Erectile dysfunction is a common health condition that affects millions of men worldwide. Fortunately, there are several treatments and remedies available to combat it and improve sexual performance and overall quality of life. In this guide, we focus on revealing the top medications, vitamins, and supplements that can help manage the condition effectively.
What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), commonly called impotence, is a condition characterised by a man’s inability to achieve and maintain an erection long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. While experiencing difficulty achieving an erection is considered normal if it happens occasionally, it becomes a cause for concern if it occurs in over 50% of sexual encounters.
ED is a serious condition that can get worse over time if left untreated. The challenges can become frustrating and lead to reduced self-esteem and strained relationships. Subsequently, fear of underperforming may increase anxiety, and this can go on in a vicious cycle, making it harder for the man to achieve an erection.
While it is commonly believed that ED is a condition that affects only the old, it is worth noting that it also affects young men. Understanding the causes of the condition is key to discovering a suitable treatment option.
Common erectile dysfunction causes
ED is caused by a number of factors that can be divided into three main categories:
- Physical factors. These include underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity, among others.
- Psychological factors. Some of the most common psychological causative factors of ED include stress, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues.
- Lifestyle habits. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet can increase the risk of ED. This is due to their link to cardiovascular health, blood circulation, and hormonal levels.
At this point, it is worth noting that these factors are interconnected and may sometimes work together to make it difficult for a man to achieve and maintain an erection. For instance, experiencing a minor physical condition that dulls sexual response may make it difficult for a healthy man to achieve an erection in one sexual encounter. The resulting embarrassment and fear of facing the previous experience may then make him anxious, ultimately affecting his ability to focus and achieve erections in subsequent sexual encounters. This can go on in a vicious cycle, creating ED where it wasn’t previously present.
Basic treatment options for ED
There are a number of traditional treatment options available for managing ED. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Psychotherapeutic treatment. This basically involves helping men with ED manage the condition through therapy. The process entails discussing their relationship with a therapist who aims to help identify trouble areas and analyze sexual habits and patterns before the condition started.
- Oral medications. In some cases, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors such as Stendra generic (avanafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Viagra (sildenafil citrate) are used to reverse ED, improve erection, and ultimately boost sexual performance. They work by relaxing the muscles in the blood vessels that carry blood to the penis, allowing more blood to flow into it. This in turn helps you achieve and maintain firm erections.
- Vacuum erection devices. Vacuum erectile devices, commonly referred to as penis pumps, work by creating a vacuum around the penis. This then increases blood flow to the penis, helping you achieve and maintain an erection. At this point, it is worth noting that the pump cannot bring about a permanent increase in the length or overall size of the penis.
- Erectile dysfunction surgery. Surgery is also an option for ED treatment. However, it is often used as a last resort in cases in which other treatment options have failed to work. The operation may involve inserting an implant inside the penis or managing the veins and arteries that carry blood to it. The implants are usually an inflatable or malleable device that allows you to control your erection. While surgery is an available option, it is important to consult with a doctor or healthcare professional to help determine the most suitable approach based on your health condition before going ahead with it.
Best natural supplements and vitamins for ED
There are countless natural supplements and vitamins on the market; however, here are some of the best vitamins for erectile dysfunction in 2023.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for overall men’s health. However, it also plays a role in increasing the level of testosterone, a hormone that regulates sex drive. Studies show that it improves erectile function in about 36% of men .
- Vitamin B3 (niacin). Niacin is believed to improve blood circulation, as well as aid in the relaxation of blood vessels that ultimately contributes to better erectile function. It works by triggering the release of nitric oxide, a compound that aids in relaxing the blood vessels to allow more blood to flow into the penis for improved erection. It also enables more nutrients and oxygen to reach the tissues (including those in the penis), which is important for achieving and maintaining firm erections.
- Folic acid (vitamin B9). Vitamin B9 also helps in the synthesis of nitric oxide, improving blood flow to the penis for improved erectile function. Just like vitamin B3, its vasodilatory effects allow for more oxygen and nutrients to reach the tissues in various parts of the body, including the penis. Taking supplements that contain a substantial amount of this vitamin can help bring about improved erectile function and sexual performance.
- L-arginine. L-arginine is an amino acid. Like folic acid and niacin, it also helps in the synthesis of nitric acid, which promotes blood vessel relaxation and improves blood flow to the penis for better erection. L-arginine is known to enhance the body’s natural mechanism for getting and keeping an erection long enough for penetrative sexual intercourse. This makes it a great supplementary option for addressing problems with erectile function.
