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    Erectile Dysfunction: Testosterone Replacement or ED Drugs?

    Posted: June 9, 2021

    Erectile dysfunction affects as many as half of all men over the age of 40. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help you improve erectile function and have a fulfilling sex life. Many men wonder what types of treatments are available for ED. There are several different treatment options, like testosterone replacement and drugs that help increase blood flow to the penis.

    middle aged couple smiling together after he started testosterone replacement to help with libido and erectile dysfunction

    If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, treatment options are available, including testosterone replacement and other ED drugs.

    Which treatment our provider recommends will depend on your specific case. For instance, if low T could be causing your ED, we may recommend testosterone. Other potential causes include cardiovascular issues that reduce blood flow to the penis. We’ll discuss the differences between the two types of ED and treatment options available.

    Erectile Dysfunction vs. Low Testosterone

    First of all, it’s important to discuss the differences between erectile dysfunction and low testosterone. You see, you can have low T and not experience erectile dysfunction. You can also have erectile dysfunction with normal testosterone levels. You can also have both ED and low T at the same time. Since sexuality and erections are so complex, it’s often hard to find the “smoking gun” for erectile dysfunction. Since testosterone is the primary sex hormone for men, you might think low testosterone is the main cause of ED. However, the relationship between the two conditions is a little more complicated than that. In some cases you may need testosterone replacement and in others you may need other medications.

    Erectile Dysfunction

    Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection. ED can happen for many different reasons, such as relationship problems, hormone imbalances, and cardiovascular problems that affect blood flow. Many men do experience occasional difficulties with getting and maintaining erections. However, it’s important to talk to a provider at our men’s health clinic if you’re experiencing frequent or ongoing issues. Not only can this significantly affect your sex life, it can also be a sign of other serious health issues. 

    Low T 

    Low testosterone is another common condition that may also affect your sex life, in addition to other aspects of your wellbeing. Some symptoms of low T include:

    • Fatigue 
    • Depression, irritability, or anxiety
    • Loss of muscle mass
    • Low libido

    Since low T can affect libido, energy levels, and other areas of your wellness, it may also lead to sexual health problems like erectile dysfunction.

    When Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Help

    In some cases, our providers may recommend testosterone therapy if you’re having trouble with ED. For instance, if our provider believes erectile dysfunction is a symptom of low T due to things like fatigue, mood changes, and low libido, we may recommend trying testosterone injections. This is because testosterone can help improve mood, energy, and libido, all of which can impact your sex drive.

    In many cases, men come into our clinic for erectile dysfunction, but they’re really struggling with low libido and other symptoms. In these cases, ED drugs typically won’t work, as they primarily help increase blood flow to the penis, but likely do nothing for your sex drive, which is why we may recommend testosterone instead.

    Also, in some cases, our provider may recommend both testosterone and erectile dysfunction drugs to help with your symptoms. For instance, if you have symptoms of low testosterone as well as erectile dysfunction, testosterone replacement therapy may help with low libido, fatigue, and other symptoms of low T, while ED drugs can help with blood flow needed to achieve and maintain an erection. In some studies, researchers have found that TRT has helped some men who had low testosterone and ED from blood flow problems.

    When Erectile Dysfunction Drugs May Help

    In other cases, our provider may recommend drugs specifically for erectile dysfunction, rather than testosterone replacement injections. For example, if you have no symptoms of low T or your labs show that your testosterone levels are within normal ranges, then we may recommend trying ED drugs. 

    Most erectile dysfunction drugs work to help increase blood flow to the penis. They may help if you have normal sex drive, but can’t get or maintain erections for another reason. For instance, many men struggle with ED due to other conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Many conditions make it difficult for your blood vessels to relax and allow enough blood to flow into the penis for an erection. So, these drugs may help address this problem. 

    Types of ED Drugs

    If you’ve been dealing with ED, you might wonder which erectile dysfunction drug is best. This really depends on your unique circumstances. That’s why it’s important to talk to our health provider about your options and take part in ongoing treatment monitoring. There are many different types of erectile dysfunction drugs. One may work better than others for you. 

    PDE5 Inhibitors

    Some of the most common ED drugs are PDE5 inhibitors. PDE5 is an enzyme that lives primarily in the blood vessels in the penis, also known as the corpora cavernosa. PDE5 inhibitors help block this enzyme, which can help the blood vessels relax and allow more blood to flow into the penis for an erection. 

    There are two types our providers may recommend: sildenafil and tadalafil. They have similar side effects, but tadalafil stays in the body longer. While sildenafil stays in the body for four to six hours, tadalafil stays in the body for up to 18 hours. Our provider will discuss the differences in detail with you to help you choose the option that best suits your case. PDE5 inhibitors typically come in pill form that you take before sexual activity.

    PT-141 Peptide Therapy

    Another option for erectile dysfunction treatment includes PT-141 therapy. PT-141 is a peptide hormone that helps with sexual desire and arousal in the brain. So, for instance, if you’re having trouble with erectile dysfunction because of low libido, but your testosterone levels are in the normal range or you don’t have any other low T symptoms, then we may recommend PT-141 therapy to help improve libido. We may also recommend PT-141 therapy if PDE5 inhibitors haven’t worked well for you. This type of ED treatment is a self-injection you use about one hour before sexual activity. 

    TriMix Injections

    If the other treatments aren’t effective at treating your erectile dysfunction, then our medical providers may recommend TriMix injections. These injections use three drugs to help with erectile dysfunction: papaverine, phentolamine, and prostaglandin E1. Each plays an important part in helping patients achieve and maintain an erection, by expanding and relaxing the blood vessels and dilating the cavernosal arteries for additional blood flow into the penis and limiting the amount of blood flowing out. TriMix is a self-injection in the penis that, though may sound intimidating, can be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. 

    Talk to Your Men’s Health Clinic about Your Sexual Health

    Our medical team at Low T Center is here to offer customized treatment solutions to help you feel your best. Whether you’re dealing with symptoms of low testosterone, ED, or another condition, we are here to help find underlying causes of your symptoms. Schedule a comprehensive health assessment today to take the first step toward better wellness.

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    Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.