ED Treatment - Counseling/Psychotherapy/Sex Therapy

What is involved in Counseling/Psychotherapy/Sex Therapy?

Seeking psychological treatment is very common in the treatment of ED since ED can be both due to, and the cause of, psychological stress, sexual anxiety and/or other mental health and personal issues.

Psychological treatments often involve counseling or talk therapy and include talking about relationships and experiences with a mental or sexual health professional. Therapists can help find effective ways of coping with many of these problems. Therapists can offer practical strategies that can help reduce sexual anxiety and encourage communication around sexual issues. Often, meeting with a therapist, as few as three or four times, can be very helpful. For many couples affected by ED, talking with a therapist together may produce the best results, as good communication among partners can also help solve problems in an intimate relationship that might be contributing to ED and increasing sexual anxiety.

The risks and benefits of all treatment options should be discussed with a doctor before any mode of treatment is chosen, as patient and partner satisfaction is the primary goal.

Does taking vitamins or other dietary supplements help treat or prevent ED?

Many dietary supplements, such as herbs, vitamins, and minerals, have become increasingly popular as ways to treat medical conditions and improve health. Some are even labeled and marketed as promoting sexual health and improving ED. Don't assume "natural" products are safe and effective to use, as they are not usually reviewed and/or approved by regulatory health agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is very little clinical evidence to determine whether dietary supplements provide benefits to people with ED. It is best to discuss the individual risks and benefits of any dietary supplements with your physician before taking them, as some may interact with current prescriptions or complicate current medical conditions.

It is worth noting that in ED drug trials, there is a 30% placebo response rate, meaning that 30% of men on a placebo (sugar pill) claim an improvement in their erectile function. Two important caveats: first, some male health supplements contain androgens (testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione), which may be inappropriate for some men, and second, it has been shown that some of these "all natural" supplements actually contain drugs such as sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) and tadalafil (Cialis®). One of the reasons many men choose to try such supplements is that they are not permitted to use the prescription medications sildenafil citrate (Viagra®), vardenafil hydrochloride (Levitra®) and tadalafil (Cialis®), because they use or possess nitroglycerin-containing medications. Combining these two types of medications may result in life-threatening blood pressure changes. So be cautious when purchasing or using 'all natural' supplements, as they may actually not be 'all natural.'