Vacuum pump devices for erection problems
Vacuum pump devices (or vacuum constriction devices) are a non-drug alternative to help a man achieve an erection, if he experiences erection problems following
treatment for prostate cancer.
Generally, a man uses a special jelly that is applied around the base of the penis to create a “seal” (trimming the pubic hair also may help make it easier to create this seal). Then a clear plastic cylinder goes around the penis (and it is held firmly in place). The device has a pump mechanism at one end that is used to pump out air to create a vacuum. The pump may be used by hand, or may be battery operated, depending upon the device. While either type requires some practice, the manual type may be a bit trickier because the man needs to use one hand to pump and another hand to hold the cylinder in the right position.
It also may take some time to master the right pumping action (not too slow or too fast). Some men may need to repeatedly pump, release and wait, and then pump again until they achieve an erection.
The pumping action causes blood to be drawn into the penis. Once the erection is achieved (which may take 10 to 20 minutes), a band called a constriction ring is placed around the base of the penis to help maintain the erection. It may take some experimentation to find the right-sized band with the right amount of tension. Once the band is in place, the cylinder can be removed for lovemaking. Generally, the band should remain in place for no more than 30 minutes to prevent injury.
Ask your loved one’s doctor for a product recommendation
If you type in “vacuum devices for erection problems” in an Internet search engine, many different mail-order products will come up. But you want to make sure that these products have been tested, are approved for use by the FDA, and have a pop-off valve. The reason for this is that a device that applies too much pressure can actually cause injury to the penis. Also check with your health insurance to see which products are covered.
Your loved one should also tell his doctor if he is taking blood thinners (even baby aspirin), has diminished feeling in his penis, a history of priapism (erections that won’t go down), or a history of bleeding problems, as this may cause bruising or swelling. A vacuum pump device may also not be appropriate for men who have a very curved penis.
Always discuss everything you read on this web site with a qualified medical professional.
Search Our Site
Back to sex after prostate cancer
Erectile dysfunction drugs
Return from vacuum pump devices to hisprostatecancer.com homepage
Cornell University. Vacuum devices for erectile dysfunction. http://www.cornellurology.com/sexualmedicine/ed/vacuum.shtml. Accessed December 1, 2008.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Erectile Dysfunction. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/impotence. Accessed December 1, 2008.