What If Viagra Doesn’t Work: Things to Try

Launched in the market in 1998, many men over 50 gave Viagra (Sildenafil) a try, in hopes of having better performance in bed. But what if Viagra doesn’t work?

Well, impotence is linked to psychological problems as well as diabetes. Apparently, Viagra is also found to be disadvantageous for men with heart problems.

Either the pill doesn’t work, or the user suffers from terrible headaches or palpitations.

With that, it’s clear that Viagra isn’t always the answer. And so, in this article, we explore the reasons behind its limitations and the alternatives currently available.

Why Does Viagra Fail?

Although Viagra is proven effective in treating erectile dysfunction, 30 to 35 percent of patients fail to notice any improvements (1).

Reasons for failure include severe erectile dysfunction, incorrect drug usage, penile atherosclerosis, psychosocial problems and factors, and hypogonadism.

Men with low testosterone are also advised against taking Viagra.

According to urologist Geoffrey Hackett, Viagra on its own cannot solve low testosterone levels. Instead, he recommends testosterone replacement therapy, which could be expensive.

Interestingly, health issues aren’t the only things that can prevent the drug from offering any noticeable benefits.

Alcohol and fine dining, for example, don’t work well with sildenafil. Eating a lot reduces the chances of the drug getting absorbed by your body.

Do these mean you’ll just have to let yourself have erectile dysfunction forever? Don’t worry, as we rounded up natural alternatives to the blue pill.

While they may not work as instantly as sildenafil, they are as effective and definitely safer.

Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common complaints of older men around the world.

It is so common that when Viagra was released some 30 years ago, it instantly became popular and started garnering billions of sales each year—but what should you do when Viagra doesn’t work for you?

This article explains the top reasons why Viagra can be ineffective and explores other options you can try in lieu of this little blue pill.

Top Three Most Common Reasons Why Viagra Won’t Work

Before trying out another alternative regimen, first, explore the possible reasons why Viagra has been ineffective for you.

Cause #1 – Taking It Wrong

One common reason is the inappropriate use of the drug. Double-check your prescription if you’re taking the right drug at the right time and at the right dosage.

Viagra, with the generic name Sildenafil, has a max dose of 100mg. If you were prescribed a lower dose, you can consult your physician and ask if the dose can be increased.

Note as well that Viagra works after 30-60 minutes only, so the timing of intake is important.

Cause #2 – Other Health Conditions

Some patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, and diabetes can develop erectile dysfunction (1).

This condition should be addressed first because it can result in a poor response to Viagra.

Cause #3 – Stress and Environment

Psychological issues may also hinder the effectivity of Viagra. It might help to stay in a calmer environment and minimize stress levels since stress also contributes to erectile dysfunction.

If you are troubled about the complications and side effects of taking the little blue pill, you can share these sentiments to your physician and they will gladly educate you that Viagra is proven safe and effective (2).

Top 11 Alternatives When Viagra Doesn’t Work

If these did not address your problem, it might be time to look for an alternative treatment. Outlined below are five great alternatives for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

#1. DHEA

This acronym stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and which can be made from soy and wild yam.

A study conducted among aging males in Massachusetts showed that men with erectile dysfunction possibly had low DHEA levels (2).

Thus, receiving DHEA, even just a minimum amount of 50mg can already produce an erection.

#2. Red Ginseng

Aside from demonstrating its effects on diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, red ginseng is also known to treat erectile dysfunction (3).

Traditionally, Korean red ginseng is used to enhance a person’s well-being. But herbal medications also use red ginseng to boost sexual function.

Moreover, the administration of red ginseng is found superior to placebo and trazodone (4). What makes red ginseng effective is saponin extract, which targets the smooth muscles of erectile tissues.

Red ginseng is also known to increase your alertness, lessen the severity of heart diseases, and prevent colds.

#3. L-Arginine

Commonly found in chicken, fish, red meat, and dairy products, L-arginine is recommended to people with chest pains, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and dementia.

Men benefit from L-Arginine because it treats erectile dysfunction. In a clinical study, five out of 30 patients who received L-arginine reported a significant change in their erection (5).

Although there were no known side effects of taking oral L-Arginine, it is not advisable to take it alongside Viagra.

#4. Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba increases the flow of blood to your penis, which in turn improves erection. The herb also boosts your libido. However, there are contraindications to people with bleeding disorders.

Still, the administration of Gingko Biloba extract enhances the health of nerves and protects nerve fibers even after an injury.

Gingko is also beneficial in the treatment of erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy (6).

#5. Yohimbine

Yohimbine comes from an African tree bark and is perhaps the most controversial and problematic treatment for ED.

Although it can replace Viagra when the latter doesn’t work, yohimbine is still known as a drug that treats depression.

Taking yohimbine has its share of adverse effects, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and palpitations.

Men over 50, or those with a history of cardiovascular problems, are discouraged from taking yohimbine supplements.

#6. Maca Root

This herb belongs to the kale and broccoli family.

In an experiment conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital, it was found that taking 3000 mg of maca can improve sexual function and ease erectile dysfunction.

However, there are few clinical studies conducted on humans to prove their efficacy. And if the Andean root does have any positive effect on erection, it may also coincide with some psychological factors, making it difficult for physicians to find substantial evidence.

