Does your partner have erectile dysfunction? Here’s how you can help.

Mature couple kissing

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can take a toll on your relationship and make both you and your partner feel inadequate or insecure. However, it’s important to remember that erectile dysfunction is not uncommon. Medical estimates suggest that at least fifty percent of men in the United States experience some form of sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives, with erectile dysfunction being the most common (affecting approximately 30 million men). Outside the US, the numbers are even greater: ED affects as many as 140 million men worldwide.

If your partner has been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, there are several steps you can take to make managing the condition easier for both of you. Learning everything you can about ED and its possible treatments can help you develop an understanding and make your partner feel supported during more difficult times.

Know your diagnosis: what is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (sometimes referred to as impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection that’s firm enough for penetrative sex. Almost every man will experience ED at some point in his life, so if it only occurs from time to time, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern.

However, if erectile dysfunction becomes an ongoing issue, it can cause stress and affect your relationship and your or your partner’s self-image. Worse still, it may even be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs to be treated. 

If your partner’s ED has been going on for more than a month, or if it dissipates only to frequently return, have them talk to their doctor. Sometimes treating an underlying condition is enough to improve erectile dysfunction. In other cases, though, there are several medications and treatment options available for erectile dysfunction itself.

What can cause erectile dysfunction?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The process of male sexual arousal is complex, involving the brain, emotions, hormones, blood vessels, and muscles. As such, ED can be a result of a condition that affects any of these systems. 

Stress and other mental health concerns can also cause erectile dysfunction or make it worse. Often, ED is a combination of both physical and psychological issues. For example, a minor physical condition may cause a slower sexual response than your partner is used to; this can cause anxiety about getting or maintaining an erection, which can then lead to and/or worsen erectile dysfunction. 

Possible Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

  • High blood pressure
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Low testosterone
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Alcoholism 
  • Drug abuse
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Treatments for enlarged prostate and/or prostate cancer
  • Surgeries or injuries to the pelvic area or spinal cord

Possible Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Other mental health conditions
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems 

Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by aging. It is very common for older men to experience chronic ED—although, this may also be because older men are more likely to experience many of the physical conditions listed above. 

To diagnose erectile dysfunction, your partner’s doctor will likely perform a physical examination and ask a series of questions about their symptoms and medical history. They may also test for underlying conditions with a blood pressure check, blood tests, urine samples, and ultrasound. After determining the likely cause of your partner’s ED, the doctor will be able to make a recommendation for treatment. 

Remember, no matter the cause of their ED, talk to your partner about it openly and without judgment or pressure. Letting them know you support them and helping them to make lifestyle changes that will improve their condition can go a long way toward relieving the stress it can put on a relationship.

What is the best treatment for erectile dysfunction?

Treatment for erectile dysfunction varies from person to person. Sometimes it is as simple as treating an underlying condition. In other cases, depending on the cause and severity of your partner’s ED, their doctor may prescribe oral medications, vitamins, supplements, shots, suppositories, or even surgery. 

Ultimately, you will want to talk with your partner about what treatment you are both most comfortable with (within the doctor’s recommendations). Ask your pharmacist about any drug interactions or side effects you should watch out for with the final prescribed treatment, and make sure you follow their instructions closely. 

What erectile dysfunction drug is best?

As mentioned above, treatment depends completely on the underlying cause of your partner’s erectile dysfunction. The most common oral medications are:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)

All of these medications work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a natural chemical produced in the male body that relaxes the muscles in the penis, increasing blood flow and making it much easier to achieve and maintain an erection. Please note: these drugs are not recommended for men who take nitrate drugs (commonly prescribed for people with chest pains or heart problems), have heart issues or a history of heart disease, or who have very low blood pressure. 

What vitamins are good for erectile dysfunction?

If your partner is unable to take prescription ED medications, or if medication and lifestyle changes are not sufficiently helping with their erectile dysfunction, you may consider suggesting natural supplements.

For instance, recent studies have found that vitamin D may protect endothelial cells and aid in the production of nitric oxide—both of which can improve male sexual function. Others report that zinc helps to produce testosterone and prolactin (two key sex hormones) and aids in the production of prostatic fluid, which helps form semen and affects fertility. Some studies have even found that erectile dysfunction can have direct links to zinc deficiency.

Generally, both vitamin D and zinc are safe to take (even for people with kidney dysfunction and heart disease), and they should both be available at your local drug store. However, always ask your pharmacist about any possible interactions with your current medications, and ask your doctor before you start taking any supplements. 

Find a “compounding pharmacy near me.”

When you’re looking for the nearest pharmacy to provide supplements and medications for your partner’s erectile dysfunction, Smith Caldwell Pharmacy has you covered. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Benton, Arkansas, Smith Caldwell has been serving the area since the early 1900s. 

Located in a 10,000 sq. ft. building and employing over 60 people, the Smith Caldwell Pharmacy is far from your “normal” local drug store. We focus on specialized personal care to provide the best possible prescription health care available to our patrons. We even have a compounding pharmacy on site to custom create your specialty medications. 

If you have any questions about your erectile dysfunction medication, or if you’d like more information on our selection of supplements and vitamins for ED, ask one of our pharmacists, contact us online, or call us at 501-404-2740 today. At Smith Caldwell, we’re here for you!