are a popular choice among prescribers and men alike.
Branded Generic Viagra Sildenafil Cilais Tadalafil Levitra Vardenafil Spedra Avanafil – Not yet available as generic
The first-choice treatment, for the majority of men, are oral tablets. They are usually very well tolerated and effective in about 80% of ED cases.6 Other treatments for ED are available through your GP if you cannot take the tablets or would prefer to use an alternative. These include creams that you apply to your penis, penis pumps, penile implants or injections, exercises or lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and reducing your alcohol intake. If the cause of your ED may be more psychological than physical, then counselling can be very effective.
- How do ED medicines work?
All PDE-5 inhibitors work in the same way. These include Viagra, Sildenafil, Cialis, Tadalafil, Levitra, Vardenafil and Spedra.
When you are aroused your tissues release a chemical called nitric oxide (NO), this, in turn, causes the release of a second chemical called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). cGMP causes the muscles at the sides of your penis to relax allowing blood to rush in. The veins that drain the blood from your penis also get compressed trapping the increased blood in your penis resulting in an erection.
An enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) breaks down the cGMP and your penis returning it to its original state. PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra/Sildenafil, work by blocking the action of PDE5, so your levels of cGMP remain high, the muscles at the side of your penis relax, more blood rushes in, and you can achieve a firmer and longer lasting erection. It is important to remember that PDE5 inhibitors only exert their action when you are sexually aroused, it does not increase your sexual desire, and it will not resolve any underlying physical causes of your ED.
- Is ED medication effective?
Yes, oral ED medications are effective in about 80% of men,6 but they are not guaranteed to work and are not suitable for everyone. Although considered highly effective, that doesn’t mean they don’t come without risks or side effects. Talk to us if you experience any side effects, think your medication is not working or that it is having too much of an effect. We can review your mediation and dose to make sure it is right for you.
- What are alternative treatments for ED?
Oral ED medications don’t work for everyone.
Other treatment options for ED include lifestyle improvements (like exercise, diet, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol use), surgery, penile vacuum pumps, and other types of ED medication. Every treatment comes with risks and benefits that you should fully understand and discuss with your doctor before moving forward with any treatment plan.
- Why do I need to know my blood pressure to get an ED prescription?
We need to know your recent blood pressure, taken within the last 6 months because it can be very dangerous to take ED medication if your blood pressure is too high or too low. If you don’t know your blood pressure, you can get a free blood pressure reading at hundreds of locations across the country.
- Where can I get my blood pressure measured?
You can get your blood pressure checked at most pharmacies or health centres. Alternatively, you could purchase your own upper arm digital BP monitor from around £20. You must use equipment that has been properly tested. The British Hypertension Society (BHS)7 has information about validated blood pressure monitors you can buy.
- How do I take my blood pressure at home?
If you measure your blood pressure at home, make sure you use a validated blood pressure monitor. Read the instructions thoroughly before you begin. It’s best to take your blood pressure when you are sitting down, with your back supported and legs uncrossed. Remove any clothing from your upper arm, if you cannot roll up your sleeve high enough, you should remove your top.
Hold out one of your arms so that it is at heart height, supported by a table or chair arm, and place the cuff snuggly around your upper arm. The tube that connects to the machine should be towards the inside or the centre of the arm. Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out. You will feel the cuff expanding around your arm and a short squeezing feeling that may be a little uncomfortable. The pressure is then slowly released while the monitor ‘reads’ your results.
Your results will be shown on the digital display e.g.
People refer to their blood pressure as ‘120 over 80’. This means that the systolic pressure as your heart pushes blood out is 120mmHg and the diastolic pressure as your heart fills with blood is 80mmHg. P75 means that your pulse (heart rate) is 75 beats per minute.
Before taking your blood pressure, it’s important to avoid the following factors that may cause your blood pressure to rise temporarily:
- Cold temperatures
- Certain medications (check the label on your device)
Take at least two readings, 5 minutes apart. Enter the lower of the two readings during your online visit.
- Can you get ED treatment over the counter?
Previously all ED medication was only available on prescription, but in 2018 Viagra Connect was released (a 50mg strength Viagra) that can be bought following a face-to-face consultation with a pharmacist.
- What else can I do to try to improve my ED symptoms?
There are things that you can also try to help to improve your ED symptoms, aside from taking medications or alongside your medication. Men who are overweight are statistically more likely to experience difficulties with getting and maintaining an erection.8 So, if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, then you could look to improve your diet and increase the amount of daily activity that you do. We wouldn’t recommend crash dieting or diet fads. Instead, aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet by reducing ‘bad’ foods, such as processed foods, high sugar and high fat foods, and increasing your intake of ‘good’ foods like fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Smoking and alcohol have also been associated with ED9, and by cutting back you may find improvements in your symptoms.
Stress, tiredness and anxiety can all be possible causes of ED but reducing your stress or take time out is much easier said than done. You could try giving yourself some ‘me’ time. Whether it is a cup of tea in a quiet room to collect your thoughts, a walk on your lunch break, relaxing past times such as yoga or simply sharing your worries with your friends and family, finding a way to lower your stress levels could improve your ED symptoms.
- How does my order arrive?
We understand the last thing you want is for your neighbours to know what is arriving at your door, which is why all our medicines are sent in discreet packaging, via DPD or Royal Mail. If we prescribe your medication before 1pm, your order will be shipped the same day. We provide you with a tracking number so you can track your parcel right to your door.
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