#7. A Different Prescription Drug

If Viagra does not work, you can ask your physician to switch to another drug. Other medications that work similarly to Viagra include Cialis (Tadalafil) and Levitra (Vardenafil).

These drugs, like Viagra, are phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors that work by keeping your blood vessels open and allowing better blood flow to the penis.

Good blood flow is needed for a satisfactory erection, and these meds help sustain this erection for longer.

These drugs are equally effective, but Cialis lasts longer while Vardenafil is more potent (3). You might find yourself responding differently to these drugs, so they’re definitely worth giving a try.

#8. Injection Therapy

If tablets won’t do, the next best option is to try out penile injections. These injections make use of a drug called Alprostadil, with brand names Edex and Caverject.

Alprostadil is also a vasodilator, which means it dilates blood vessels to help blood flow more easily.

The drug is injected into the body of the penis, and after 5-10 minutes you are expected to develop an erection. The erection can last for as long as an hour.

Side effects may include pain and bleeding at the injection site, painful or prolonged erection, and scarring.

These are not common but with all cases, they might happen. If the symptoms worsen, don’t hesitate to call your physician at once.

#9. Urethral Suppository

Another option is the Medicated Urethral System for Erection or MUSE. MUSE makes use of the same drug in injection therapy, Alprostadil.

However, this time, Alprostadil is introduced in the form of suppositories.

The MUSE pellet is inserted at the tip of the penis and is allowed to be absorbed. The effects can be noted as soon as 10 minutes after.

Although it’s easier to insert a suppository than inject, MUSE does not work as well as its injection counterpart.

This might be a good treatment choice, however, for those who would rather not deal with needles.

#10. Vacuum Erection Devices

Vacuum erection devices (VED) consist of three parts: a vacuum cylinder, a pump, and constriction rings.

After applying lubricant, the cylinder is placed over the penis, with the constriction rings positioned at the cylinder’s base.

The pump is then activated to create a vacuum that draws blood to flow into the penis, leading to an erection within 2-3 minutes. The constriction rings are placed at the base of the penis to keep the vacuum in place.

Compared to the first three options, VED is the least invasive. It does not use any drug and is devoid of pharmacologic side effects.

Studies have shown that VEDs are effective in over 60% of patients (4,5), however, some tend to dislike VEDs since they can be cumbersome to set up.

#11. Penile Implant

From the least invasive option, we’re now going to the most invasive of them all—the penile implant also called penile prostheses.

Penile implants are hollow tube-shaped devices that are surgically placed inside the penis. Once inside, they can be manually inflated via a small pump placed in the scrotum.

People tend to favor implants because they’re easier to operate and you can produce erections for as long as you want. Moreover, it doesn’t wear off like Viagra since it relies on a physical mechanism.

The downside to this method, however, is that it causes changes to the anatomy of the penis, hence injections and suppositories might not be as effective anymore after getting implants.

Recap: What to Do If Viagra Won’t Work?

Viagra is a wonder drug for erectile dysfunction that has been around for decades, but unfortunately, not everyone responds to it.

In cases like this, it is important to first investigate the possible reasons why the drug does not work as expected.

Once you’ve ruled out other possible causes, you can try switching to a different drug.

You can also try other alternatives like injection therapy, urethral suppositories, vacuum erection devices, and penile prostheses.

However, note that all these should be done with the go-signal of your physician. After all, your doctor will be the one to know which among the options is best for you.

Are There Other Things You Can Do?

It is always best to consult your doctor before taking any supplements, whether or not they are natural and organic.

There may be ingredients that contradict the actions of Viagra. At any rate, you may complement natural remedies with these tried-and-tested methods for improved sexual function.

You may try Cialis on small doses. Five mg of Cialis daily can already have significant effects on your erection. Moreover, the effects of Cialis last far longer than Viagra.

Changing your lifestyle helps, too. Eating healthy food reduces the risk of clogged arteries and diabetes, which are known causes of erectile dysfunction. Regular exercise also improves blood circulation and keeps your overall health in check.

Quitting smoking is essential, too. As much as possible, reduce stressful activities and continue engaging in sex. Fighting negative thoughts and other psychological factors could at least give you partial erections.

Acupuncture is another alternative treatment for managing erectile dysfunction (7). Its efficacy was evaluated in a pilot study of 16 patients who underwent acupuncture sessions for four weeks.

After the experiment, there was indeed an improvement in the patients’ quality of erection. Other patients reported a positive change in their sexual activity.

Nevertheless, research in this aspect is still limited, and conclusions are yet to be drawn.

When Sildenafil Doesn’t Work: Alternatives Exist

Erectile dysfunction can seriously affect your lifestyle, mood, and relationships.

Viagra used to be the top remedy, but sometimes it just isn’t the right solution.

You don’t have to lose hope, for you can try natural supplements, complement them with healthy eating, regular exercise, and a stress-free lifestyle.

Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can contribute as well. You may also want to try Cialis, another pill substitute for sildenafil.

What if Viagra doesn’t work?

Well, you finally know the answer—with the solutions outlined here, erectile dysfunction doesn’t have to be the end of your sex life.

If you have any questions or would like to share the alternative method you’ve tried when Viagra doesn’t work, leave them in the comments below!

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