Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation Men's Health Sexual Health / STDs

How to treat erectile dysfunction naturally

Some erectile dysfunction treatments may include both natural herbs and remedies. Nevertheless, a man should be careful when finding a natural remedy, and consider the possible risks associated with such natural cures.

Erectile dysfunction ( ED) is a man’s inability to maintain an erection that is sufficient for sexual intercourse. The disorder can be hard for a man to live with because it can cause humiliation and anxiety due to an inability to sexually perform.

Fortunately there are a number of medications, treatments, and therapies available for men with ED that may prevent ED from becoming a long-term condition.

Natural remedies

The most popular natural remedies for ED are those derived from plants and herbs which have been used for many years by some cultures. While very few studies on the safety of these natural remedies have been conducted, some of them have been found to have side effects which vary from mild to extreme.

Ginkgo may work as a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction as it may increase blood flow to the penis.
Ginkgo may work as a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction as it may increase blood flow to the penis.

Some natural remedies include:

  • L-arginine: Some evidence suggests high doses of L-arginine improve erectile dysfunction by helping blood vessels to open wider, which improves blood flow to the penis. Side effects are generally considered mild but may include cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. L-arginine should not be taken with Viagra, a prescription drug that treats ED.
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine: Some studies show that propionyl-L-carnitine, when combined with Viagra, could improve erectile function better than when taking Viagra alone. Propionyl-L-carnitine is generally considered safe when used under supervision of a doctor.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): There is some evidence that suggests that DHEA increases libido in women and has a positive effect on men with ED. DHEA appears to be safe at low doses, however, it may cause acne in some cases.
  • Ginkgo: Ginkgo may increase blood flow to the penis, which could improve sexual desire and ED. However, this supplement might increase the risk of bleeding. People who are taking blood thinners or who have a bleeding disorder should speak to their doctor before taking gingko.
  • Ginseng: There are several types of ginseng available. Many of them have been shown to have a positive effect on ED. Some forms of ginseng may have negative side effects including insomnia.
  • Yohimbine: The main component of an African tree bark, yohimbine is probably one of the most problematic of all natural remedies for ED. Some research suggests that yohimbine can improve a type of sexual dysfunction that is linked with a drug used to treat depression. However, studies have linked yohimbine to a number of side effects, which can include anxiety, increased blood pressure, and a fast, irregular heartbeat. Like all natural remedies, yohimbine should only be used after advice and under supervision from a doctor.
  • Horny goat weed (epimedium): Supposedly, there are substances in the leaves of this herb that improve sexual performance. Epimedium has not been studied in people, and there are some suggestions that it might affect heart function.

Lifestyle changes

Some behaviors or lack of activity may have an effect on ED, so a man may consider making some lifestyle changes before pursuing drugs or natural remedies for ED.

Some lifestyle changes to consider include:

  • Exercising regularly: Regular exercise has proven to be effective in improving overall health. For ED, the improved blood pressure, blood flow, and overall health benefits may drastically reduce the risk of a man having or developing ED.
  • Eating healthful food: In a similar way to exercise, eating nutritious food may help reduce the risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and diabetes, which are known risk factors for ED.
  • Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake: Both of these activities bring a number of potential health risks, including ED. Reducing or eliminating these activities may help stop ED problems.
  • Reducing stress: A man can have issues with sexual performance if he is overly stressed. Stress can come from a variety of circumstances including work, finances, and relationship troubles. Finding ways to cope with these issues can help reduce stress and may improve ED.
  • Continuing to engage in sexual activities: Stimulating sexual activities that lead to even partial erections may have a positive impact on ED. The increased blood flow to the penis may help to stimulate and improve function over time.

Alternative therapies and medications

There are currently few studies available which indicate the efficacy of complementary and alternative therapies and medicines. One research examined examples of different alternative therapies and drugs like acupuncture, ginseng, maca, and yohimbine from databases.

The study indicated that some evidence indicates that ginseng and yohimbine may give some advantages for ED. There is, however, insufficient evidence to prove that either acupuncture or maca have a positive impact on ED.

Placebo effect?

Some studies have suggested that a placebo effect that improves ED can work for some people. One research found men taking an oral placebo pill saw as much change in ED symptoms as men taking real medicine to boost ED. Conversely, people who sought medical advice for improving ED did not show signs of reducing the symptoms.

Medical treatments

Some of ED’s most popular medical procedures are prescription medications that address the problem area and improve the flow of blood into the penis.

Medications widely prescribed include Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Vardenafil. A doctor is the best source to inquire about potential side effects, diagnosis and benefits of the drugs available. When a doctor feels the ED is triggered by a man’s medication, they will change the medication.

Causes of ED

Drinking alcohol to excess may be a cause of erectile dysfunction.
Drinking alcohol to excess may be a cause of erectile dysfunction.

In men of almost all ages, there are a variety of possible triggers of ED but the chances of developing ED increase as a man ages.

Causes of ED can include the following:

  • certain medications
  • chronic illness, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • obesity
  • poor blood flow
  • chronic stress

Conclusions

Like for other medical conditions, there is not usually just one way of treating or reducing ED symptoms. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can be tried first for men who wish to avoid using medication, followed by some potential natural remedies and additional therapies.

Before taking new medications, herbal remedies or stopping a prescription medication suspected of causing ED, it is important for any man suffering from ED to make lifestyle changes and speak with a doctor.