Erectile Dysfunction: 7 Common Myths Debunked

There are many misconceptions about erectile dysfunction (ED) and the available treatment options. Seeking reliable advice and knowing how to treat ED can be a time-consuming task, therefore, it is important to first separate fact from fiction and be aware of these 7 common ED myths.

Myth 1: ED is only a condition that only affects older men 

ED is more common in older men with over 50% of men over the age of 40 experiencing the condition, however, research indicates that approximately 11% of men in their 30’s experience ED issues [1].

Myth 2: There’s nothing I can do to avoid getting ED

ED can be caused by a variety of unhealthy lifestyle factors that can be detrimental to vascular health which is essential in erectile function. Smoking, a lack of exercise and excessive alcohol consumption are known factors that can contribute to ED onset [2]. For example, tobacco found in cigarettes is a known vasoconstrictor which can cause a decrease in blood flow and vascular function over time. Consequently, blood flow to the penis can be reduced whereby an erection is more difficult to achieve. 

Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress and the risk of obesity which can significantly enhance vascular health and is essential for sexual health and erectile function. Therefore, improving your overall health through necessary lifestyle changes is an effective way to reduce the risk of getting ED and if you are experiencing ED; reducing the severity of the condition.   

Myth 3: All ED medications are the same

ED medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Spedra are all PDE5 inhibitors. They all work in the same way, they inhibit the enzyme PDE5 to increase the blood flow into the penis, increasing the ease of achieving and maintaining an erection [3]. However, PDE5 inhibitors can differ in how quick they take to work and how long they remain effective in the body for. For example, Cialis remains effective in the body for up to 36 hours, whilst Viagra lasts for up to 6 hours which is considerably less in comparison. 

Sourcing effective ED medication from a reliable source such as Pharmica Online Pharmacy is recommended. They offer a safe and discreet online pharmacy service where effective ED advice and medications can be obtained. 

Myth 4: Branded medication means better

Branded ED medication such as Viagra, Cialis, Spedra and Levitra are brand names for their respective active ingredients: Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), Avanafil (Spedra) and Vardenafil (Levitra). ED medications that are sold in their unbranded, generic form are often significantly less expensive and yet, medically equivalent. 

When leading brand patents expire, such as the Viagra patent in 2013, other manufacturers are able to produce alternative versions using the same active ingredient such as generic Sildenafil. Therefore, cheaper but medically equivalent versions can be produced, which don’t have the elevated cost price due to market exclusivity, branding and advertising. 

In summary, branded versions and unbranded generic equivalents have the same efficacy [4]. Therefore, if you want maximum efficacy but for a much more affordable price, especially as a long-term treatment, the unbranded versions may be right for you. 

Myth 5: Viagra is the best ED medication available

Viagra is one of the most well-known and effective ED medications. It contains the active ingredient Sildenafil citrate which is also sold as its own unbranded version, Sildenafil, for a fraction of the price. Both versions are medically equivalent, however, unbranded Sildenafil is significantly more cost-effective. 

Other popular ED medications consist of Cialis (active ingredient is Tadalafil), Spedra (active ingredient is Avanafil) and Levitra (active ingredient is Vardenafil). Collectively, including Viagra (sildenafil), these medications all work in the same way, they are PDE5 inhibitors which work by enhancing blood flow to the penis to prolong an erection. In terms of efficacy, research indicates that many ED treatments offer comparable efficacy, however, the tolerability may vary more significantly across medications. Therefore, it is important to try different medications to see which one works best for you. 

Myth 6: Natural remedies will work

Whilst ED medication is regarded as the primary mode of treatment with the highest efficacy, natural remedies may offer a tempting alternative; especially if ED medication has not met your expectations. Natural remedies consisting of herbal supplements such as Pomegranate juice, L-arginine, red ginseng have little to no evidence supporting their efficacy in the treatment of ED. 

Herbal remedies may be taken as a quick fix method, to avoid discussions with a GP or health professional. It is important to note that the ED medication ‘Viagra Connect’ is available without a prescription, furthermore, prescriptions for ED medications can be obtained online without a face to face consultation. The use of natural remedies and herbal supplements can induce unwanted side effects that can negatively impact health and well-being.

Myth 7: If medication doesn’t work first time, it won’t ever work

Use of ED medications are acknowledged as first-line therapy in the treatment of ED. When first trying ED treatments, it’s important to give the medication a chance and carefully follow the guidance outlined for effective use.

Essential factors to consider that may affect the efficacy of ED medications:

  • Whether you are sexually aroused. This is a must for ED medication to work effectively. 
  • How much food or alcohol has been consumed? With some medications, eating too close to taking the medication and excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect the efficacy of the medication.
  • Waiting long enough prior to sexual intercourse. For “as required” ED medication, it’s important to wait until the medication is active. This can range from 15 – 60 minutes. It may be worthwhile considering a lower, daily-dose medication alternative that remains active in the body all day to improve practicality and convenience.     

Sources

  1. Rastrelli, G. and Maggi, M., 2017. Erectile dysfunction in fit and healthy young men: psychological or pathological?. Translational andrology and urology, 6(1), p.79.
  2. Horasanli, K., Boylu, U., Kendirci, M. and Miroglu, C., 2008. Do lifestyle changes work for improving erectile dysfunction?. Asian journal of andrology, 10(1), pp.28-35.
  3. Shamloul, R. and Ghanem, H., 2013. Erectile dysfunction. The Lancet, 381(9861), pp.153-165.
  4. Sarpatwari, A. and Kesselheim, A.S., 2016. The case for reforming drug naming: should brand name trademark protections expire upon generic entry?. PLoS medicine, 13(2).