Health & Wellness

How Long Will I Have to Take My ED Medication?

Depending on your health history, your lifestyle habits may determine how long you need an ED prescription.
How Long Will I Have to Take My ED Medication?

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Tracy Hernandez

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Tracy Hernandez,   

May 26, 2020 • 4 min read

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Millions of men in the U.S. have experienced some type of erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Although ED cannot be cured, medications like sildenafil (generic Viagra, Revatio) or tadalafil (generic Cialis) can help some men manage or reverse the condition. Read on for details on how to manage ED with lifestyle changes—and the factors your doctor uses to determine how long you need to stay on one.

What’s Causing Your ED?

The most common culprits that lead to ED include: 

  • Medication side effects

  • Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease

  • Anxiety, depression, and stress

  • Using alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs

  • Physical injuries to the spinal cord, penis, bladder, or other areas

  • Low testosterone levels

  • Cancer and medical treatments

Erectile dysfunction caused by medication side effects, alcohol, recreational drug use, anxiety, depression, or stress may be reversible. And while ED caused by physical injury, chronic health conditions (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), cancer treatments, or low testosterone tends to be lifelong, a doctor can help you manage it in a way that minimizes its impact on your life.

What Can You Do to Reverse ED?

Lifestyle changes—even small ones—can reverse erectile dysfunction for some men. For starters, get regular exercise (a study at Harvard found walking 30 minutes a day lowered a man’s risk of erectile dysfunction by 41%) and limit red meat in your diet in favor of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. 

Losing weight can also help, since obesity raises your risk of developing chronic health conditions that can impact sexual performance. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction, so lowering these two things can reverse or mitigate their impact on ED. It may also surprise you to learn that seeing a dentist makes a difference — a 2017 study found a link between chronic periodontal disease and ED. Keeping your mouth healthy reduces inflammation that damages blood vessels used to get an erection. Finally, limiting alcohol consumption and recreational drug use can improve your ability to achieve erection.

If you have anxiety, depression, or stress, reducing stress levels or working with a behavioral therapist can help reverse ED too.

What If You Can’t Reverse It?

Some men, such as those who experience ED as a result of cancer treatment, physical injuries, or physical changes due to chronic health conditions, may not be able to reverse it with lifestyle changes. The next course of action would be to use an ED medication like sildenafil (generic Viagra, Revatio) or tadalafil (generic Cialis). These pills increase blood flow during sexual stimulation, helping you get and maintain an erection. Your doctor may prescribe daily tadalafil to avoid the need to wait 30 to 60 minutes before sex.

While you can take these medications daily (if directed by your physician), there is some evidence that they become less effective over time. These medications also come with the risk of dangerous drug interactions, which makes it difficult to take the pills if you are on other medications. Alert your doctor about new prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or supplements, or changes in dosage or frequency, as all these can affect ED. 

If a prescription doesn’t work for you, or your health conditions prevent you from taking certain ED medications, your doctor may recommend seeing a urologist to discuss alternate options such as a penis pump, implant, or surgery. 

Before trying any treatment for erectile dysfunction, talk to your physician about what you are experiencing to learn more about whether it’s a short-term issue that could possibly be reversed, or a long-term issue that will need to be managed over time.

If you think you might benefit from an ED medication like sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), tadalafil (Cialis), or want to change your current Rx, Blink offers online doctor consults for $5. You can get your ED drug prescribed or refilled from the privacy and comfort of home.

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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 1407 Broadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018, 1 (844) 265-6444, www.blinkhealth.com.

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