Is It Possible to Treat ED Without Medication?
I was recently diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. I'd like to try to treat it without medication, if possible. What nonprescription treatments are available for ED? Have any natural remedies been proven to be effective?
There are a few different nonmedication options for ED. Vacuum erection devices are options, although they can be very expensive (at least $100, perhaps much more for a basic nonprescription model, to well over $500 for a premium prescription-only device).
For some men, the only treatment for ED needed is to make a few lifestyle changes. Getting more exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight, and cutting back on alcohol can solve some erection problems.
Even though most cases of impotence have a physical cause, counseling can help couples deal with the emotional effects. Some couples find that counseling enhances the effects of other forms of impotence treatment by making their relationship stronger. If the cause of ED is mostly psychological, counseling may be effective.
A great many supplements or "natural" products claim to be helpful for treating ED. Very often (especially in the case of the products with the more brazen or even comical names), these products are found to actually contain prescription ED medications like Viagra® or other similar drugs. In such cases, the supplements are withdrawn from the market (if they are "caught"), but, given the current rules and regulations, there is no way for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to monitor or test each of these products.
In general, for such products, a good rule of thumb is that while they may be effective, they also might not be safe for use without a healthcare provider's supervision because there is a good chance that they contain a prescription drug or an unapproved chemical similar to a prescription drug.
There is some preliminary evidence that the following supplements might be beneficial for erectile dysfunction:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Melanotan II (which is not the same thing as melatonin)
- Panax ginseng
Research has not yet shown that these supplements are clearly beneficial -- just that they show some promise. Also, such products are not necessarily free of side effects. In general, it is good advice to consider the fact that any supplement or natural product potent enough to provide any real benefit is probably potent enough to cause real side effects, too.