COVID-19 updates, including vaccine information, for our patients and visitors Learn More


Erectile Dysfunction and Sexual Problems

Male sexual dysfunction includes erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of libido (sexual desire), premature ejaculation and difficulty achieving orgasm. UC San Diego Health urologists provide a variety of treatment options for these common issues.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Sexual Health Quizzes

Erectile dysfunction is common and treatable.

Find out how much you know about what causes erectile dysfunction and how it is treated.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man has difficulty getting or keeping an erection. There are numerous causes of ED, including:

  • Psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress, concerns about sexual performance or relationship problems
  • Conditions that cause impaired blood flow, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Neurological and neuromuscular conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain tumors and spinal cord injuries
  • Medications with sexual side effects, such as drugs for Parkinson's disease, depression, high blood pressure, pain, and heart disease
  • Pelvic surgeries, including surgical treatments for prostate cancer, colorectal cancers, bladder cancer and spinal cord conditions
  • Lifestyle factors, such as excessive drinking, smoking, recreational drug use, and lack of exercise
  • Low testosterone (low T) or hormonal imbalance, which may be caused by: aging, injury to testes, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer, genetic conditions, obesity, liver or kidney disease, or pituitary gland conditions

Medications and Other Treatments for ED

Understand the stages of an erection

Medications like Viagra are vasodilators. They relax the blood vessels in the corpora cavernosa, causing blood to flow into the penis.

UC San Diego Health urologists use a variety of approaches to restore function, including:

  • Oral medications, such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, which work by relaxing the muscles that surround the arteries in the penis, allowing the penis to fill with blood and become erect
  • Injectable medications, which are safe for men with diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure
  • Intraurethral suppository therapy or medications that are delivered through the urethra
  • Vacuum devices, which use negative pressure to draw blood into the penis and cause an erection
  • A penile prosthesis, which is implanted surgically and is controlled by the patient
  • Treatment for low testosterone (low T) levels with carefully monitored testosterone replacement therapy, available in the form of topical gels or patches, intramuscular injections and implantation of subcutaneous pellets

Treatment of ED Caused by Peyronie's Disease

Peyronie's disease is a condition in which abnormal scar tissue forms in the penis, causing an abnormal curvature. As a result, patients may experience painful erections and erectile dysfunction. UC San Diego Health urologists treat Peyronie's disease with oral and injectable medications to break up the scar tissue and promote proper tissue healing. Surgical options are also available, and UC San Diego Health is the only medical system in the region offering emerging therapies for Peyronie's disease.

Appointments & Referrals

Clinic Location

La Jolla

Meet our Specialists

Related Services

Patient Education