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Erection Problems: Should I Try Inserted or Injected Medicines?

You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Erection Problems: Should I Try Inserted or Injected Medicines?

Get the facts

Your options

  • Try medicines inserted or injected into the penis.
  • Don't try inserted or injected medicine.

Key points to remember

  • Before considering inserted or injected medicines, you might first consider taking pills for erection problems. Examples include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). But talk to your doctor first.
  • Some people can't take pills for erection problems because of other medical problems. For those people, inserted or injected medicines may be a good choice.
FAQs

What is an erection problem?

A person has erection problems if they cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence.

It's common to have erection problems every now and then. This is normal. These problems can occur at any age. But they are more common as you get older, when you are more likely to have other health problems. Treatment can help at any age.

What causes an erection problem?

Erection problems can be caused by physical problems related to the blood vessels, nerves, or hormones. Or they may be caused by mental health issues.

They can also be linked to other health problems such as low testosterone levels, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Surgery, such as for prostate cancer, may cause erection problems.

Anxiety, stress, or depression may cause erection problems. So can medicines you take for other health problems. Drinking too much alcohol or smoking may cause erection problems.

Why treat an erection problem?

Erection problems are not life-threatening. But they can affect how you feel about yourself.

Very often, this decision is also based on how invasive the treatment is and its chance of success. Inserting or injecting medicine directly into the penis often works well, but it is usually only considered after you have tried taking pills for erection problems.

Some people can't take pills for erection problems because of other medical problems. For those people, inserted or injected medicine may be a good choice.footnote 1

How are inserted or injected medicines used?

  • Inserted medicine. A thin tube contains a small pellet of medicine. You insert the tube into the opening in the end of your penis. When you press a button on the applicator, the pellet is released into the penis. The erection that follows lasts at least 30 minutes.
  • Injected medicine. This involves injecting medicine, using a tiny needle, into the side of the penis. The erection that follows lasts 30 minutes or longer, depending on how much medicine you use.

Why might your doctor recommend inserted or injected medicine?

Your doctor might recommend inserted or injected medicine if you want to treat your erection problem but cannot take pills.

Compare your options

Compare

What is usually involved?









What are the benefits?









What are the risks and side effects?









Use an inserted or injected medicine Use an inserted or injected medicine
  • Inserted medicine: You insert a thin tube containing a pellet of medicine into the opening in the end of your penis. You press a button on the applicator, which releases the pellet into your penis.
  • Injected medicine: You inject this medicine into the side of your penis with a tiny needle.
  • If you cannot see well enough to do either treatment, your partner can be taught how to do it, if you have one.
  • You will probably have erections that last 30 minutes or longer.
  • Inserted medicine:
    • May cause pain in the penis.
    • May cause mild injury to the urethra.
    • May cause pain and irritation for your partner when you ejaculate.
    • Should not be used for oral sex.
    • Should not be used with a pregnant partner without a barrier, such as a condom.
  • Injected medicine:
    • May cause bruising or scar tissue.
    • May cause pain in the penis.
Don't use an inserted or injected medicine Don't use an inserted or injected medicine
  • You seek other ways to express intimacy.
  • You avoid the side effects of using inserted or injected medicines.
  • You avoid the expense of this treatment if your insurance doesn't cover it.
  • You cannot get an erection.

Personal stories about using injections for an erection problem

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

I was having trouble getting an erection, so the first thing I did was try Viagra, but that didn't work. But I discovered that I could have a sexual relationship without intercourse, and that made me choose not to use inserted or injected medicines.

Fred, 72

When pills didn't work, I was disappointed and asked my doctor what else could be done. My doctor suggested I try inserting a medicine into my penis. It's worked well for me.

Trevor, age 45

I was having trouble getting erections, and I can't take pills like Viagra because of the other medicines I take. My partner and I still wanted to see if there was anything we could do. The doctor talked to us about injections. We looked at their advantages and disadvantages and decided to go ahead and give the injections a try.

B.J., age 62

What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to try inserted or injected medicines

Reasons not to try inserted or injected medicines

I'm willing to try anything in order to have erections again.

There is no way I could insert or inject anything into my penis.

More important
Equally important
More important

I'm not at all worried about the cost of this treatment.

I cannot afford this treatment and don't have insurance that will cover it.

More important
Equally important
More important

My relationship with a partner depends on our being able to have sexual intercourse.

I am sure I can find ways to be intimate without sexual intercourse.

More important
Equally important
More important

Your other important reasons:

Your other important reasons:

More important
Equally important
More important

Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Inserted or injected medicine

NOT using inserted or injected medicine

Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1, If I'm just too uncomfortable with the idea of an inserted or injected medicine, that's a perfectly good reason not to use it.
2, I should consider taking pills like Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra before I think about inserting or injecting medicine into my penis.

Decide what's next

1,Do you understand the options available to you?
2,Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?
3,Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure

Your Summary

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.

Your decision  

Next steps

Which way you're leaning

How sure you are

Your comments

Your knowledge of the facts  

Key concepts that you understood

Key concepts that may need review

Getting ready to act  

Patient choices

Credits and References

Credits
Author Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Primary Medical Reviewer JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine

References
Citations
  1. Burnett AL, et al. (2018). Erectile dysfunction: AUA guideline. Journal of Urology, 200(3): 633–641. DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2018.05.004. Accessed March 29, 2021.
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Erection Problems: Should I Try Inserted or Injected Medicines?

