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Male enhancement pills have not been proven by research to increase size, stamina, or the duration of an erection. Research-approved alternatives may help if you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction.
If you’re seeking ways to increase your penis size or libido, you may be interested in taking male enhancement pills. But while these products often advertise penis enlargement and enhanced performance, there’s limited research supporting these claims.
If you’re interested in male enhancement pills because you’re having difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection that you consider satisfactory, you should speak with your primary care doctor or a urologist to determine if erectile dysfunction (ED) could be the reason.
While ED is most common among older men, a
The male enhancement pills that are available on the market today are often labeled as dietary supplements. They claim to increase blood flow to the penis in order to increase the duration of an erection. They also claim to boost overall arousal, stamina, and performance.
Many male enhancement pills use a combination of natural ingredients, which can include:
- ashwagandha, a shrub typically used in Ayurvedic medicine
- maca root, a native Peruvian plant
- Yohimbe extract, a Western African herbal supplement
- black ginger extract, the stem of a Thai plant called Kaempferia parviflora
Individually, popular belief claims the effectiveness of these ingredients. For example, a
But there’s no data to directly support the effectiveness of male enhancement pills.
“I always caution patients about these medications, as many of them haven’t been studied in a controlled manner,” says E. Charles Osterberg, MD, FACS, a board certified urologist.
Because most male enhancement pills are not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no scientific evidence to back up their claims.
While there have been studies on similar ingredients and their effectiveness in treating ED, the research does not support the effectiveness that male enhancement pills claim to have.
A slightly older
According to Osterberg, psychogenic ED is when the erectile tissue and properties work just fine, “but there may be some other reason why that individual’s having trouble with erections, whether it be performance anxiety, stress, or situation related.”
Even in the case of psychogenic ED, it’s best to consult a doctor who can recommend the best next steps.
The FDA released a
The FDA also maintains an updated list of tainted sexual enhancement products on its
The risks of taking male enhancement pills are high. Many male enhancement pills aren’t transparent about their ingredients. Taking pills with unknown ingredients could result in serious side effects, especially if they interact with other medications or supplements you’re taking.
Before trying any new supplements or herbal medicines, you should speak with a doctor to determine what ingredients are in them and how they could potentially affect you — especially if you’re taking other medications.
Erectile dysfunction medication
If you’re experiencing difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection, speak with a doctor about getting a prescription for an ED medication, such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.
These medications are proven to be effective in the treatment of ED. In an older but widely cited
Hims offers several ED medications, including pills for one-time use and those for daily use. Hims carries brand names, like Viagra and Cialis, and the generic versions — sildenafil and tadalafil.
After completing an evaluation and connecting with one of their medical professionals, your treatment will be delivered directly to you.
Cost: A $5 fee is charged with each first purchase. The cost for Hims products will vary depending on the type of medication you’re wanting, whether it’s a brand name or generic, and how many pills you’re buying. Hims gives these starting points for prescription prices:
- Sildenafil (generic for Viagra): from $3 per use
- Viagra: $70 per use
- Tadalafil (active ingredient in Cialis): $82 per month
- Cialis: $958 per month
- Avanafil (Stendra): from $53 per pill
Safety: The prescription drugs offered by Hims are FDA-approved medications. They must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. However, Hims does sell other nonprescription items that have not been approved by the FDA.
How to use: Depending on the medication prescribed, you will take the pills daily or within a few hours of intercourse.
Lemonaid offers Viagra, Cialis, and Cialis Daily, as well as generic sildenafil and tadalafil to treat ED. After choosing which medication you’re interested in getting prescribed, you’ll need to answer a health questionnaire. You’ll also need to take your blood pressure and fill in your blood pressure reading.
Lemonaid’s medical team will review your info, and you may be required to meet over video, depending on your state.
Cost: You will pay a one-time $25 fee for your first visit. After that, your prescription costs are:
- Sildenafil (generic for Viagra): from $2 per pill
- Viagra: $25-65 per pill
- Tadalafil daily (active ingredient in Cialis): $50
- Tadalafil: $65 per 10 pills
- Vardenafil (generic for Levitra): $50 per pill
Safety: Lemonaid Health’s prescription medications are FDA-approved pills that are packaged and delivered in the United States.
How to use: The ED medications can be taken daily or within hours of intercourse. The right type of medication for you will depend on your lifestyle and health history. A Lemonaid doctor or licensed healthcare professional will use your health history and symptom history to decide on the best medication for you.
Roman offers both brand-name and generic versions of Viagra, Cialis, and Cialis Daily.
After a free online evaluation, users will receive a follow-up message in a secure portal from a medical professional to prescribe treatment. Ongoing follow-ups and treatment adjustments are free.
Cost. The consultations at Roman are free, but there are prescription costs:
- Sildenafil (generic for Viagra): from $2 per pill
- generic Viagra: $34 per pill
- Viagra: $70 per pill
- Tadalafil (active ingredient in Cialis): from $11
- Tadalafil daily: $8 per month
- Cialis: from $17 per dose
- Cialis daily: $13 per month
Safety. Roman acts as the connection between you and a healthcare professional. You will submit a questionnaire, and then you’re scheduled for an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare professional. The ED pills are FDA-approved drugs, which provides reassurance that you’re not purchasing counterfeit medications.
How to use. When you take the medication will depend on the type of medication the medical professional prescribes for you. Some ED medications are taken daily. Others should be taken within a few hours of intercourse.
If you’re looking for a noninvasive option, consider a wearable device like Eddie by Giddy.
