The stigma to discuss dysfunctions in male sexual health is no secret. Dysfunctions aside, do we even discuss just the idea of sex and pleasure vocally?
Issues like erectile dysfunction are rarely discussed, but more common than you image – leading to men using 'supplements' as remedies, without consulting a specialist.
Can these supplements have severe side-effects? When should one use them? To answer certain queries around this topic, FIT spoke to Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health, and Dr Ajith Partha, MBBS, DPM (Diploma in psychiatric medicine), Kindly.
What are sex enhancing supplements?
Sex enhancement pills are supposed to increase blood flow to the penis, to help users get and maintain an erection, consequently boosting sexual desire and performance.
"While there are myriad sex enhancing supplements in the market to opt from, segregating reliable sources in the current health market scenario can prove to be the real challenge."Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health
Known to primarily consist of arginine amino acids, they ensure sufficient blood flow pumped into the reproductive organs as well as the other parts of the body.
"Herbs like tribulus, red ginseng, fenugreek, ginkgo biloba etc are known to improve the overall body blood circulation & better functioning of the reproductive organs," says Dr Bhandari.
When can one take these supplements? Is it only meant to be used for issues like erectile dysfunction?
Dr Bhandari says that "sex enhancing supplement are accessible and available for everyone, and at anytime – on a general basis, even." But one should use it upon consultation with an expert.
It is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or even fertility issues. But can also be used to improve overall health and sex appeal. With an upsurge in the testosterone levels, this is beneficial to the overall sexual health and well-being of both males and females.
Do these supplements affect fertility?
Often labeled as dietary supplements, male enhancement pills claim to boost sexual performance by increasing testosterone levels, improving erections, enhancing libido, and more.
According to Dr Ajith Partha: "Most of the supplements are sold by unauthorised people. Every medicine has some side-effect, the magnitude of the effect can vary and sex enchancement supplements are no different."
"Considering some people experience difficulty conceiving as a result of erectile or orgasmic dysfunction, male enhancement pills may help, because they allow a couple to have intercourse to ejaculate. However, ingredients in some male enhancement pills may have negative effects on fertility."Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health.
The adverse effects could be acidity, diarrhoea, mild headache or drowsiness. While these aren’t too serious, they can be easily resolved.
Young men sometimes indulge in sex enhancing supplements recreationally. How does it affect the body?
Dr Chirag Bhandari says, "People are more extensively aware of sexual performance of men in general given the click-of-a-button informative world, and lot of young men consume supplements like viagra etc. on a regular basis before getting intimate with a prospective partner."
However, perpetually relying on these supplements to up one’s sexual performance gets the individual more accustomed to the idea of utilising these supplements, considering the after effects lead to longer-lasting erections linked to an intimate satisfaction.
"With being addicted to the usage of these supplements, sexual activeness and performance can’t be organically feasible without the supplement rush to kick in."Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health.
Furthermore, these addictions come with their own risks like:
Headache or light-headedness
Redness of eye
While these aren’t as visible in nature, some men get deeply impacted by these supplements leading to drastic anxiety or panic attacks. While a physician’s prescription is always recommended, not doing so could lead to hypertension – the sudden blood pressure drop which could prove to be fatal.
According to Dr Ajith, "Viagra causes coronary steal phenomenon, where it steals the blood from cardiac supply to increase it in the penile gland. This can cause sudden deaths and is most common when taken without a prescription or when taken in overdose."
What are the (daily food) dietary sex enhancing options? Are they as effective as the pills?
While dietary sex enhancing supplements aren’t as effective as pills, they sure will substantially improve the sexual health and overall well-being, with a well-balanced diet.
People who dedicatedly follow the Mediterranean diet lifestyle are sexually more active.Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health.
A diet that keeps the sexual health intact would be the Mediterranean diet which is rich in pulses, legumes, salads and olive oil, filled with the good fat which are good for the holistic body metabolism and immunity.
Furthermore, increasingly consuming carbohydrates and food high on sugar intake can impact your sexual health and overall well-being, so it is best avoided, or consumed in moderation.
What are the safest supplementary options for men?
Arginine is one component scientifically proven and effective in enhancing the overall sexual drive.
"While to maintain a balanced sexual health, one needs between 5-9 grams of arginine on a daily basis, a doctor or physician’s recommendation is highly needed to validate the body requirement, which differs from person to person."Dr Chirag Bhandari, Founder of Institute of Andrology and Sexual Health.