Oral medications such as Viagra is the most commonly known treatment used for erectile dysfunction. But erectile dysfunction doesn’t have to be treated with just pills. There are other safe and effective treatment methods for erectile dysfunction in Singapore as well.
In this article, we’re going to share with you more about the various types of treatment methods available in Singapore for erectile dysfunction.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the frequent inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual activity. It’s generally more common in older men as they’re also more likely to have medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, which are associated with the dysfunction.
And while it’s true that older men are more prone to erectile dysfunction in Singapore, it’s a condition that can happen to men of any age due to various causes.
A man may face erectile dysfunction from time to time, and there’s no need to be alarmed when that happens. But if it occurs continuously, it’s a sign that you need to consult a doctor.
What are the causes of erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can happen to a man of any age due to various psychological and physical factors.
Psychological factors include:
- Performance anxiety
- Stressors such as relationship problems
- Lack of sexual interest due to low testosterone, depression or relationship strain
Besides that, it can be caused by physical factors and medical conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
Experiencing erectile dysfunction can also be a sign that you’re having an underlying condition such as heart disease or diabetes. If left untreated, erectile dysfunction can impact your well-being, relationship and quality of life.
But you don’t have to let it get in the way. There are various safe and effective treatment methods available in Singapore that can be used to treat erectile dysfunction.
How can erectile dysfunction be treated in Singapore?
The treatment for erectile dysfunction will depend on its cause.
To determine this, the doctor will first ask about your sexual practices, sexual partners and a thorough medical and drug history to get a better understanding.
The doctor may also run medical investigations for erectile dysfunction such as screening for abnormal hormone levels or a vascular ultrasound of the penile shaft to look into the health of your penile blood vessels.
Clinical treatment methods
1. Oral medication
The first line of treatment that’s usually given to treat erectile dysfunction is oral medication. These come in the form of Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors, also known as PDE-5. The pills are taken whenever the patient wants to have sexual intercourse.
PDE-5 inhibitors enhance the effects of nitric oxide, which is a natural chemical that the body produces to relax the muscles in the penis. This allows for increased blood flow to the penile tissues, enabling a man to get an erection.
One thing to note from taking these medications is that it doesn’t automatically result in an erection. Sexual stimulation is first required to release nitric oxide from the penile nerves in order to get an erection.
The table below shows the different types of oral medication available in Singapore for erectile dysfunction:
|Drug||Onset of action||Duration of action||Effect of food intake|
|Avanafil||30 minutes||Up to 6 hours||Not affected|
|Sildenafil (Viagra)||1 hour||4 – 5 hours||Most effective when taken on an empty stomach|
|Vardenafil (Levitra)||1 hour||4 – 5 hours||A high-fat meal might slow down its absorption|
|Tadalafil (Cialis)||1 – 2 hours||Up to 36 hours||Not affected|
Source: Mayo Clinic
As with all oral medications, there may be possible side effects such as:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Muscle ache
- Stomach ache
- Visual changes, such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light
Before taking an oral medication for erectile dysfunction, it’s advisable to share with your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking, including herbal supplements.
This is because certain medications should not be taken together with the PDE-5 inhibitors. As they work by relaxing the blood vessels, they can also cause low blood pressure. So it can be especially risky if you’re also concurrently taking medication that affects your blood pressure.
Another thing to take note about the oral medication is that you can’t buy them over-the-counter. You’ll need to get a prescription from a doctor first.
Some medications can work better for you as compared to others, so it’s recommended to try one that’s most effective for you according to your doctor’s advice.
Alprostadil works by making the blood vessels expand, increasing blood flow throughout the body, including the penis.
Do note that the injections can come with side effects, such as prolonged erections and the formation of fibrous tissue at the injection area.
However, compared to oral medications, injections have fewer potential side effects. Although they can seem scary at first, most patients get used to using it and find it more effective than oral medications.
Alprostadil urethral suppository
Another option would be to use the alprostadil urethral suppository. It works just like the alprostadil injection; the only difference is the application method.
The suppository is roughly the size of half a grain of rice and is inserted into the urethra with a special applicator.
After application, the erection can start within 10 minutes, and can last between 30 and 60 minutes. Do note that side effects include pain, minor bleeding and stinging in the urethra.
Be sure to consult your doctor to discuss which treatment option will be a better option for you.
While medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are common causes of erectile dysfunction in Singapore, psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, work problems, family and relationship issues can come into play as well.
If the cause of the erectile dysfunction is a psychological one, you may be advised to go for counselling with a licensed therapist. They can help to address the issues, build up your confidence and reduce sexual anxiety.
4. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (EWST)
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a pretty new treatment for erectile dysfunction that is safe, painless and effective. It’s recommended for those experiencing erectile dysfunction caused by blood vessel conditions, usually from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Currently, EWST is the only treatment method that aims to restore the natural mechanism that allows erections to occur normally and spontaneously. It works by using low-intensity shock waves targeted at the penile tissues to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. With more blood vessels, there will be better blood flow to the penis for erections to occur.
Patients undergoing EWST usually go for six to 12 sessions spanning over a few weeks, with the results lasting up to a year. After a year, you’ll only need one to two sessions per year.
Each session lasts for about 15 minutes. It’s also painless, which means you can return to your daily activities after the session.
However, ESWT may not be effective for all causes of erectile dysfunction. Its efficacy also differs from person to person. So be sure to talk to your doctor to find out if it’s suitable for your case.
