Many men know the feeling: you’ve planned a romantic night with your other half and just as you’re getting down to business, disaster strikes. No, it’s not a broken condom or a fumbled bra strap – it’s something subtler, but far more worrisome.
Impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), affects a huge number of men in the UK; in fact, it’s believed to be a problem for half of all men aged between 40 and 70. The good news is, there are lots of ways to tackle ED – simply losing some weight and exercising more can improve the condition.
Most men faced with recurring impotence, though, look to ED tablets such as Viagra for a solution. If the impotence is caused by an underlying health problem, these tablets will only treat the problem in the short-term. However we shouldn’t write off the importance of ED products for men suffering from erectile dysfunction; they can dramatically boost sexual confidence and self-esteem, which – in the case of stress or sexual anxiety – can go a long way to resolving the issue.
It’s also important to understand that trying out different types of tablets and giving them a chance to work is all part of the process. The standard advice to a man suffering from impotence is that he should try taking the same type of ED tablet at least eight times before switching to a different dosage or pill. This is because there are several contributing factors that can hamper the tablet’s effectiveness.
- Drinking too much alcohol or eating too much food before or after taking the tablet
- Not waiting long enough before you attempt sex
- Leaving too much time between taking the tablet and trying to have sex
- Not being sexually aroused enough
In some cases, a higher dose or an alternative tablet may be appropriate. If you’ve tried one tablet in a variety of dosages and you’re looking to try another type, read on to find out what your options are.
Treatment options for erectile dysfunction
We’ve all heard of Viagra, but fewer of us are familiar with names like Cialis or Spedra. Though all ED tablets work in the same way (by increasing blood flow to the penis), there are a few key differences which can help you make your choice.
Cialis contains the active ingredient tadalafil and is fast-acting and long-lasting. You only need to take a Cialis tablet at least 30 minutes before you plan to have sex, and once you have taken it its effects can last for up to 36 hours. Don’t worry though – that doesn’t mean you’ll have an erection for two days straight, simply that you’ll be able to get an erection when you are sexually aroused. This tablet is a great option for a romantic weekend, or for men seeking slightly more spontaneous sex. However, it’s also the most expensive ED tablet.
Cialis Daily is also available; this type comes in a lower dose and is taken every single day, enabling you to get an erection whenever you want to have sex.
Viagra and sildenafil may have different names and but they’re essentially the same product. Both contain the active ingredient sildenafil, which means they both work in the same way. The difference is that Viagra is a branded tablet and sildenafil is the generic version.
Both should be taken one hour before sex, ideally on an empty stomach, and should last for four to five hours (during which time you should be able to get an erection with sexual stimulation).
Viagra and Sildenafil are both cheaper than Cialis, but – if price is a factor – it’s good to know that sildenafil is the most affordable of the three.
Spedra contains the active ingredient avanafil and can be seen as a good mid-point between Viagra/sildenafil and Cialis, in terms of price and effect. This type of ED tablet only needs to be taken 30 minutes before sex – and it can work as quickly as 15 minutes for some men.
Like Viagra and sildenafil, the effects of Spedra typically last for around five hours – one slightly odd difference is that it’s recommended you avoid drinking grapefruit juice during this time as it could interact negatively with the avanafil.
Another ED tablet to consider is Levitra, which contains vardenafil. This works in the same way as Viagra and sildenafil (taking effect in around one hour and lasting for four to six hours). The key differences are that it can be taken with food – preferably a low fat meal – and that it is designed with diabetics in mind (diabetes being a leading cause of erectile dysfunction). Levitra is more expensive than Spedra, Viagra and sildenafil but cheaper than Cialis.
If, for whatever reason, you find that ED tablets don’t work for you, don’t forget that there are other treatment options available. Vitaros cream, vacuum pumps, alprostadil injections or pellets, hormone therapy and even surgery are available to men who don’t respond to tablets, on referral from your GP
Seeking treatment for ED can be daunting, but just remember – when it comes to trying out different approaches – a little tenacity can make all the difference.