Prescription Drugs And Erectile Dysfunction: 5 Drugs Keeping Men Down
These five categories of drugs may cause erectile dysfunction.
Most men who take prescription medications know that they’re going to come with a list of side effects, which usually include drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, or upset stomach. Sometimes, they’re a bit more serious, encompassing everything from skin irritation to allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. But most of these guys forget one of the more unwanted side effects: erectile dysfunction.
Around the country, erectile dysfunction, or simply ED, affects as many as 30 million men, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Though this figure probably doesn’t include all those men taking prescription meds, they certainly experience the same effects, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a decreased quality of life. Nevertheless, it’s important to know which medications may cause these side effects, and speak to a doctor about possible alternatives — or just prepare to have trouble keeping it up. Here are five of them.
It’s interesting that benzodiazepines, which are commonly used for anxiety — but also seizures and insomnia — can cause ED, and thus further anxiety. In fact, you’ll find that it’s a running theme. Anxiety is well known to cause ED, as increased levels of stress harm the body and take away from a man’s libido.
Though common benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Librium, may help calm a man’s anxieties through sedative effects, they may also end up lowering a man’s desire to have sex, as well as his ability to stay erect.
Another condition that causes ED in itself, major depression affected an estimated 16 million adults in 2012. Antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and even long-term pain. One of the major forms of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are comprised of the drugs Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro.
Up to 60 percent of people taking SSRIs may experience ED, according to Medscape. Though it’s unclear how it causes ED, experts suspect it relates to the way the drugs influence function of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of which relate to feelings of well-being.
High blood pressure damages blood vessels, including those in a man’s penis; causing ED. But beta blockers, one of the drugs most commonly prescribed to people who have blood pressure, may also cause them to experience ED. Drugs that fall into this category include Sectral, Lopressor, Cogard, and Tenormin.
Just like antidepressants, these drugs also affect neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically epinephrine (adrenaline). In this particular case, they counteract the stimulatory effects of the molecule, tamping down on a person’s excitement. At the same time, some evidence suggests beta blockers also messes with the areas of a man’s nervous system that make him erect.
Millions of men suffer from allergies, but some of the most common drugs, such as Benadryl and Dramamine, may be causing them to have ED, too. Though it’s unclear exactly how it causes ED, personal accounts of its effects suggest that it could alter the way men’s nervous systems react to stimulation around the penis. It also seems to be temporary, with sensation coming back gradually after ending use.
Also called H2-receptor antagonists, this category of drugs include the popular heartburn drugs Zantac and Pepcid. They’re used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
For the most part, they cause ED when taken in high doses, and the drug Tagamet (cimetidine) is most likely to give men problems. Along with Ed and a decreased libido, they can also lower a man’s sperm count.
Though life on these drugs may seem grim within the sexual arena, taking them is important for treating whatever disease a doctor has prescribed them for. Also, by talking with a doctor about alternative treatments, lowering doses, or taking supplements, anyone who takes these drugs may be able to get some of their sexual health back.
So what do you do?
As always give us a call. The answer to many of the symptoms described here, which started someone on the cycle of various prescriptions, can be treated and reversed with other ways. Taking a chemical to treat a symptom is only going to cause more problems for you.
Known to build confidence and enhance your mood, bergamot oil is also used to kill bacteria, heal scars and minimize marks on the skin. Bergamot oil is also used to reduce pain from headaches and muscle tension as well as stimulate hormonal and digestive juices. Yes, no one-trick pony!
Where does bergamot oil come from? Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit and its scientific name is Citrus Bergamia. It’s defined as a hybrid between a sour orange and lemon, or a mutation of lemon.
The oil is taken from the peel of the fruit and used to make medicine. It’s derived through cold compression, which is different than the steam distillation of many other essential oils. The oil is commonly used in black tea, which is called Earl Grey.
Although its roots can be traced back to Southeast Asia, bergamot was more widely cultivated in the southern part of Italy. Bergamot essential oil was even named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where it was originally sold. Bergamot oil is also produced in the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Morocco.
In traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly. It’s also used to soothe indigestion and gas.
Bergamot essential oil is one of the main constituents for manufacturing perfumes due to its ability to balance the mix of aromas and harmonize all of the essences, enhancing the fragrance. It’s also used by the pharmaceutical industry, both to absorb the unpleasant smells of medicinal products and for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Bergamot Oil Benefits the Whole Body
There are a number of a surprising health benefits from using bergamot essential oil as a natural remedy. Bergamot oil is antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It’s uplifting, improves your digestion and keeps your system working properly.