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.
  1. Get the facts
  2. Compare your options
  3. What matters most to you?
  4. Where are you leaning now?
  5. What else do you need to make your decision?

1. Get the Facts

Your options

  • Try medicines inserted or injected into the penis.
  • Don't try inserted or injected medicine.

Key points to remember

  • Before considering inserted or injected medicines, you might first consider taking pills for erection problems. Examples include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). But talk to your doctor first.
  • Some people can't take pills for erection problems because of other medical problems. For those people, inserted or injected medicines may be a good choice.
FAQs

What is an erection problem?

A person has erection problems if they cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence.

It's common to have erection problems every now and then. This is normal. These problems can occur at any age. But they are more common as you get older, when you are more likely to have other health problems. Treatment can help at any age.

What causes an erection problem?

Erection problems can be caused by physical problems related to the blood vessels, nerves, or hormones. Or they may be caused by mental health issues.

They can also be linked to other health problems such as low testosterone levels, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Surgery, such as for prostate cancer, may cause erection problems.

Anxiety, stress, or depression may cause erection problems. So can medicines you take for other health problems. Drinking too much alcohol or smoking may cause erection problems.

Why treat an erection problem?

Erection problems are not life-threatening. But they can affect how you feel about yourself.

Very often, this decision is also based on how invasive the treatment is and its chance of success. Inserting or injecting medicine directly into the penis often works well, but it is usually only considered after you have tried taking pills for erection problems.

Some people can't take pills for erection problems because of other medical problems. For those people, inserted or injected medicine may be a good choice.1

How are inserted or injected medicines used?

  • Inserted medicine. A thin tube contains a small pellet of medicine. You insert the tube into the opening in the end of your penis. When you press a button on the applicator, the pellet is released into the penis. The erection that follows lasts at least 30 minutes.
  • Injected medicine. This involves injecting medicine, using a tiny needle , into the side of the penis. The erection that follows lasts 30 minutes or longer, depending on how much medicine you use.

Why might your doctor recommend inserted or injected medicine?

Your doctor might recommend inserted or injected medicine if you want to treat your erection problem but cannot take pills.

2. Compare your options

 Use an inserted or injected medicineDon't use an inserted or injected medicine
What is usually involved?
  • Inserted medicine: You insert a thin tube containing a pellet of medicine into the opening in the end of your penis. You press a button on the applicator, which releases the pellet into your penis.
  • Injected medicine: You inject this medicine into the side of your penis with a tiny needle.
  • If you cannot see well enough to do either treatment, your partner can be taught how to do it, if you have one.
  • You seek other ways to express intimacy.
What are the benefits?
  • You will probably have erections that last 30 minutes or longer.
  • You avoid the side effects of using inserted or injected medicines.
  • You avoid the expense of this treatment if your insurance doesn't cover it.
What are the risks and side effects?
  • Inserted medicine:
    • May cause pain in the penis.
    • May cause mild injury to the urethra.
    • May cause pain and irritation for your partner when you ejaculate.
    • Should not be used for oral sex.
    • Should not be used with a pregnant partner without a barrier, such as a condom.
  • Injected medicine:
    • May cause bruising or scar tissue.
    • May cause pain in the penis.
  • You cannot get an erection.

Personal stories

Personal stories about using injections for an erection problem

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

"I was having trouble getting an erection, so the first thing I did was try Viagra, but that didn't work. But I discovered that I could have a sexual relationship without intercourse, and that made me choose not to use inserted or injected medicines."

— Fred, 72

"When pills didn't work, I was disappointed and asked my doctor what else could be done. My doctor suggested I try inserting a medicine into my penis. It's worked well for me."

— Trevor, age 45

"I was having trouble getting erections, and I can't take pills like Viagra because of the other medicines I take. My partner and I still wanted to see if there was anything we could do. The doctor talked to us about injections. We looked at their advantages and disadvantages and decided to go ahead and give the injections a try."

— B.J., age 62

3. What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to try inserted or injected medicines

Reasons not to try inserted or injected medicines

I'm willing to try anything in order to have erections again.

There is no way I could insert or inject anything into my penis.

       
More important
Equally important
More important

I'm not at all worried about the cost of this treatment.

I cannot afford this treatment and don't have insurance that will cover it.

       
More important
Equally important
More important

My relationship with a partner depends on our being able to have sexual intercourse.

I am sure I can find ways to be intimate without sexual intercourse.

       
More important
Equally important
More important

Your other important reasons:

Your other important reasons:

  
       
More important
Equally important
More important

4. Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Inserted or injected medicine

NOT using inserted or injected medicine

       
Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

5. What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1. If I'm just too uncomfortable with the idea of an inserted or injected medicine, that's a perfectly good reason not to use it.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
That's right! The decision is up to you.

2. I should consider taking pills like Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra before I think about inserting or injecting medicine into my penis.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
That's right. Inserting or injecting medicine into the penis usually works well, but it is usually only considered after you have tried taking pills for erection problems.

Decide what's next

1. Do you understand the options available to you?

2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

     
Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure

2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.

  • I'm ready to take action.
  • I want to discuss the options with others.
  • I want to learn more about my options.
 
Credits
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Primary Medical Reviewer JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine

References
Citations
  1. Burnett AL, et al. (2018). Erectile dysfunction: AUA guideline. Journal of Urology, 200(3): 633–641. DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2018.05.004. Accessed March 29, 2021.

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document some Information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.
 
 

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