The first treatments that come to mind when you talk about erectile dysfunction (ED) are drugs like Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil). But several non-drug options can also help improve erections, on their own or with other erectile dysfunction treatments.

This article explores one such option, called an erectile dysfunction ring, which may be useful in people with mild erectile dysfunction or in those in whom erectile dysfunction medications are ineffective or cannot be used. The article also lists the possible risks of ED rings and who should not be using them.

Marco Verch / Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License


What is an erectile dysfunction ring?

An erectile dysfunction ring is an elastic or strong band that fits around the base of the penis to help maintain an erection. Also known as a penis ring, tension ring, or ‘penis ring’, it helps treat erectile dysfunction by preventing backflow of blood from the penis when it is erect. By doing this, the quality and duration of an erection can be improved.

Some people with mild erectile dysfunction may benefit from using an erectile dysfunction ring on its own or with a device called a vacuum pump (“penis pump”) that draws blood into the penis using a device. aspiration.

Others may use ED rings as part of a holistic treatment plan involving ED drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, lifestyle changes (eg, exercise and weight loss), counseling, medication injectables like Caverject (alprostadil) and testosterone replacement therapy.

What he treats

Erectile dysfunction, formerly known as impotence, is the inability to get or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse. It is a disease that usually affects people over the age of 40. The risk increases with age, with about 40 percent affected by age 40 and nearly 70 percent by age 70.

There are many possible causes of erectile dysfunction, many of which are related to aging and some not. It is not uncommon for several different conditions to contribute to ED.

The causes and risk factors for erectile dysfunction include:

When an ED ring can help

ED rings can help treat certain aspects of erectile dysfunction, namely those that affect blood flow to the penis (such as high blood pressure or vascular disease) or the trapping of blood once the penis is engorged (such as penile trauma and Peyronie’s disease). They may not be as helpful if the ED is due to a neurological, hormonal, or psychological cause.

How it works

An erection is a complex physiological response involving nerves, hormones, blood vessels, connective tissue, and smooth muscles.

The penis itself is made up of two tube-like structures called the cavernous body, which run the length of the penis and become engorged with blood during an erection.

To prevent backflow of blood, a band of fiber near the base of the penis called the tunica tunica will tighten, capturing the blood that would otherwise escape. Once the sexual arousal has passed, the tunica albuginea will relax and the penis will regain its flaccid state.

In people with ED, blood flow to the corpora cavernosa may be impaired and / or the tunica albuginea may become less efficient. An ED ring can help overcome both of these issues. Even if the blood flow is reduced, any blood that enters the penis will be trapped as the base of the penis begins to swell and compress by the ring.

ED rings work by supporting the tunica albuginea, which tends to thicken and harden with age and become less effective. It can do the same if the tunica tunica becomes loose, as can happen with Peyronie’s disease or penile trauma.

How to use it

Rings for erectile dysfunction are popular options for people with erectile dysfunction because they do not require a prescription or a visit to the doctor. They are relatively inexpensive, reusable, and can be easily found online or in adult sex shops.

Types

There are soft and hard ED rings made with different materials including silicone, rubber, neoprene, leather, plastic or metal. Many are designed as solid rings of varying thickness and circumference. Others are adjustable types and held in place with snaps, velcro, or other fasteners.

There are also variations that not only fit around the base of the penis, but also have a second ring attached, sometimes called a “ball stretcher,” which is worn around the base of the scrotum. This extra attachment is said to improve erections.

There are also vibrating rings that can be stimulating for both male and female partners. Lasso-type rings are long pieces of rope, often made of leather or rubber, that are held in place by a bandana-type ring at the neck.

Choose a ring

The choice of the ED ring is largely personal. That said, solid rings need to be sized correctly so that they are comfortable and not too tight or too loose when you get an erection. This is less of a problem with adjustable bushings or soft silicone bushings that are stretchable.

Before use, some people will “slip” the area around the base of the penis, shaving off excess hair so that it does not get caught when you put the device on. It can also reduce irritation and irritation if you are particularly hairy.

Since the design of ED rings may vary, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the ring is put on and worn correctly. This can reduce the risk of discomfort or injury.

Vacuum pumps

Vacuum pumps can be used beforehand to achieve an erection. After aspirating, grasp the base on the penis with one hand to prevent blood from escaping and quickly apply the ED ring with the other hand. Soft silicone or adjustable ED rings are best suited for this.

Risks

There are risks associated with ED rings and some people who should not be using them.

Since ED rings restrict blood flow, it is important not to wear them for more than 30 minutes. This is especially true if you are taking Viagra or other PDE inhibitors. This can lead to a medical emergency called priapism in which the penis remains erect.

If an ED ring is “stuck” and cannot be removed, blood flow can choke and cause tissue death or nerve damage.

Adjustable rings or soft silicone rings are generally safer because they can be easily removed or cut in an emergency. Metal rings should be avoided.

If an erectile dysfunction ring causes pain, numbness, bruising, pin-and-needle sensations, or the skin turns blue, remove it immediately. These are signs that the ring is too small and needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Some people shouldn’t be using ED rings. These include people with sickle cell anemia and blood clotting disorders, as restriction of blood flow can lead to clots and complete blockage of a blood vessel.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking blood thinners like warfarin or antiplatelet drugs like Plavix (clopidogrel) before using an ED ring or other ED constricting device.

Never fall asleep with an ED ring always on.

Summary

An erectile dysfunction ring is a band that goes around the base of the penis to restrict blood flow outside the penis and maintain an erection. ED rings are available over the counter in many different designs. Care should be taken that the ring is not too tight or there may be damage to the tissues of the penis. People with bleeding disorders or those taking blood thinners should not use an ED ring.

A word from Verywell

Erectile dysfunction rings are simple and often effective ways to improve the quality or duration of erections. For some people, they may be all that is needed to maintain an erection suitable for intercourse.

If not, don’t be embarrassed to speak to your primary care provider, who can refer you to a urologist for further evaluation. Generally speaking, a urologist should be consulted if you are unable to get or maintain an erection 50% of the time, or if erectile dysfunction is causing emotional distress or is affecting your relationship or your ability to conceive.

There are many treatments for erectile dysfunction today that go beyond Viagra or Cialis. By meeting with a specialist, you can identify the cause and find the options that are best for you as an individual.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Is The Ring Against Erectile Dysfunction Safe?

    It can be if used correctly. The International Society of Sexual Medicine recommends silicone or adjustable rings that can be easily removed rather than metal rings that can “get stuck” and cause a medical emergency known as priapism in which an abnormally prolonged erection can cut off circulation. blood in the penis.


  • How to choose a ring for erectile dysfunction?

    Size matters when choosing a ring. If you choose to use a strong ring, you can achieve the correct size by wrapping a length of string around the base of the penis, ideally when it is erect. To get the correct circumference, fold the string in half and measure it. Soft silicone and adjustable rings are generally easier to use and size.