The use of penile support device such as penile cast worn externally during intercourse has been tried to provide length and rigidity to the penile shaft (24). Each device can be customised to the patient’s penile size and provided an option for patients who are seeking non-pharmaceutical/non-invasive treatment, or have end-organ failure who may not be candidates for, or unable to afford, penile prosthesis implant.
The polyphenol- and antioxidant-rich pomegranate is said to aid blood circulation, help reduce stress, reduce oxidative stress in diabetics, is anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and much more. It is also believed to effectively protect men against erectile dysfunction and even male infertility. A study using a rabbit model of ED measured the effect of pomegranate juice concentrate on intracavernous blood flow and penile erection. The study found that consuming 3.87 mL pomegranate juice concentrate daily for eight weeks significantly increased intracavernous blood flow and smooth muscle relaxation, probably because of its antioxidant effect. No wonder then that pomegranate juice is yet another popular natural remedy for ED.11
Korean red ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng or Chinese ginseng, is believed to be a highly effective natural remedy for treating ED. It is a traditional Asian remedy for sexual dysfunction and is widely used in the United States. Studies have shown that red ginseng can have significant therapeutic effects on penile rigidity and girth, libido, and patient satisfaction. It also has a reassuring safety profile, making it one of the most popular and proven natural remedy for ED.12
In Eastern medicine, animal products are commonly used for their perceived health benefits. The philosophy “like nourishes like”, suggests that consuming the organ of an animal will bring benefits to the corresponding organ in one’s body is a common belief. Men seeking greater potency have turned to eating penises from goats, bull, deer, horses, seals and other mammals in the form of cooked dishes or herbal preparations. While there is no scientific evidence supporting this practice, the cultural beliefs remain strong and supplements containing extracts from animal penises are readily available in the form of capsules, often mixed with herbal compounds pitching similar erectogenic properties. A significant proportion of these potency-inducing supplements in Asia have been found to contain PDE5-inhibitors substrates such as tadalafil and sildenafil (30). However uncontrolled use of illicit PDE5-inhibitors under the guise of natural supplements remains a health threat to the general public.
During sexual stimulation, sexual thoughts, or nocturnal erections, the neurotransmitter nitric oxide (NO) is released from the endothelial cells and the parasympathetic nerve terminal causing relaxation of two cylinder-like muscles called the corpora carvenosum. Nitric oxide influences an increase in concentrations of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which after numerous pathways triggers smooth muscle relaxation, and simultaneous closing of small veins traps blood in the cavernosal muscles, keeping blood in the cavernosal tissues that cause and maintain an erection.
L-arginine, or arginine, is an amino acid found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products that helps expand blood vessels and increase blood flow. “The body uses this semi-essential amino acid as the primary building block for nitric oxide,” explains Harry Fisch, M.D., clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital.