Some possible side effects include a bluish color to the penis (from bruising or the tourniquet-like effect of the band), discomfort or pain (from pumping with too much pressure or from a constriction band that is too tight), coolness of the penis, and wobbliness of the penis near the base (the portion of the penis beyond the constriction band is still soft, so to minimize this problem, the band should be applied as far toward the base of the penis as possible). These problems can be lessened with practice and education.
Vacuum therapy is very effective, but it takes time and patience to use with ease. Statistics show that with practice, all men can find a level of success. Your physician or health professional can help with understanding and effectively applying the technique.
Penile splint. The penile splint (Rejoyn Support Sleeve System) is a relatively new and inexpensive treatment for men with erection problems. It allows men to have intercourse with a flaccid or semi-erect penis. The penis is placed in a tubular “splint” and a condom is applied over the penis. Penile splints allow for insertion and can produce a satisfying experience for both partners. These products can be purchased over the counter and can be used as frequently as you choose.
Penile implants are considered a last resort, both because surgery is necessary to place them and because the surgery permanently changes some internal structures of the penis. As a result, if removal of the device becomes necessary for some reason, other erectile dysfunction treatments will not work. Those who choose penile implants, however, find they can create a natural-looking erection. There are several different models on the market, but the most common and most effective is the three-piece inflatable implant. (Other varieties include a two-piece inflatable implant and a noninflatable implant.) It consists of two cylinders placed in the penis, a pump placed in the scrotum next to the testicles, and a fluid reservoir placed in the abdomen. Squeezing the pump transfers the fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders, creating an erection. Because this is a surgical procedure, it usually involves an overnight hospital stay. Recovery is complete in about six weeks and involves some pain, bruising, and tenderness. As with any surgery, infection is a possibility, but measures are taken before, during, and after surgery to minimize the risk.
There is a reported high satisfaction rate among men and their partners with implants. Because the penis does not become engorged with blood, it can stay erect all day with no harm, and lovemaking can be prolonged as long as desired. It is important to be aware that any mechanical device can fail due to wear. The statistics show about a 10%–12% failure rate over about 10 years. If a mechanical failure occurs, the implant can usually be replaced. Be sure to discuss all of these issues with your doctor before having surgery.
Today, men who have erectile problems do not need to accept them as permanent. There are options that address a variety of needs and circumstances. If you’re one of those men, speak to your doctor about what might work well for you, and bring your partner in on the discussion. Couples who work together tend to have the best success with treatment. Depending on the cause of your erectile dysfunction, your doctor may be able to treat you himself or may refer you to a urologist or other specialist. But you can only get the help you need by asking for it, so the sooner you take that first step, the sooner you’ll be saying yes to sexual intercourse.