Eddie is an FDA-registered class II medical device. The tension band is designed to trap blood flow in the penis to maintain a longer erection. It should be removed after 30 minutes of wear.
The band comes in four sizes, and the open-bottom design is designed to protect the urethra and avoid injuries.
Cost. $150–$190 per device; subscriptions available
Safety. Eddie is a Class II medical device. (That means it is registered with the FDA, but it’s not approved by the agency.) Class II devices have fewer requirements than Class I devices. For example, human testing is not required. However, some people prefer to use devices over medications because of the lower potential for side effects when properly used.
How to use. Place the Eddie at the base of the penis, in front of the testicles. Turn the U-shaped device upside down and wrap a tension band around the ends. The red band provides the most tension; the blue band is less tight.
Penile surgery is only recommended for functional reasons, like correcting a developmental issue or treating an injury. Surgery is not recommended for lengthening, implants, or cosmetic purposes.
In fact, there’s no surgical way to truly lengthen the penis. There’s a procedure that involves cutting the suspensory ligament of the penis. This can lead to an apparent increase in length, but without this ligament, the penis is no longer tethered to the pubic bone and has no anchor, so to speak.
Penile prosthesis surgery is sometimes done for severe cases of ED, but this does not lengthen the penis and will leave the head of the penis flaccid. In many cases, a penile prosthesis can actually result in some penile shortening, although newer models have tried to address this issue.
Penile surgery for correction of severe curvature can actually lead to penile shortening.
Cost: The cost of surgery will depend on several factors, including:
- type of surgery
- insurance coverage (if any)
- whether medical professionals have in-network designation
- your deductible or copayments
- where you live
Safety: All surgeries carry some risk. Most surgeries for erectile dysfunction are designed to correct an issue, not enlarge the penis or lengthen it. The pro/con balance may depend on how much the development issue or injury interferes with your day-to-day life or your sexual function. If either is significantly impacted, surgery may be the best option, despite the risks.
Vacuum pumps, also known as penis pumps, are tubes that fit over the penis and remove air, which increases blood flow to achieve an erection. This device can temporarily make your penis appear larger, as it causes swelling.
But if it’s not used correctly or used too frequently, the vacuum pump runs the risk of damaging the elastic tissue. This can affect erections long term.
An extender, or penile traction device, is noninvasive and designed to stretch the penis. A
But not enough research has been done on the safety of these devices. Long-term use could potentially cause bruising or nerve damage from too much stretching.
Male enhancement lotions and creams often contain similar ingredients as male enhancement pills, like herbs and vitamins.
There’s no evidence to prove these lotions are effective. Depending on the ingredients, they may even be harmful, and they could potentially result in serious side effects or skin reactions.
Since there’s a large risk involved when taking male enhancement pills, we do not recommend adding any new supplements to your diet without consulting a doctor or primary care practitioner first. There are safer alternatives to male enhancement pills, like doctor-prescribed ED medications and wearable devices.
Regardless of your age, if you are experiencing the symptoms of ED, it’s worth talking with your doctor to discuss your options and investigate what might be causing this recent change. ED can develop as the result of a physical health issue, a mental health concern, or a sudden change to your lifestyle and routine.
Talking with your doctor to rule out some of the more common causes of ED can help them get a better idea of what treatment options might work best for you. For example, while Viagra and Cialis are two of the most popular medications for ED, if your symptoms are stemming from a change in your nutition, increased stress at home, or depression, than a PDE5 inhibitor like Viagra and Cialis isn’t likely to help you.
If you are also considering adding herbal supplements or male enchancement pills to you daily routine, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor first. They will have a better understanding of their effectiveness and how they stack up against other treatments. In fact, if there are ingriedents that your doctor thinks that you would benefit from taking, they may be able to recommend and offer it to you in a safer and better regulated form.
Do male enhancement pills work?
This depends on what type of male enhancement pill you’re referring to. FDA-approved medications, like Viagra and Cialis, have been shown to be very successful in the treatment of ED.
Other enhancement pills, such as those that claim to improve sexual performance or increase penis size, have not been shown to be successful in research. What’s more, many of these medications are not regulated by the FDA, and they may contain a dangerous combination of ingredients.
Is it OK to buy male enhancement pills online?
No, many online pharmacies and stores are often marketing counterfeit pills. These pills are unsafe, unregulated, and untested.
For example, a
If you’re looking to take medication to improve sexual performance, speak with a doctor or other healthcare professional about legal, prescription options.
Are male enhancement pills safe?
The male enhancement pills prescribed by a clinician and provided by a licensed pharmacy are safe. These pills are FDA approved and regulated.
Other male enhancement pills may not be safe. These pills are often considered dietary supplements, and they have not been reviewed or tested by the FDA. They could interact with medications you’re taking. They may also contain dangerous combinations of ingredients.
What are the side effects of male enhancement pills?
Like any medication, male enhancement pills can cause side effects. The most common include:
These pills can also interact with other medications you may be taking. If you experience any issues when taking male enhancement pills, stop taking the pills, and consult your doctor.
There’s no evidence to prove that male enhancement pills work to increase penis size or improve performance. Many pills can actually be harmful since some brands are not fully transparent about their ingredients.
If you’re experiencing issues with achieving or maintaining an erection, you may have ED and should speak with a medical professional to determine treatment options. There are several ED medications available, and they all require a prescription.
It’s always a good idea to speak with a primary care physician, a urologist, or other healthcare professional before trying new medications or if you feel like you may be experiencing ED. ED can be an indication of an underlying medical condition.