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Erectile dysfunction is as common as it is complex – it can stem from a variety of reasons, so options for treatment are likewise variable. Sometimes it can be solved by some relationship counselling, or simple muscle exercises. But where those methods don’t apply, there exist a wealth of natural and prescription medications to deal with the problem. But how effective are these remedies? And perhaps more importantly: how safe are they?
An early study from 1998 demonstrated that gingko proved an effective remedy by relaxing muscles and enhancing blood flow in the penis. A later, more thorough study in 2002 debunked this finding, dismissing ginkgo as no better than a placebo. However, it remains known as a popular treatment for cognitive decline.
A source of yohimbine hydrochloride, the herb yohimbine was said to be able to stimulate blood flow to the penis and increasing libido while decreasing the period between ejaculations. However, it also caused high blood pressure, dizziness, abdominal pain, and other health problems, and was eventually discouraged as a remedy.
An amino acid the body uses to make nitric oxide, L-arginine is found naturally in meat, dairy, and fish. However, studies have indicated it may only benefit men with initially low levels of nitric oxide, and has to be taken in large enough doses to have an effect. As it has an effect on potassium levels, it should be avoided by people on potassium-affecting medication.
Studies have indicated that ginseng may be beneficial for sexual function, but there is less evidence precisely confirming its benefits – though it may be linked to nitric oxide synthesis. Ginseng can be recommended for treatment, although it should be checked against any other drugs already being taken first.
Horny goat weed
Horny goat weed contains icariin, said to act in a similar way to Viagra. But despite this, it can be unsafe as a treatment for erectile dysfunction due to the harmful effect it can have on muscle co-ordination, the kidneys, and the liver.
In addition to being useful against erectile dysfunction, Viagra is also a useful remedy for other medical conditions like hypertension, depression, and heart disease. While it does have side effects, Viagra has proven one of the most popular and effective erectile dysfunction drugs available.
The effects of Levitra aren’t altogether dissimilar to those of Viagra, and on the whole the drug’s an effective remedy for erectile dysfunction, though less slightly so than Viagra. However, the side effects are milder than Viagra as well, making it suitable for anyone who can’t quite handle the strength of Viagra.
Cialis is also similar to Viagra and Levitra, though with more unpleasant potential side effects than both – including but not limited to indigestion, aches, nasal congestion and blurred vision. Furthermore, it can be unsuitable for people with weak hearts or blood disorders.
Priliy contains duloxetine, and was initially rejected by the Food and Drug Administration as a remedy. It is reported to be able to delay ejaculation effectively, though possibly with dangerous side effects.
These consist of injections administered directly to the penis to stimulate erections. They are intended to cause minimal pain, but potential side effects can include bleeding from the injection due to heightened sensitivity.
Of course, in addition to all these methods, surgery is an option too, as well as devices like penis pumps and implants. If you know of any more natural or prescription remedies for erectile dysfunction, feel free to share them in the comments.
Gavin Harvey is a travel and health enthusiast, and enjoys blogging about the topics that interest him. He writes for Dr. Fox.