If you take medication for other health conditions, you may not be able to take an oral medication for ED. Although there are a few natural remedies that may work to relieve your symptoms, more research is needed to determine the efficacy. Many products claim to cure ED, but there isn’t always enough research that backs up those claims.
Whatever alternatives you choose, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor before use. They can help you decide whether this is the best option for you.
L-arginine is an amino acid. One 1999 study found that oral L-arginine was no better than a placebo in treating ED, but another study found some evidence that high doses of L-arginine can improve blood flow and help ED. Potential side effects of use include nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. You shouldn’t take this if you take Viagra.
Red ginseng is an herbal supplement. A 2008 systemic review of seven studies found that red ginseng may be effective in treating ED. Researchers cautioned that more high-quality studies are needed to better determine the potential benefits and risks of this supplement.
If you plan on trying ginseng, you should speak to your doctor about dosing. Side effects may include headache, sleep problems, and gastrointestinal problems.
Tell your doctor if you’re taking other medications because they can interact with the supplement and lead to harmful side effects. Ginseng may lower blood sugar levels, so it should be used with caution if you take medication for diabetes.
Acupuncture is an ancient healing practice used for a variety of conditions. Although it’s been suggested that acupuncture can treat ED, there’s little evidence regarding its efficacy.
A 2016 systemic review failed to prove that acupuncture alone was effective in treating ED. The authors did note the small sample size and poor quality of the studies involved. More research is needed.
If you’re considering acupuncture, search for a qualified and certified practitioner.
What you can do now
ED may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, so consult your doctor. You should also mention any other symptoms you may be experiencing. They can help you determine whether your ED is isolated or related to something else. Treating the underlying condition may resolve the problem.
Other tips to keep in mind while treating ED:
- Always take ED medications exactly as directed. Talk to your doctor before increasing the dose, and report any troubling side effects.
- Don’t mix treatments. Taking an oral medication while using a natural remedy may cause harmful side effects.
- Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Herbal or other dietary supplements can interact with medications. When considering something new, consult with your doctor or pharmacist, and be sure to report side effects.
Aside from drugs and herbal remedies, certain lifestyle factors can contribute to ED. Whatever treatment you choose, it may help if you also:
- Avoid or limit alcohol use.
- Quit smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get sufficient sleep every night.
- Engage in regular exercise, including aerobic exercise.
- Try pelvic floor exercises. A small 2005 study concluded that pelvic floor exercises should be a first-line approach in treating ED.
Other methods to treat ED include blood vessel surgery, vacuum pumps, and penile implants. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor about these and other alternatives.