Penile implants may be recommended if other treatment methods do not work. It may also be used for severe cases, such as Peyronie’s disease. Peyronie’s disease is a penis problem caused by scar tissue that forms inside the penis, which can result in a bent, rather than straight, erect penis.
Surgery is required to insert the penile prosthesis. This also means that there are risks involved, such as infections, implant problems, and internal erosion or adhesion of the skin caused by the implant.
Penile implants may not be recommended if you:
- Have erectile dysfunction because of situational factors, such as relationship problems
- Have erectile dysfunction that can be reversed through other means
- Infections like a pulmonary infection or urinary tract infection
- Diabetes that isn’t managed well
In Singapore, there are two main types of implants to treat erectile dysfunction: malleable implants and inflatable implants. Each type of implant works differently, and has its pros and cons.
Inflatable implants are the more common choice between both types of implants. The implant can be inflated whenever you want to get an erection, and be deflated when not needed.
This three-piece implant comprises two hollow cylinders to be placed inside the penis, together with a fluid reservoir under the abdominal wall. They’ll be attached to a pump and a release valve that controls the flow of the fluid to and from the cylinders.
You’ll need to pump the fluid from the reservoir into the implants to achieve an erection. When you’re done, you can release the valve to let the fluid flow back into the reservoir.
Another type of inflatable implant is the two-piece implant, which works the same way as the three-piece implant. The only difference is that its fluid reservoir is implanted in the scrotum.
Unlike inflatable implants, malleable implants are always firm. So you won’t need to pump fluid to make the penis erect.
As the implant is malleable, the penis can be bent away from the body for sexual activity, and closer to the body to be concealed at other times.
The table below shows the pros and cons of each type of implant.
|Type of penile implant||Pros||Cons|
|Three-piece inflatable implant||Allows the most natural, rigid erection among the implantsIs limp when deflated||Has more components that could malfunction, as compared to other types of implantsNeeds a fluid reservoir to be inserted inside the abdomen|
|Two-piece inflatable implant||Is limp when deflated||Is mechanically more complicated than a malleable implantProvides less firm erections than a three-piece implant|
|Malleable implant||Lower chances of malfunction due to the small number of partsIs easy to use for those with limited mental or manual dexterity||Penis will always be slightly rigidPuts constant pressure on the inside of the penis, which can lead to injuryCan be difficult to conceal under clothing|
Source: Mayo Clinic
Be sure to consult your doctor before deciding if you should go for a penile implant. They can also suggest the type that’s most suitable based on factors such as your age, risk of infection and health conditions.
A ligation, a type of surgery to block off the veins, can help reduce the leakage of blood that’s affecting the rigidity of the penis during an erection.
In general, vascular surgery helps to improve blood flow to the penis, allowing the man to get an erection. However, as with all surgeries, chances of infection is possible. It should also be an option only if you have damaged blood vessels due to injury.
Erectile dysfunction in Singapore: what are the other treatment options?
Erectile dysfunction can be reversed by adopting good lifestyle habits. Besides medication, injection and surgery, adopting some of these lifestyle changes can help prevent erectile dysfunction.
1. Improve your sleeping patterns
Staying up all night frequently can affect your sleeping patterns. Poor sleeping habits can disrupt your level of testosterone, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
With better sleep patterns, your body can better regulate certain hormones as well as increase testosterone levels. Hence, adopting a better sleeping habit and following a proper sleep schedule can be a natural erectile dysfunction remedy. Instead of catching up on late-night football games or hanging out with your friends late into the night, head to bed early!
2. Adopting a healthy diet
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” And what you eat has a direct impact on erectile dysfunction.
With a healthy diet, you also get to maintain a healthy body weight. In turn, you reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, which are all linked to erectile dysfunction.
Another way of reducing your risk of medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease is to go for regular health screenings, so that you can manage them early. Find out more about health screenings in Singapore here.
3. Have regular exercise
Among these lifestyle changes, regular exercise is said to have the biggest effect on treating and reversing erectile dysfunction.
Firstly, it helps to improve blood flow, which is critical in getting an erection. It also helps to improve blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which is similar to how oral medication like Viagra works to treat erectile dysfunction.
What’s more, exercises that involve weights help to improve the natural production of testosterone, which is a factor in erectile strength and sex drive.
With regular exercise, you can also lose weight and reduce your risk of being obese. Studies have shown that a man with a 42-inch waist is 50 percent more likely to have erectile dysfunction than a man with a 32-inch waist.
4. Cut down on smoking and drinking
Cutting down on smoking can be a remedy for erectile dysfunction, especially if it’s a result of vascular disease. This occurs when blockage or narrowing of the arteries restricts blood flow to the penis.
Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco can result in the narrowing of important blood vessels and affect the blood flow to the penile tissues. So cutting down on smoking can go a long way in improving erectile dysfunction.
Besides smoking, you should also limit your alcohol intake. Heavy drinking of alcohol can also cause temporary and long-term erectile dysfunction as it depresses the central nervous system, causing it to produce less nitric oxide that’s essential for maintaining erections.
Getting treatment for erectile dysfunction in Singapore
Several safe and treatment options are available for erectile dysfunction in Singapore, and your doctor will recommend one that’s best suited for your situation. With the right treatment, erectile dysfunction can be overcome safely and effectively.
Don’t want to be seen visiting a clinic in Singapore for erectile dysfunction and any other sexual health issues? Through the MyDoc app, you can chat directly and get personal medical advice with a doctor from the DTAP Clinic in a safe and comfortable setting.