This vacuum device doesn’t involve medications or surgery. A tube is placed over the end of the penis and the device is activated, creating a vacuum that encourages blood to flow into the penis to create an erection. A rubber ring is then snapped over the base of the penis to help maintain the erection. A semi-hard erection is obtained. While the initial success rate is high with vacuum devices, less than one-third of the men who buy them end up using the vacuum pump long-term. Many of the men who no longer use the external penile pumps say that they are too cumbersome and the erection that results can be somewhat painful and not quite normal. This is definitely not the preferred treatment option for couples who enjoy spontaneous, normal, and frequent sexual activity.
If the dysfunction has a psychological cause, then you will be referred to a certified sex therapist. If the problem turns out to be a simple issue of communication with your partner, a therapist could help you resolve it relatively quickly.
When the dysfunction involves more deeply ingrained issues—for example, inhibition or performance anxiety related to upbringing, religion, and social background, it tends to be more difficult and time consuming to treat.
The bottom line is that ED is debilitating for most men, and I believe that for many couples, a supportive partner is the most important factor in regaining a full, healthy sex life.
Dr. Francois Eid is the Director of Advanced Urological Care, and Clinical Associate Professor of Urology at Weill/Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Copyright © J. François Eid, MD. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC