Erectile dysfunction (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. Your doctor is likely to diagnose you with ED if the condition lasts for more than a few weeks or months. ED affects as many as 30 million men in the United States.
Standard ED treatments include prescription medications, vacuum pumps, implants, and surgery, but many men prefer natural options. Research has found that some natural options can improve ED symptoms. Read on to learn about natural options that have research to back them up.
Called the herbal Viagra,
Panax ginseng (red ginseng) has solid research behind it. Researchers
More current research is examining how red ginseng influences ED. Ginsenosides are one element present in Panax ginseng extract that have action at the cellular level to improve erection.
The action of Panax ginseng appears to be
One small study indicated that 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. This herb has been shown to improve energy and reduce fatigue. More studies are needed to understand action and ensure safety.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It can be converted to both estrogen and testosterone in the body. Scientists make the dietary supplement from wild yam and soy.
More recently, DHEA has been identified as an option for treatment of ED for men with concurrent diabetes. ED commonly affects these men because of hormonal issues as well as diabetes complications that interfere with blood flow to organs.
L-arginine is an amino acid naturally present in your body. It helps make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels to facilitate a successful erection and is essential for healthy sexual functioning.
Though studies are mixed, many show positive results when acupuncture is used to treat ED. A
This supplement is extracted from the bark of the African yohimbe tree. Some
However, the American Urological Association doesn’t recommend yohimbe as an ED treatment. This is because there’s not a lot of evidence proving it works. Its side effects might be damaging to health. These include increased blood pressure and heart rate, irritability, and tremor.
If you decide you want to try yohimbe, be sure to talk to your doctor beforehand.
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Other alternative therapies thought to help ED include zinc supplements (especially for men who are low in zinc), the herb ashwagandha (also called Indian ginseng), and ginkgo biloba, but more studies are needed to know with certainty.
If you have symptoms of ED, it’s important to check with your doctor before trying any treatments on your own. This is because ED can be a sign of other health problems. For instance, heart disease or high cholesterol could cause ED symptoms. With a diagnosis, your doctor could recommend a number of steps that would likely improve both your heart health and your ED. These steps include lowering your cholesterol, reducing your weight, or taking medications to unclog your blood vessels.
If other health issues aren’t found to be the cause of your ED, your doctor will likely prescribe some common treatments. However, you may also choose natural options — just be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.
Whichever route you take, keep in mind that ED is a common condition that’s very treatable. With some trial and error, you’re likely to find a treatment that works for you and your partner.
It’s important to remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate quality, strength, purity, or packaging of herbs. If you choose to take herbs, be sure to get them from a reliable source.
In many cases, changes to your lifestyle and diet can help ease ED symptoms. Lifestyle changes that could help improve your sexual function include exercising and losing weight. They also include stopping smoking and curbing your alcohol intake.
Your diet can also affect your sexual performance. For information on which foods might benefit you, such as cocoa and pistachios, check out this article on diet and ED.
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