The doctor is in

What Are Penis Pumps?

Jonathan W. Agins, MD
Prosthetic Urologist and Erectile Dysfunction Expert

An effective, affordable and noninvasive penis pump can be an excellent treatment option for erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is a physical disease that may be caused by low testosterone levels, abnormal nerve function, or problems with blood flow. The good news is there are several options available that may help you get or keep an erection.

One great option is a penis pump, in which a plastic tube is placed over the penis. A hand or battery-operated pump is connected to the tube, creating a vacuum. Blood is then forced into the penis creating an erection, while a tourniquet-like ring is used at the base of the penis to keep it erect. A penis pump may be a good option if other treatments have failed, caused side-effects, or were deemed too costly.

An ED Specialist can help you determine the best penile pump for you.

Penis pumps can be a good erectile dysfunction treatment for several reasons. Firstly, penis pumps are highly effective. With practice and correct use, the majority of men can get an erection sufficient for sex. Secondly, the overall cost is lower than many other treatment options. Even if it is not covered by your insurance plan, a vacuum erection device can be purchased for a reasonable price. ED pumps are also noninvasive and may eliminate the need for medication or penile injections. Conversely, penis pumps can be used with other treatments, like medications. For some men, a combination of erectile dysfunction treatments works best. Using a penis pump might also help you regain erectile function after certain procedures. For example, using an ED pump might help restore your ability to get a natural erection after prostate surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer. And lastly, penis pumps can help other conditions, like Peyronie’s disease, a disorder that causes a bent penis. An ED Specialist can help you determine the best penile pump for you.

Although penis pumps for ED are safe for most men, there are some potential risks. For example, there is an increased risk of bleeding if you take blood-thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin™), clopidogrel (Plavix™), apixaban (Eliquis™), and some over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil™, Motrin™ IB, others), or naproxen. Additionally, a penis pump might not be safe if you have any blood disorder that can make you susceptible to blood clots or bleeding.

THERE ARE ALSO SOME SIDE EFFECTS, WHICH INCLUDE:

  • Numbness, coldness or bluish-colored skin: This can occur when the constriction band is in place.
  • Pain or bruising, including pinpoint-sized red dots (petechiae): This is caused by bleeding under the surface of the skin of the penis.
  • Feeling of trapped semen: You may feel like your semen is trapped when you ejaculate, or ejaculation might be painful. Some pump manufacturers make constriction rings with a small cutout that might help with this.

A penis pump will not cure your erectile dysfunction, but it may sufficiently give you an erection, especially in conjunction with other treatment options.

AND LASTLY, THERE ARE A FEW COMMON COMPLAINTS TO CONSIDER, WHICH INCLUDE:

  • Unnatural-feeling erections.
  • Awkwardness: Use of a penis pump requires patience and understanding from both you and your partner. It might take some time to become comfortable with the device.
  • Manual coordination is required: Penis pumps require use of the hands and fingers to operate, which can be a problem for some men or their partners.
  • Shaving your pubic hair: You may need to shave your pubic hair at the base of your penis so that the pump can get a good seal.
  • Lack of spontaneity: There is some assembly required which may interfere with the mood.
  • Lack of durability: You must remove the constriction ring after 30 minutes. Cutting off blood flow for longer than this may injure the penis.

A penis pump will not cure your erectile dysfunction, but it may sufficiently give you an erection, especially in conjunction with other treatment options. One important way to decide if a penis pump is a good option for you and your partner is to consider how often you engage in sexual activity and determine the importance of spontaneity. Your erectile dysfunction specialist can help you decide if this is the best option for you.

Jonathan W. Agins, MD
Prosthetic Urologist and Erectile Dysfunction Expert

ED Specialists of Arizona - Goodyear
13555 W. McDowell Road, Suite 304
Goodyear, AZ 85395
(623) 935-5522
www.jonathanwaginsmd.com