ED is commonly called “impotence.” It’s a condition in which a man can’t achieve or maintain an erection during sexual performance. Symptoms may also include reduced sexual desire or libido.
These kinds of issues can happen at any time and to any man. Causes mainly include:
- relationship issues
- performance anxiety
- alcohol consumption
Your doctor is likely to diagnose you with ED if the condition lasts for more than a few weeks or months.
Standard treatments include pharmaceutical medications, vacuum pumps, implants, and surgery, but many men prefer natural options. Research has found that some natural options can improve your ED symptoms.
Common Treatments for ED: Medications
Standard treatments for ED include lifestyle changes, such as:
- losing weight
- stopping smoking
- curbing alcohol intake
Medications like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra increase blood flow to the penis. But they can also cause side effects, including:
- nasal congestion
- upset stomach
- vision changes
- facial flushing
Men who have experienced a stroke or have uncontrolled diabetes or low blood pressure should not take ED medications.
Testosterone replacement and erection-inducing injections are also available. Side effects may include:
- breast enlargement
- increased urination
- aching in the penis
- gum or mouth irritation
Common Treatments for ED: Non-Drug Options
Non-drug treatments for Erectile Dysfunction include penile vacuum pumps, penile implants, and blood vessel surgery. A pump is used right before intercourse to pull blood into the penis. However, this method can cause bruising. Implants must be surgically inserted into the penis. They can then be inflated when necessary. Risks include those typically associated with surgery, such as infections.
Blood vessel surgery is recommended only when leaking vessels cause Erectile Dysfunction. Even though all these methods may help some men, natural alternatives can be just as effective, but less invasive.
Natural Solution 1 and 2: Panax Ginseng and Rhodiola Rosea
Called the “herbal Viagra,” Panax ginseng (“red ginseng”) has solid research behind it. Researchers reviewed seven studies of red ginseng and Erectile Dysfunction in 2008. Dosages ranged from 600 to 1,000 mg three times daily. They concluded there was “suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”
One small study also indicated Rhodiola rosea may be helpful. Twenty-six out of 35 men were given 150 to 200 mg a day for three months. They experienced substantially improved sexual function.
Natural Solution 3: DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It can be converted to both estrogen and testosterone in the body. Scientists make the dietary supplement from wild yam and soy.
The influential Massachusetts male aging study showed that men with ED were more likely to have low levels of DHEA. Forty men with Erectile Dysfunction participated in another study published in 1999, in which half received 50 mg DHEA and half received a placebo once a day for six months. Those receiving the DHEA were more likely to achieve and maintain an erection.
Natural Solution 4: L-Arginine
L-arginine is an amino acid naturally present in the body. It helps make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels to facilitate a successful erection. Researchers studied the effects of L-arginine on Erectile Dysfunction in 1999. Thirty-one percent of men with Erectile Dysfunction taking 5 grams of L-arginine a day experienced significant improvements in sexual function.
A second study showed that L-arginine combined with pycnogenol, a plant product from tree bark, restored sexual ability to 80 percent of participants after two months. Ninety-two percent had restored sexual ability after three months.
Natural Solution 5: Acupuncture
Though studies are mixed, many show positive results when acupuncture is used to treat ED. A 1999 study, for example, found that acupuncture improved the quality of erections and restored sexual activity in 39 percent of participants.
A later study published in 2003 reported that 21 percent of Erectile Dysfunction patients who received acupuncture had improved erections. Other studies have shown conflicting results, but this treatment has potential and may work for you.
Other Potential Natural Treatments
Other alternative therapies thought to help ED may include zinc supplements (especially for men who are low in zinc), the herb ashwagandha (also called “Indian ginseng”), and gingko, but more studies are needed to know with certainty.
In the meantime, talk with your doctor about your options, and don’t give up. Erectile Dysfunction is a common condition that’s very treatable. With some trial and error, you’re likely to find what works for you and your partner.
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