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Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

erectile dysfunction treatment

What is erectile dysfunction?

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.

Treatment & Care

If you think you have ED, a good first step is to talk with your doctor. The treatment you need – ranging from lifestyle changes to medication to surgery - will depend on what’s causing it.

ED Tests: What to Expect at the Doctor

With so many possible causes for ED, your doctor has a number of tests he or she can use to figure out the best treatment for you.

ED Treatment Overview

Erectile dysfunction can be treated at any age. Treatment depends on your overall health and the underlying cause of the problem.

 Panax ginseng

Called the herbal Viagra, Panax ginseng (red ginseng) has solid research behind it. Researchers reviewed seven studies of red ginseng and ED in 2008. Dosages ranged from 600 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) three times daily. They concluded there was “suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”

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.

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 ED patients who received acupuncture had improved erections. Other studies have shown conflicting results, but this treatment has potential and may work for you.

The risks of acupuncture are low if provided by a licensed acupuncturist. Acupuncture shows promise for treating ED, but more studies are needed.

Oral medications

Oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment for many men. They include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)

All four medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide — a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.

Taking one of these tablets will not automatically produce an erection. Sexual stimulation is needed first to cause the release of nitric oxide from your penile nerves. These medications amplify that signal, allowing some men to function normally. Oral erectile dysfunction medications are not aphrodisiacs, will not cause excitement and are not needed in men who get normal erections.

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