Best Viagra Alternatives

10 min read
Best Viagra Alternatives

The capability to reach an erect state is a crucial function of the penis. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to achieve or maintain solid erections. This may lead to a damaged sex life and even impact a person's self-esteem and relationships. Being unable to achieve a firm erection may be caused by a sexual dysfunction known as erectile dysfunction (ED). 

A generally well-tolerated treatment for ED is a drug known as Viagra (or sildenafil citrate). Despite its effectiveness, Viagra may not suit everyone's needs. For example, some people might not feel comfortable using medication, while others may experience side effects

Whether you’re looking for a more ‘natural’ treatment option or a medicinal alternative, it’s important to know your options.

This article explores some of the best alternatives to using Viagra along with some factors to consider when seeking out an alternative treatment option.

Medication Alternatives to Viagra

There can be numerous reasons that people seek out a medical alternative to Viagra. Examples may be because of side effects or the drug not being effective. However, there are other medicinal options. It’s important to note that the Viagra alternatives in the table below have been listed for informational purposes. You should never consider self-medicating. Always consult your doctor for guidance before starting a new medication.

DRUG NOTES
Tadalafil This drug is better known by the brand name Cialis, and is perhaps one of the most well-known alternatives to Viagra.

Tadalafil is a selective phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE-5) that is used for treating ED as well as other conditions including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
Levitra Also known as Vardenafil, Levitra is another popular option for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The drug is a selective inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) specific PDE-5.

The cGMP leads to smooth muscle relaxation, resulting in greater blood flow into the penis and the formation of an erection.
Staxyn Staxyn shares the same active ingredient (Vardenafil hydrochloride) with Levitra however, they cannot be considered a direct substitute for one another.

A key difference between the two is that Staxyn is taken by allowing it to melt on the tongue rather than swallowing it with liquid.
Avanafil Avanafil may also be known by the name Stendra and is another drug used for the treatment of ED.

It is said that the drug shows a higher selectivity for PDE5 over PDE6 when compared to similar drugs such as Sildenafil and Vardenafil, but less so than Tadalafil. This selectivity to PDE5 may be considered a safety benefit. 

Considerations for Choosing an Alternative Medication to Viagra

When seeking a medicinal Viagra alternative, adopt a cautious approach. Seek professional medical advice to gauge your suitability for the drug based on your medical history. Make sure that you’re aware of the side effects before making a decision. Also, consider how well the drug suits your needs. For example, make sure that you’re happy with the dosing frequency and how long it takes for the drug's effects to take place.

Pros and Cons of Using Medication Alternatives to Viagra

Pros Cons
Wide range of options available. Not all options boast Viagra's long-term use (Viagra was FDA-approved back in 1998)
Offer alternative ingestion methods (e.g. Staxyn melting on tongue without liquid). As with Viagra, side effects may occur when using alternative options.

Natural Alternatives to Viagra

Although the desired effects of Viagra may be achievable through the use of other medications, some individuals may prefer not to use drugs for treating erectile issues. More natural options do exist and may mimic the effects of Viagra. Although they are considered natural options, you should still discuss your suitability for the options below with a medical professional.

Red Ginseng

Red Ginseng is a Korean root that may be used by people in an attempt to reduce the effects of erectile dysfunction. Some research has claimed that Ginseng root is a suitable alternative remedy for helping men achieve an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. 

Red Ginseng is a Korean root that may be used by people in an attempt to reduce the effects of erectile dysfunction

However, other research suggests that the impact of Ginseng on an individual's erectile capability may not be so significant, labeling it trivial. This research mentions that there's no evidence that Ginseng can be compared to the better known ED treatments such as PDE-5 inhibitors. 

L-Arginine

L-Arginine is a type of amino acid which plays a role in the synthesis of products involved in regulatory function within the body. Although the body produces its own L-Arginine, it can be found in food sources such as fish, nuts and soy protein but can also be supplemented. 

One research study found that among 540 ED patients within 10 randomized controlled trials, arginine supplements (dosages between 1500mg and 5000mg) significantly improved ED when compared to placebo or non treatment. 

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Pelvic floor muscle exercises are also known as Kegels. By strengthening these muscles, individuals may see improvements to their sexual function, including better ejaculatory control and possibly improved erections. The exercises are carried out using a squeeze technique, mimicking the feeling of holding in urine.

Research into the impact of pelvic floor muscle training on ED and premature ejaculation showed positive outcomes in treating both conditions, but noted that no optimal protocol for training was identified. 