- Ginseng. Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy extracted from the roots of the Panax plant. It has been used for centuries for its wide range of health benefits, which includes its ability to enhance sexual function. It also has adaptogenic properties, meaning it helps reduce stress, which plays a huge role in disrupting erectile function and boosts energy levels. By reducing stress, ginseng indirectly supports sexual function and overall well-being. This is not to mention its ability to improve blood flow to the penis, which directly affects erectile function.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA is a hormone that converts to estrogen and testosterone in the body. It’s known to help men with ED get and maintain an erection long enough for penetration. However, it is important to approach its use cautiously, as its effects can vary from user to user. Also, taking it in excessive amounts may lead to hormonal imbalance and ultimately cause side effects. It is advisable to consult with a doctor before adding it to your dietary supplement intake.
- Yohimbe. Yohimbe is extracted from the bark of an African tree. It contains an active compound called yohimbine, which is believed to improve erectile function by blocking receptors that prevent erections. These receptors are called alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, and they are known to improve blood flow to the penis, allowing for improved erection. However, it is worth noting that yohimbe has been associated with palpitations, high blood pressure, and anxiety, especially when taken in high amounts. It is important to consult with a doctor before adding it to your dietary supplement intake.
Top synthetic medications that can boost erection for men in 2023
While vitamins and supplements can help improve ED, managing it with them can be a tad challenging, as dosing can often be problematic. On the other hand, synthetic medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, and avanafil are easier to use and have a high success rate. This is because they were specifically designed to treat ED. Let’s take a closer look at each of these meds.
- Sildenafil (Viagra). Viagra was the first orally administered medication approved to treat ED. It was developed by Pfizer and contains sildenafil citrate as its active ingredient. It starts working about 30–60 minutes after administration and can last in the body for around 4 hours. Viagra is one of the most trusted and commonly prescribed options for ED because of its long-standing presence and high success rate. It is generally safe and has a low potential for side effects. However, it may cause side effects if used incorrectly.
- Tadalafil (Cialis). Tadalafil is one of the best pills for erectile dysfunction. It was developed by Eli Lilly and Company and is sold under the brand name Cialis. It has a slower onset of action compared to Viagra, typically taking effect within 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, it has a longer duration of action of about 36 hours, a feature that has earned it the nickname “the weekend pill.” Cialis’ longer duration of action makes it ideal for individuals interested in being able to engage in sexual intercourse spontaneously. It is also safe but must be used correctly in order for it to provide the required benefits without increasing the risk of serious adverse effects.
- Vardenafil (Levitra and Staxyn). Vardenafil is a PDE5 inhibitor available under the brand names Levitra and Staxyn, manufactured by Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline. Levitra shares the same onset of effects and duration of action as Viagra, with its effects kicking in within 30–60 minutes and lasting in the body for around 4–5 hours. Staxyn is a dissolvable version of vardenafil; thus, it has a faster onset of effects. It is ideal for men who dislike swallowing pills. Both brands are known for having a low risk of interactions with food and alcohol.
- Avanafil (Stendra). Avanafil is manufactured by Vivus Inc. and is commonly sold under the brand name Stendra. It has a faster onset of action compared to other ED meds, with its effects typically kicking within 15–30 minutes after ingestion. Its effects typically last for around 6–12 hours in the body. Avanafil’s quick onset of effects makes it ideal for men interested in being able to engage in sexual intercourse spontaneously.
Are ED support supplements safe and legal?
Yes, some ED supplements and vitamins are safe and legal. However, while several options are available for purchase and use without a prescription, it is important to exercise caution before starting treatment with any of them. This is because they are not as tested as Viagra and other prescription medications that have undergone in-depth clinical trials over decades.
At this point, it is worth noting that the laws surrounding the use of supplements, vitamins, and regular medications are subject to change. Thus, it is advisable to always confirm the legal status of any drug you plan to take before buying it, wherever you are.
Treating ED effectively requires a sound approach that considers the use of either a supplement or erectile dysfunction medication. While the former can play a supportive role, helping to improve erectile function, synthetic meds such as Stendra and Viagra have been widely tested and proven to work effectively with minimal risk of adverse effects. If you’re wondering which one to choose between both, the short answer is that it depends. It depends on several factors, including your medical history, lifestyle, personal preferences, and desired level of spontaneity. Regardless of what approach you choose, always remember to consult a doctor before starting treatment with any medication.
Jordan Wayne, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.