Millions of men in the U.S. suffer from erectile dysfunction (E.D.). The good news is that erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition; however, the type of treatment your urologist suggests depends on your overall health and the underlying cause of the problem. There are four FDA approved options available to treat E.D. Your doctor can help you choose the best method for you.
Your primary doctor may suggest counseling as an initial treatment option for men who experience E.D. because of anxiety or stress. Talking to a licensed therapist about everyday stresses can help pinpoint which area of your life is triggering the erectile dysfunction. If you are in a relationship, the therapist may suggest including your partner in the sessions to discuss ways to boost intimacy. The cost of paying for psychotherapy sessions out-of-pocket varies between $500 and $2500, depending on the response to treatment.
Medicines to treat E.D. are called phosphodiesterase (PDE) type 5 inhibitors and are generally taken orally. These are the costs of the most common FDA approved erectile disfunction medications:
- Levitra ($317 per prescription)
- Staxyn ($85 perp prescription)
- Viagra ($331 per prescription)
- Cialis ($220 per prescription)
- Stendra ($170 per prescription)
- Edex ($139 per prescription)
- Caverject ($445 per prescription)
- Caverject Impulse ($119 per prescription)
- Muse ($577 per prescription)
Injections and Suppositories
If the oral medications are unsafe for you to take, or they do not improve your erection during intercourse, your doctor may suggest Alprostadil. Alprostadil shots average $35 per injection. Alprostadil is administered in two ways to trigger an erection in minutes:
- Intracavernous drug injection: self-injecting the shot into the penis
- Intraurethral suppositories: inserting Alprostadil pellets into the tip of the penis
A vacuum erection device (VED) comes in three parts and is available without prescription. Also known as a vacuum constriction device (VCD) or pump, this method involves using a manual or battery-operated pump to send more blood to the penis. If prescribed by an urologist, the device costs between $300 and $600. Non-prescription pumps cost as little as $30.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if you do not respond to non-surgical treatments. Surgery can cost up to $25,000 depending on the procedure and doctor’s fees. There are two types of E.D. surgery:
- The surgeon will insert a malleable or inflatable implant in the penis: Malleable implants are adjustable rods, and inflatable implants are tubes that are connected to a pump inside the scrotum.
- Vascular reconstruction surgery will remove whatever is blocking the blood vessels surrounding the penis, as well as repair veins to reduce blood leakage from the penis and surrounding erectile tissues.
What Will Insurance Cover?
Some health insurance carriers will cover the cost of E.D. medications, but you have to check with your carrier. The co-pay averages $40 for six to eight pills. If the doctor concludes that the underlying cause of your E.D. is psychological or stress related, he or she will refer you to a licensed “sex-therapy” doctor. Again, depending on your health insurance policy, your carrier may cover the therapy sessions. Most insurers will cover the cost of Alprostadil shots; however, Medicare does not provide coverage. Also, most insurers and Medicare will cover part of the cost for a prescribed vacuum erection device or penile implant surgery, so your out-of-pocket costs will be minimal.
Most Affordable Methods for Long Term Issues
If your E.D. is caused by an underlying health issue such as diabetes, you can adopt lifestyle changes to help solve the issue; exercising and changing your eating habits actually help you save money. For more severe issues, surgery might be the most cost-effective strategy if you have insurance coverage. If surgery costs exceed your budget, purchasing a non-prescription pump from an online retailer should range between $30 and $100 plus shipping.