Pros and Cons of Using Natural Alternatives to Viagra

Pros Cons
It may be possible to achieve the desired effects without using drugs. Exercise routines (e.g. working on pelvic floor muscles) can be time-consuming
May avoid the costs associated with medication What works for one person may not for everyone.
Kegels may also lead to improved ejaculatory control

Lifestyle Changes to Address Erectile Issues

Although Viagra alternatives are available in medicinal and more natural forms, being able to improve erectile function without the need for drugs or supplements may be possible. Although they may not work for everyone, we’ve explored some of the lifestyle changes that may have a positive impact on your erectile health below.

Increase Activity Levels

Increasing activity levels may improve a person's erectile function. One research study that examined the impact of exercise on individuals with erectile dysfunction found that physical exercise appears to help with self-reported erectile dysfunction. Particularly aerobic exercise with moderate to vigorous intensity.

Another study explored the impact of physical exercise on erectile function among men with ischaemic heart disease. It examined men who scored 21 or less on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5). The study included 103 participants who were subject to cardiac rehabilitation (CR group) and 35 participants who were not (control group).

Always seek medical advice to assess your suitability for a new exercise routine.

Over a 6 month timeframe, the CR group underwent interval endurance training (three times per week) as well as general and resistance training (twice per week). It noted significant improvements in both exercise tolerance and erection quality among the CR group when compared to the control group. Always seek medical advice to assess your suitability for a new exercise routine.

Improve Dietary Habits

Making dietary alterations may also help to improve an individual's erectile function. This doesn’t refer to adding the supplements in our previous section, but focuses on making changes to an individual's overall dietary habits. 

Making dietary alterations may also help to improve an individual's erectile function.

The Mediterranean diet (MD) which is high in fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish (but low in processed and red meat) has been associated with various health benefits. Some of these include cardiovascular health and lower rates of incident diabetes. Research also suggests that (MD) may help to improve a person's erectile function. 

A piece of research reviewed 13 studies based on diet and erectile function. It concluded that erectile dysfunction appears to lessen in men following the Mediterranean diet. Other research also refers to MD’s ability to improve ED within clinical trials. If you believe your diet may be causing damaged erectile function, consult a medical professional for advice before making dietary changes. 

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Avoid Erection Inhibiting Habits 

Although many people might not realize it, certain lifestyle habits may be hindering their ability to achieve and maintain erections. Their impact can be significant and in some cases, abstaining from the activity may lead to drastic improvements in erectile function. 

As of 2019, smoking was the leading cause of preventable death in the US. It’s also a habit which may damage your erections. Research suggests that current smokers may face up to a 51% increased risk of developing ED, with a 20% increased chance of ex-smokers developing the dysfunction compared to those who’ve never smoked. 

Although many people might not realize it, certain lifestyle habits may be hindering their ability to achieve and maintain erections.

Although alcohol consumption is often a feature of social events, too much of it may lead to erection difficulties. A research study found that among 104 participants with alcohol use disorder and ED, 88.5% of participants showed improvements in ED after 3 months of abstaining from alcohol use. 

 

Penis Pumps

Penis pumps are also known as vacuum pumps or vacuum erection devices (VEDs). They are made up of a tube, a pump (either hand or battery-powered), and a constrictive ring (also known as cock rings).

Penis pumps are considered a non-invasive option for addressing erectile issues and have been used successfully in addressing erectile dysfunction.

Research suggests that VEDs may be a helpful aid for managing impotence in the long term. One review suggests that its clinical success rate in treating ED may be as high as 90%, and went on to acknowledge a survey of 5847 vacuum users, in which 83.5% continued to use the device for intercourse.

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How do penis pumps work?

After placing the penis in the tube and utilizing the pump, VEDs use suction in order to draw blood into the penis and by doing so, can help men achieve an erection when they may otherwise struggle to. VEDs are able to improve peak flow and elasticity of the cavernous arteries. 

When the penis has reached an erect state and is filled with blood, the constrictive ring can be secured around the base of the penis.

This will encourage the retention of the blood in the penis, effectively increasing the amount of time an individual is able to maintain their erection. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines before attempting to use a vacuum erectile device.

Pros and Cons of Penis Pumps

Pros Cons
The device is considered non-invasive. Failure to follow manufacturer guidelines may lead to injury.
Readily available for use (easily accessible online or in a store). Harder to conceal use compared to using drugs.
Relatively straightforward to use and often comes with instructions. Although research suggests a high success rate, they may not work for everyone.

