What is a penis pump?
Countless men have experienced erectile dysfunction (ED), either on a temporary or a long-term basis. It may be an embarrassing problem to have, but rest assured that you’re not alone. It’s important to seek help from your doctor for erectile dysfunction because this issue may be a sign of a more serious, underlying medical condition, and it may also lead to complications like depression. There are numerous treatment options available for ED, such as vacuum erection devices (VED).
Vacuum erection devices are also referred to as penis pumps or vacuum constriction devices (VCD). These may sound like an odd, futuristic device, but vacuum erection devices are really quite simple. They are essentially cylinders that manipulate blood flow in order to allow for erections.
What is a vacuum erection device?
The device is a hollow cylinder with a pump. It is attached to the penis. When air is pumped out of the cylinder, a vacuum is created. This draws blood into the penis, causing an erection. A constriction ring or band is used to temporarily keep the blood in the penis to maintain the erection.
Although vacuum erection devices can be bought without a prescription, it’s important to consult your doctor before trying it. VEDs that have not been cleared by the FDA may be unsafe. Safe devices limit the amount of pressure within the cylinder and have a “quick-release” trigger to quickly eliminate the vacuum if need be. Devices that do not have these features may lead to penile injuries. Talk to your doctor about choosing a safe VED and using it properly.
Who is a good candidate?
Vacuum erection devices are generally considered to be a safe treatment option for many patients with erectile dysfunction. However, be sure to tell your doctor about your full medical history, including other medical conditions that you have and drugs you are taking. VEDs should not be used by men with sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and other blood disorders. These medical conditions increase the risk of developing priapism, an erection lasting four hours or longer.
How to use a vacuum erection device (penis pump)
Apply water-soluble jelly to the base of your penis. Slide the cylinder over your penis so that the end is held firmly against your pelvic bone. Operate the pump to remove the air. Some pumps are powered by batteries, others by hand. Once you have achieved an erection, apply the constriction ring to the base of the penis. You may need to experiment a little to find a band that fits you properly. Once the band is in place, release the vacuum and remove the cylinder.
You may engage in sexual intercourse with the band attached, but be very careful not to leave the band in place for longer than 30 minutes. If your doctor provides you with additional instructions or directions that differ from these, always follow your doctor’s advice.
Possible side effects of penis pumps
Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of a vacuum erection device. You will likely notice that an erection achieved with a VED causes the penis to be purplish, cold, or numb. You may also notice bruising. The ejaculation may not be as forceful, and semen may dribble out afterward. Skin breakdown and penile pain are also possible.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.