Erectile dysfunction: Two herbal supplements that can be risky – health warning

Erectile dysfunction: Dr Sara on possible injections for condition

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Erectile dysfunction herbs and supplements haven’t been well-studied or tested, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the supplement, there are also many side effects to consider. Healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help erectile dysfunction, the NHS says.

The Mayo Clinic has published a guide to erectile dysfunction herbs and supplements, and outlined some which are generally considered safe.

Some evidence shows that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) increases libido in women and helps erectile dysfunction in men.

DHEA is a steroid hormone made from cholesterol.

“DHEA appears to be safe at low doses. It can cause acne,” the site states.

It adds that some evidence shows that taking high doses of L-arginine improves erectile dysfunction by stimulating blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow.

L-arginine is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins.

The Mayo Clinic says some side effects may include nausea, cramps and diarrhea. You should not take L-arginine with sildenafil, of which Viagra is a form of.

Another supplement commonly used is propionyl-L-carnitine. Propionyl-L-carnitine helps the body produce energy.

“Studies have shown that propionyl-L-carnitine combined with Viagra might improve erectile function better than sildenafil alone,” the Mayo Clinic says.

Nonetheless, there are also several supplements and herbs which have been categorised as “risky” by the site.

For example, Ginkgo, from a species of tree native to China, may increase blood flow to the penis but there’s no evidence of benefit for erectile dysfunction.

It might also increase the risk of bleeding.

Horny goat weed, epimedium, is also categorised as risky by the site, which also says the herb has not been studied in people.

Horny goat weed is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae.

This herb might affect heart or breathing functions, the site states.

The Mayo Clinic warns that you should “be wary of ‘herbal viagra’,” as some of these products contain unknown amounts of ingredients similar to those in prescription medications, which can cause dangerous side effects.

“Just because a product claims to be natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many herbal remedies and dietary supplements can cause side effects and dangerous interactions when taken with certain medications,” the site adds.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with sexual health. They can provide the same treatment you would get at your GP surgery.

Because of changes in regulations, you no longer need a prescription to get sildenafil.

You will have a consultation with the pharmacist to make sure it’s safe for you to take it, according to the NHS.

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