Treatments for male sexual dysfunction

  • There is effective treatment for erectile dysfunction and this can transform your sex life.
  • It is essential to treat any underlying medical cause if found on screening.

Medical treatment: Phosphodiesterase inhibitors

  • There is drug treatment which prevents the hormone (phosphodiesterase) from working. This hormone is responsible for causing the dissolution of an erection.
  • There are 3 drugs available: Vardenafil (Levitra), Tadalafil (Cialis), and Sildenafil (Viagra).
  • They are taken up to an hour before you are going to have sex.
  • These drugs do not have an effect on sexual desire. It is still necessary to have a sexual arousal to obtain an erection.
  • Before prescribing drug treatment, your GP must check that you do not have any heart problems as they are contraindicated in those on certain medications (nitrates).
  • Sometimes these medications can be prescribed free of charge to you if you have a medical cause for your erectile dysfunction.
  • Side-effects include nausea, rhinitis, headaches, hot flushes, facial flushing, eye disorder :
  • Other contra-indications, side effects and interactions with other drugs will be explained to you by your doctor.


  • Injections are reserved for men in whom medical treatments have failed.
  • The injections can either be into the urethra (the hole within your penis) or into the actual tissue of your penis.
  • Injections are carried out by the patient themselves
  • The injected product causes the blood vessels to dilate and fill up with blood causing an erection
  • Erection occurs approximately 5 to 15 minutes after the injection and can last from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Side-effects include pain at the injection site and prolonged erection.

Penile vacuums

  • Penile vacuums or pumps cause an erection by mechanically drawing blood into your penis.
  • This apparatus requires some training but can represent a solution for certain couples.


There are surgical solutions available but these are reserved as a last resort and you can discuss this with your GP or specialist.

For more information, please see