| Sexual Enhancement Drugs
| Alternative Sexual Enhancement Therapies
| Other Treatments
There are many ways to treat sexual dysfunction, including counseling, treatment of other physical problems, mechanical devices, prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements.
Here is a quick overview of some of these different options.
The cause of sexual dysfunction can be physical or psychological. Examples of physical causes include
heart disease, brain disorders, surgery or injury, adverse effects of medicines, kidney disease, liver failure, hormonal imbalances,
drug abuse, and smoking. Examples of psychological causes include stress,
anxiety, marital problems,
depression, and previous traumatic sexual experiences.
Whether it affects arousal, performance, or climax, sexual dysfunction is a real problem for people who have it. Once the problem is identified, most cases of sexual dysfunction are treatable.
Sexual Enhancement Drugs
Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) are all used to treat
in men. However, those who take nitrate medicine should be aware that taking both nitrates and these sexual enhancement drugs can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
Alternative Sexual Enhancement Therapies
Certain natural remedies may be helpful for sexual dysfunction. For example, the herb Korean red ginseng may be helpful for men who have erectile dysfunction, and the hormone DHEA may be helpful in improving sexual function in older women.
Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these products, their purity and safety is often in question. Talk to your doctor first before taking any herbs or supplements.
In addition to medicine and natural remedies, examples of other treatment options include:
- Couples therapy sessions to address emotional and relationship issues that may be causing sexual dysfunction
- Vacuum devices for men to increase blood flow to the genitals to help with arousal difficulties
- Hormone therapy to treat hormonal insufficiencies that are involved in some cases of sexual dysfunction
If you are concerned about sexual dysfunction, your doctor can identify the cause of the problem and create a treatment plan that is right for you.
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http://nccam.nih.gov/news/newsletter/index.htm. Accessed March 16, 2008.
Institute for Sexual Medicine. Boston University Medical Center website. Available at:
http://www.bumc.bu.edu/Dept/Home.aspx?DepartmentID=371. Accessed March 16, 2008.
Sexual dysfunction—silence about sexual problems can hurt relationships. JAMA website. Available at:
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/291/24/3076. Accessed March 16, 2008.
Sexual dysfunction in women. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated August 1, 2011. Accessed April 25, 2012.
Viagra information. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/viagra/default.htm. Accessed March 16, 2008.
Vinarol and Viga tablets contaminated with sildenafil (Viagra). National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine website. Available at:
http://nccam.nih.gov/health/alerts/viagra/viagra.htm. Accessed March 16, 2008.
What are the options for managing sexual dysfunction in cardiovascular patients? University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy website. Available at:
http://www.uic.edu/pharmacy/services/di/sdcvd.htm. Accessed March 16, 2008.
Last reviewed May 2012 by Peter J. Lucas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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