A range of ED cures and options out on the market today include both pharmaceutical and natural treatments. From homeopathic treatments to supplements to exercise and prescribed medicine, a sufferer of ED has numerous ways to overcome the problem of sexual dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a common ailment that affects up to 30 million men just in the United States alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 50% of men over 75 will experience it. Although it is more common in older men, erectile dysfunction can happen to males of all ages. There is a range of treatments and options to help improve the condition.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence or ED, is generally defined as the inability of a man to attain and maintain an erection that is firm enough to achieve sexual penetration. In many cases, ED has a physical cause although anxiety has been linked to having a weak erection. Often a combination of both psychological and physical problems can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction. Any of the following alone in or combination may exacerbate or even cause ED.
|Physical Causes of ED||Psychological Causes of ED|
Some Prescription Medications
Table 1. Classification and Causes of Erectile Dysfunctions
For more classifications of erectile dysfunction, see the table above.
In short, any medical condition that affects the blood vessels or nerves supplying the penis can lead to erectile dysfunction. An erection occurs when the muscles in the penis and arterial walls supplying it relaxes allowing blood to flow into the erection chambers. This creates increased tissue pressure and leads to an erection.
Valves in the penis help the man stay fully erect by preventing the blood from flowing back out through the veins until ejaculation occurs. This process is triggered in the brain when the man is sexually stimulated but psychological conditions such as anxiety can suppress these triggers. In a patient with ED, the blood flow to the penis is inhibited.
Natural Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
Can ED be reversed? There is plenty of literature on how to treat ED, although some of the methods are more effective than others. A range of ED cures and options out on the market today include both pharmaceutical and natural treatments. From homeopathic treatments to supplements to exercise and prescribed medicine, a sufferer of ED has numerous ways to overcome the problem of sexual dysfunction.
Some men prefer a natural herbal remedy over prescription medications. There can be various reasons for this including being embarrassed to talk to their doctor or health issues that preclude them from taking pharmaceuticals. There’s evidence that herbs and other products can alleviate ED naturally. There are other non-drug options as well as penile vacuum pumps, penile implants, and blood vessel surgery but since implants and surgery can be invasive, many men turn towards more natural solutions.
While there is a lack of strong evidence linking vitamin supplement to help prevent or fix erectile dysfunction, there is some connection between sexual health and vitamins, specifically Vitamin D. A study at John Hopkins University found that low levels of Vitamin D, better known as the sunshine vitamin, could lead to impotence. Getting checked for low levels of vitamin D is a simple blood test and important if you think you may have a serious deficiency. But even just supplementing with Vitamin D daily may help.
Vitamin C is another vitamin that is often called out in connection with ED. This vitamin helps to improve blood flow and since erectile dysfunction occurs from problems with blood flow to the penis, supplementing with Vitamin C may help sexual health.
Vitamin supplementation alone may not work to stop erectile dysfunction but getting a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential for overall health. So in short, supplementing with vitamins certainly couldn’t hurt.
Panax Ginseng and Rhodiola Rosea
Panax Ginseng, or Korean Red Ginseng as it’s commonly known, has been used as a natural aphrodisiac for five thousand years. It is estimated that up to six million people in America alone have used Panax Ginseng to help erectile dysfunction. A study done in 2009 showed that 1000 mg of Panax Ginseng a day helped to improve both ED and sexual satisfaction overall.
This type of ginseng contains what are called ginsenosides. In addition to being immune stimulatory and having antioxidant effects, ginsenosides are known to relax the penile smooth muscle tissue and affect chemical pathways involving testosterone, thus helping men to obtain harder and longer erections.
Rhodiola Rosea is a botanical extract that has also been used to treat ED. One of the most popular botanicals from Siberia, Rhodiola Rosea has natural anti-stress properties and is considered an adaptogen, which is a substance that can help our bodies adapt to stress and balance bodily processes. It is also known to promote endurance, energy, and stamina.
A human clinical study done with men who experienced erectile dysfunction found that Rhodiola Rosea was very effective in improving healthy sexual function. The active compounds in the botanical extract called rosavins are largely thought to be responsible for this action.
Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA is a natural steroid hormone produced in our bodies by our adrenal glands and converted into either estrogen or testosterone. Studies show that men with ED tend to have lower levels of DHEA in their bodies but a dietary supplement made from wild yam and soy is now available to counteract this.
Using DHEA supplements to cure ED has been getting a lot of attention lately. There is, in fact, some clinical evidence suggesting that supplementing with DHEA can help erectile dysfunction. However, this treatment is only effective when erectile dysfunction is caused by low testosterone.
One study did show that men who were tested for low DHEA and took 50mg of the supplement daily had significant improvement in sexual performance. Generally, 50 to 200mg is taken by mouth daily although some health care providers suggested the use of DHEA cream might be more effective.
Goat weed, also known as horny goat weed, is another herb that is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction. This herbal supplement contains an ingredient called icariin which is reported to have benefits for men who suffer from ED. Icariin works by inhibiting PDE5 which blocks the dilation of the arteries in the penis. When this block is removed, blood can flow into the arteries and three cylinders in the penis allowing men to have normal erections.
Although goat weed has been used for a long time in Eastern medicine, actual clinical trials on humans with this herb have been very limited. Most of the evidence has been anecdotal although some studies have been done on rats and on human PDE5 in test tubes with positive results. A wealth of reviews online suggests that this supplement may in fact work but men with heart disease or hormone sensitive cancer should talk to their doctors before taking this herb.
L-Arginine is an amino acid and a naturally occurring substance in the human body that helps to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a gas that is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels to help men achieve a successful erection. Healthy blood flow to the penis is essential for normal erectile function. In 1999, researchers found that 31% of the men they studied who had erectile dysfunction saw significant improvements after taking 5 grams per day.
