Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a condition with which those affected often seek an instant solution for. In Canada, a lot of the time, people believe that this solution is the little blue pill.
Is the blue pill really the most effective solution? Should you take generic versions of Viagra, Stendra or Cialis if you notice symptoms of erectile dysfunction?
Let’s consider a few of the myths behind the little blue pill. Unravelling these “well-known facts” is a major step to ensuring that you receive the proper care to address your personal needs with erectile dysfunction.
Are ED drugs the only solution? The short answer is no.
In reality, ED has several potential causes attributed to the condition, each with different treatment paths. Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, which are part of ED, are caused by different medical or psychological conditions that should be addressed and treated separately.
The most common causes of ED are:
Cardiovascular diseases: The thickening of the arterial walls can affect blood flow to the penis, which, in turn, affects erectile function. Blood needs to flow into the penis to cause the erection.
Arterial wall thickening can be caused by poor lifestyle choices such as the consumption of a high fat diet, the excessive consumption of red meat, the habit of smoking, and the lack of exercise. Such lifestyle choices are associated with additional symptoms of high blood pressure and cholesterol, and obesity.
Diabetes: Diabetic men can often experience ED symptoms due to the damage caused to nerves and blood vessels due to long-term issues related to blood sugar control.
Hormone imbalances: With hormone imbalances may be caused by a wide range of activities, they are most commonly associated with the use of steroidal medication, supplements, or hormonal cancer treatments.
Age: Although ED can affect men of any age, older men are more susceptible to this condition due to their increased likelihood of having other ailments or of taking medication that may interfere with normal erectile function.
Drug or alcohol use and abuse: Recreational use of drugs or prescription medication can interfere with erectile function as it may affect hormonal pathways, muscle function or blood pressure. Similarly, alcohol can affect hormone function and may damage cells in the testes or gonads.
Stress and anxiety: Both stress and anxiety, including performance anxiety, can affect hormonal and nerve pathways that influence erectile function.
Depression: Similar to stress and anxiety, depression affects hormonal and nerve function, and may influence erectile function as well. Additionally, certain antidepressants are associated with ED as a negative side effect to their use.
So, in Canada, when are erectile dysfunction medications prescribed? Naturally, all of the above-mentioned conditions are treated individually. In some cases, general treatment results in normal penile function. However, a specific treatment for ED is often needed to help achieve optimal results.
After a careful and complete health evaluation, medical doctors are usually able to determine if ED drugs are the best treatment option for the individual at hand. It is crucial to note that ED medications do require normal nerve function and are not prescribed to patients with nerve damage due to drug abuse, injury or diabetes. Notably, cancer patients and individuals with diabetes often have lower success rates with these medications.
The myth that Viagra is the only treatment option for ED in Canada is proven to be untrue, as impactful treatment involves the treatment of the specific underlying condition in question. With this being said, Viagra is not necessarily always the most effective option.
OTC ED are often assumed to contain harmful ingredients, although this is not always the case.
Yes, OTC ED drugs could contain harmful ingredients in certain instances. In fact, more than 300 OTC ED drugs are recognized by the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) to contain harmful ingredients. However, there are natural alternatives for OTC ED drugs that may prove to be just as effective.
Generally, the use of OTC medications is limited by the fact that there is not enough evidence to suggest that they are effective treatments for ED. In some cases, they can actually interfere adversely with other medicines.
So, before pursuing the use of OTC ED medications, it is important to discuss the options available with a healthcare professional, and to consider all of their potential side effects.
Some of the available OTC ED drugs available in Canada include:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) - a hormone supplement that may aid in the production of male sexual hormones
- L-arginine - an amino acid that can improve blood circulation
- Ginseng - an ancient herbal stimulant that can improve blood circulation and sexual function
- Propionyl-L-carnitine - a drug that can improve blood circulation and, in some cases, even improve the performance of ED drugs such as Viagra.
A lot of drugs are not always guaranteed to be effective, and ED drugs, including Viagra, do fall under this category.
Research has indicated that about 30% of men who consume ED drugs like Viagra do not experience their full effects. Since these drugs affect blood flow to the penis, their full efficacy can be influenced by factors such as:
Incorrect use of the medication – Some of these medications, such as Viagra, are to be taken on an empty stomach.
Giving up too early – It could take a few hours for the medications to become active, and it’s important to always look out for this information.
ED drugs not being the best treatment option – As mentioned earlier, not every ED case experiences effective treatment with Viagra. There may even be certain underlying medical conditions that interfere with the effectiveness of such drugs.
On its own, Viagra does not hurt the heart. In fact, it was initially designed to treat angina or heart pain. Heart-related complications generally only arise if it is taken in combination with other medications for the heart, including nitrates. If you take two medications that widen arteries, a severe drop in blood pressure may occur, which could ultimately lead to a heart attack.
For ED drugs to be effective, they need to produce erections that last only for the period in which they are required. With this being said, most ED drugs are effective in this sense, and only aid in maintaining an erection for the required period, going against this common myth.
Priapism, or prolonged erections, are infrequent occurrences. Most urologists who prescribe Viagra or other ED drugs rarely see a case of priapism associated with their use. Priapism is a severe and painful condition that can cause long-term damage if not treated in time. Healthcare professionals or pharmaceutical companies do not condone introducing a drug with such frequent side effects to the market, and will not tolerate this themselves.
In all, the blue pill is only one of many different treatment methods for ED, although it is certainly more celebrated than its counterparts. Instead of simply by-passing your health assessment and popping the blue pill, seek comprehensive medical care to determine if it is truly the healthiest and most effective option for you.
If you’d like to experience the positive effects of the blue pill, check out our erectile dysfunction treatment section and start your online assessment today!