Learn more about Penis Pumps and How They Can Enhance Male Sexual Health

Surgery and Medical Procedures

Another route for addressing erectile dysfunction could be surgical or medical procedures. Such procedures are one of the more invasive options for the treatment of ED. We’ve highlighted some of the popular surgical and medical options for addressing erectile issues below.

Penile Injections

Individuals looking to treat their ED may opt for a penile injection known as intracavernosal injection (ICI) therapy. ICI therapy involves injecting drugs into the penile cavity in an attempt to help men achieve erections. 

Individuals looking to treat their ED may opt for a penile injection known as intracavernosal injection (ICI) therapy.

Research suggests that among patients who use it, it has consistently allowed erections in 60-70% of patients. Despite there being a dropout rate of 20% to 50% of patients within a year of receiving treatment. Other research into ICI therapy noted an increased satisfaction among those receiving treatment but also acknowledged the therapies significant dropout rates. 

Penile Implant Surgery

Penile implant surgery refers to when devices are implanted into the penis in order to help men achieve erections. As this option is a surgical procedure, it’s important to understand exactly what the procedure entails, as well as your options before you commit to it. Two popular choices of penile implant for addressing erectile issues are as follows:

Inflatable Implant

Also referred to by the name inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP), inflatable implants are a popular choice of implant which can be inflated to form an erection and as well as being deflated. These are available in two-piece and three piece options. The difference between them is based on the location of the fluid reservoir; two piece options have the fluid reservoir in the scrotum and three piece use the abdominal wall. 

Semi Rigid Rods 

Semi rigid rods are said to be a reliable and predictable way to restore erections. Unlike inflatable implants which can take firm and flaccid states, the rods placed inside the penis always stay firm. The firm rods can be bent into place (away from the body) to create an erection. When the individual wants to retract their erection they can bend the rods back towards their body.

Pros and Cons of Surgeries and Medicinal Procedures

Pros Cons
May bring life-changing benefits should surgery be successful. One of the more invasive treatment options for erectile issues.
Erections available on demand. Erections available on demand.
May not be suitable for everyone based on medical history.

What should you consider when Choosing a Viagra Alternative?

Whether you’re exploring alternative pharmaceutical options or want to go down a ‘natural’ route you need to have the right information at hand. This section explores a few points you may want to consider when selecting an appropriate Viagra alternative.

Speak to your doctor

When looking for an alternative to Viagra, doing so under medical supervision is the best place to start. For many, improved sexual function may be the goal of finding a Viagra alternative. For those who haven’t consulted a doctor before, they may find that a sexual dysfunction or other health complication is damaging their sexual capability. 

When looking for an alternative to Viagra, doing so under medical supervision is the best place to start

A full medical examination is likely to be required for an ED diagnosis. for A doctor may be able to help you find the root cause of your issue, or advise on your suitability to Viagra alternatives in line with your medical history. 

Be aware of side effects

If you have consulted a doctor, one of the things they may have discussed are potential side effects. For some people, the side effects of Viagra may be the reason they’re seeking out an alternative medication. Adverse effects (AE) may occur when starting, stopping or increasing a dose of medication.

Just like Viagra, the medicinal alternatives in this article are also drugs and many of which may lead to adverse effects.

When discussing the alternative options with your doctor, be sure that you’re made aware of the side effects of each Viagra alternative and how they may affect you based on your health history. 

It should be noted that more natural options as well as changes to lifestyle habits may also lead to side effects (e.g. injury from exercise or withdrawal symptoms from alcohol use). 

Choose an alternative you’re comfortable with

Although you will need to consult a doctor for a professional opinion, ultimately finding a suitable Viagra alternative will mean choosing an option you’re comfortable with. 

For example, your comfort levels may be formed by a combination of your doctor's advice, your preferred method of administering the alternative and any potential side effects. Ultimately, whichever option you choose needs to be one that you’re comfortable with and that meets your needs. 

Summary

For individuals who want the benefits of Viagra without taking the drug, the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives available. Alternatives may exist in the form of other pharmaceutical options, natural alternatives, penis pumps or surgical procedures.

There may be a possibility that erectile issues are improved with a change in lifestyle habits and without the need for a Viagra alternative. 

Before you use a Viagra alternative, you should always consult a medical professional for guidance. Although this article is intended to be informative, it cannot be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. 

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