Another study showed that L-Arginine in combination with a plant product called Pycnogenol restored healthy sexual function to 80% of men studied within one month and 92% after three months. So on its own, L-Arginine may not be the best or most effective treatment but in combination with other substances, it can be effective in restoring sexual potency.
There are several homeopathic remedies that are used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. While clinical trials for this treatment seem to be lacking, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that homeopathic remedies can have a positive effect on ED.
Here are the top three:
- Agnus castus is known to be particularly helpful if impotence develops later in life after sexual activity for many years. Homeopathic doctors recommend this remedy if a cold sensation is felt in the genitals. It is also used to treat general anxiety over health issues. This particular remedy is considered the top remedy to treat ED among homeopaths.
- Caladium is another homeopathic medicine that is useful to treat ED when males are having trouble obtaining erections even with sexual stimulation. This remedy is particularly prescribed for men whose ED may be linked to depression.
- Selenium is a homeopathic treatment prescribed when an erection is not hard enough, takes too long to achieve, and/or does not stay erect long enough for sexual penetration. This remedy is also used for premature ejaculation.
Watermelon Juice may seem like a strange remedy for ED, but the juice of this fruit has actually been called “Nature’s Viagra” due to an amino acid in watermelon called citrulline. This amino acid is found in high concentrations within the fruit and has been found to improve blood flow, which as we know is critical for achieving a healthy erection.
Researchers in Italy at the University of Foggia ran a study with 24 men with an average age of 57 who had some level of erectile dysfunction. The study showed that men who were supplemented with L-citrulline had a significant improvement. On a side note, watermelon is also chock full of Vitamin C, which improves blood flow, making it a tasty way to help sexual health and erectile dysfunction.
Acupuncture is a holistic Chinese medicine practice that involves stimulating points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. There have been mixed reports on whether acupuncture can effectively treat erectile dysfunction, but there have been a few studies done that have shown a positive correlation with acupuncture and ED.
The theory is that acupuncture works to treat sterility and erectile dysfunction by strengthening the blood and nourishing the kidneys, the organ which they believe is the driving component behind sexual virility. Also, as stress can be a major contributor to ED, acupuncture can help to lower stress levels and improve sleep, leading to better sexual health. Many acupuncturists will recommend combining acupuncture treatment with other Chinese herbal and homeopathic remedies for the best effect.
Since erectile dysfunction is often caused by poor blood flow to the penis, regular physical exercises at home or in the gym can help to improve ED. Exercise in general can help to improve blood flow and overall health but there are some specific exercises for ED that men can do to directly address impotence and problems with sexual dysfunction.
A U.K. study found that pelvic exercises help 40% of the men studied to regain normal erectile function. Another 33.5% found significant improvement in their ED. Pelvic exercises work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can lead to better sexual health. These exercises are also known as Kegel exercises and are given to women to regain muscle tone after childbirth.
In particular, pelvic exercises help the bulbocavernosus muscle which in turn helps the penis to fill with blood during an erection and pump during ejaculation. Isolating your pelvic floor muscles is simple. While urinating, stop your stream, then release it, then stop it again. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles. Clenching and unclenching these muscles will strength them.
Apart from specific exercises, general aerobic exercise can help to improve ED by improving blood flow overall.
Solutions for ED: Medications
Prescription drugs have proven to be a fast and reliable treatment for men with erectile dysfunction and perhaps the most effective way to fight ED with about an 80% effectiveness rate. The downside to ED medication is that most of the time you need a prescription, although some erectile dysfunction medications can be obtained from online pharmacies without a prescription.
The most commonly known ED drug is Viagra. The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil which works to inhibit PDE5 and enable the penis to fill with blood, thus achieving a normal erection. Other medications that have sildenafil as their main ingredient include Revatio and Kamagra.
Other brands contain different active ingredients used to treat ED. For example, Cialis contains tadalafil and Levitra contains vardenafil. These ingredients, like sildenafil, are all PDE5 inhibitors and act in pretty much the same way. The differences between these drugs are largely the time they stay in your system. Viagra and Levitra stay for about four to six hours while Cialis can remain in your bloodstream for up to 18 hours. This is important to know particularly if you are taking other medications.
There can be some side effects when taking pharmaceuticals for ED. These include but are not limited to:
- nasal congestion;
- indigestion, upset stomach, or diarrhea;
- joint and back pain;
- skin flushing;
- problems with vision;
- urinary tract infection.
Risks and Side Effects of “Natural” ED Remedies
In general, the risks and side effects of natural treatments are low. While there may be some side effects, particularly in people who have blood pressure issues, natural treatments have a much lower risk of side effects than pharmaceuticals. Side effects usually occur when a person takes the “more is better” approach and supplements with too much of the herb. Also, drug-herb interactions can occur when a patient is taking prescribed medication for another health issue.
Anything Else I Should Worry About?
It’s very important to do research before taking any herbal supplement if you are taking prescribed medications as these supplements may interfere with some medications. It’s always best to check with a doctor to make sure the supplement you’re taking is right for you.
Why You Need to See Your Doctor
Make sure to see a doctor if you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction since it may be an indication of more serious health problems including heart disease. If ED is caused by other physical or psychological conditions, your doctor may have a solution that benefits your entire health and not just sexual dysfunction. Ruling out health issues is important especially before taking natural supplements as overall health can be a contributing factor in erectile dysfunction.
Which supplement or drug to take for erectile dysfunction is really a matter of choice for each individual. While pharmaceuticals tend to have the highest success rate, there are many natural supplements out there that have proven to be very helpful when it comes to treating ED. Also, our online pharmacy offers free Viagra samples delivered by mail in just 7 days.