When something doesn’t work, it can be frustrating. When that something is a part of your body that you have always been able to count on, it may be devastating.
Though having trouble getting or maintaining an erection may be an occasional occurrence for men at some point during their lifetime, for many, it becomes a chronic problem. When there is a persistent inability to attain or sustain an erection long enough for a satisfying sexual encounter, and this persists, it is called erectile dysfunction (ED), and its prevalence increases with age.
Though ED is a physical problem, it may negatively impact a man’s self-image and masculinity. It can have severe social and emotional implications that alter a man’s self-confidence and affect his intimate relationships. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that target the underlying cause. When a man is diagnosed with hormone imbalance, hormone therapy for erectile dysfunction may help mitigate symptoms and restore sexual functioning.
Understanding the Complexity of Erectile Dysfunction
Several body systems work in coordination to achieve an erection, and a deficit in any one of these systems may impair the process. Often, erectile dysfunction results from multiple contributing causes or origins.
|Contributing Cause of Erectile Dysfunction||Possible Treatments and Interventions||Additional Considerations|
|Vascular (inadequate blood flow)||Oral PDE5 Inhibitors|
Pelvic floor physical therapy
|ED may signal underlying cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney, or liver disease.|
|Central/Peripheral nervous system (nerve damage)||Oral PDE5 Inhibitors|
Penile Prostaglandin injections
Vacuum constriction device
Marriage counselingSex therapy
|Endocrine (hormone imbalance)||Hormone replacement therapy||Several hormones may be implicated in ED, including testosterone, prolactin, and thyroid hormones.|
|Environmental (medication, alcohol, smoking, etc.)||Lifestyle modifications|
The cause of a man’s erectile dysfunction and his personal preferences will determine recommended treatments. Noninvasive approaches are typically attempted before the more invasive therapies. Often, men obtain the most benefit from combination therapy.
Research also continues into several novel therapies as alternatives or add-ons to conventional treatments. This includes platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, which is obtained from a patient’s blood. The concentrate, rich in healing cells and growth factors, is injected into the penis to promote tissue growth. Stem cell therapy shows similar potential benefits. Additionally, low-intensity shock wave therapy has the potential to break up scar tissue and encourage new growth. All three of these therapies are designed to address specific causes of ED by stimulating tissue regeneration.
Managing Sexual Symptoms Caused by Hormone Imbalance
Though most ED treatments offer temporary solutions that must be implemented each time an erection is desired, hormone therapy has the potential to address one specific cause at its root.
Hormone imbalances can cause several—often overlapping—sexual symptoms, including loss of desire, lack of energy and stamina, and problems achieving or maintaining an erection. Identifying which hormones are involved and correcting their levels with hormone therapy may eliminate the imbalance and improve sexual functioning.
- Testosterone: Testosterone levels decrease as men age, but some men experience a steeper drop that results in hypogonadism. Experiencing low testosterone (low T) for even a short time can diminish sex drive, lower sperm count, and cause difficulties with erections. If low levels persist, a man may also lose muscle mass, bone density and experience anemia. Low T may be treated with oral, injectable, implantable pellets, gel, or patches to try and restore healthy hormone levels.
- Prolactin: This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. A pituitary tumor and certain medications may lead to hyperprolactinemia which can cause low T and ED.
- Thyroid hormones: Produced in the thyroid gland, thyroid hormones play a role in regulating weight, metabolism, body temperature, and many other body functions. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism may cause ED, and normalizing thyroid hormones may restore erectile functioning without additional treatment.
Since these three hormones are interconnected, an imbalance may be tricky. When a man is overweight, there may be an additional challenge, as increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen by enzymes in body fat may further complicate the imbalance.
Hormone Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction
When you suspect a hormone imbalance, the first step is to find a practitioner specializing in the complexities of hormone health and aging. When trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis, you’ll begin with a complete medical history review and thorough lab testing. With the benefits of telemedicine, you can initiate the process with a virtual consultation and at-home testing from the privacy of your home.
If your provider determines that hormone imbalance is a causative factor in your sexual dysfunction, customized hormone therapy can be compounded according to your needs and delivered directly to your door. You will also receive recommendations about supportive lifestyle modifications that may include limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, adding supplements, and adopting a heart-healthy nutrition and exercise plan. Through scheduled follow-up visits, your provider will monitor to ensure that your treatment goals are being met.
If you are curious about hormone therapy for erectile dysfunction, BodyLogicMD wants to help. The expert practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network can assess your needs and design a personalized Sexual Wellness plan to help you achieve your health goals—from virtually anywhere. Set up your telemedicine consultation, or take the Hormone Balance Quiz to learn more about the programs offered by BodyLogicMD.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.