Some of the most common benefits of bergamot essential oil include:
releases emotional pain
works as a powerful antidepressant
relieves joint and muscle pain
aids digestive system
soothes skin irritations
works as a sedative
cleanses oily skin
kills germs and bacteria
Bergamot Oil Uses
Antidepressant — Depression can manifest with a variety of different symptoms, including fatigue, sad mood, low sex drive, lack of appetite, feelings of helplessness and disinterest in common activities. Antidepressant medications have serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts, weight gain and personality changes. The good news is there are all-natural remedies for depression that are effective and get to the root cause of the problem. This includes components of bergamot essential oil that are antidepressant and stimulating. They create a feeling of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of your blood. Use bergamot oil by rubbing 2–3 drops into your hands and cupping your mouth and nose. Breathe in the oil slowly. Try rubbing the oil on your feet and stomach too.
Stimulates hormonal secretions — Bergamot oil helps maintain proper metabolic rates by stimulating hormonal secretions, digestive juices, bile and insulin. This aids the digestive system and enables proper absorption of nutrients. These juices also assimilate the breakdown of sugar and can lower blood pressure. This benefits neurological and mental conditions as well. Just breathing in bergamot oil stimulates these juices — you can try using an oil diffuser or burner, or you can add 2–3 drops of oil to your temples or abdomen.
Cures infections — Bergamot oil is used in skin soaps because it inhibits the growth of germs, fungi and virus. When you apply the oil to your skin or hair, you reduce the risk of infection and won’t notice the shine come through. Bergamot oil also cures infections of the intestines, kidneys, colon and urinary tract. To take advantage of this amazing benefit, drink Earl Grey tea or rub bergamot oil onto your throat, abdomen and feet. Using a oil vaporizer is also a great option — the scent of bergamot oil alone can have a tremendous impact.
Relieves stress — Bergamot oil is a relaxant — it reduces nervous tension and feelings of stress and anxiety. This powerful oil can stimulate hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which create feelings of sedation and relaxation. Relieve stress and anxiety by using bergamot oil in a diffuser or oil burner. The smell of the oil leads to a feeling of ease and contentment. (1)
Reduces pain — Because bergamot essential oil increases hormone secretions, it lessens the sensitively of nerves that create pain. For this reason, bergamot oil is a great way to reduce the symptoms of sprains, muscle aches and headaches. Instead of relying on pain killers that have nasty side effects, use this safe and natural oil to relieve pain and tension. Research shows that bergamot oil can be used in complementary medicine to minimize tension in the body. (2) To reduce pain, rub five drops of bergamot oil on sore muscles or where you feel tension.
Heals skin — Bergamot essential oil is used to minimize the look of scars and other marks on the skin; it tones the skin by making the supply of melanin even. These scars can be the result of acne or skin infections or irritations. To rid the skin of irritations, put five drops of bergamot oil on a cotton ball or pad and rub it on the infected area. You can also add 10 drops of bergmot oil to your warm bath water — the benefits of a bergamot oil bath go way beyond your skin. It’s great for your mood, hormonal balance and built-up tension.
Helps digestive system — Not only does bergamot oil stimulate the production of digestive juices, making the breakdown of foods in the digestive tract easier, it also stimulates muscle contractions in the intestines — quickening the digestive process by moving your waste through your intestines as your body absorbs nutrients. Some research even suggests that bergamot oil can be useful when fighting food poisoning because of its anti-bacterial properties. (3) Rub five drops of bergamot oil onto your stomach in order to ease digestive issues or regulate your appetite.
Deodorant — Bergamot oil prevents the growth of germs that cause body odor. The refreshing and citrusy smell of bergamot oil is used as a natural deodorant and air freshener. The strong scent eliminates odors on the body or in a room. You can add two–three drops of bergamot oil to the deodorant you already use every day, or you can even add the oil directly to your armpits. Many companies include bergamot oil in their perfumes and colognes. Try making your own fragrance with bergamot oil by combining it with your favorite scents. Some great options include lemon, cedarwood and sandalwood oils.
Reduces fever — Bergamot essential oil fights infections caused by harmful bacteria. It also reduces body temperature by alleviating stress and stimulating hormone secretions. The feeling of warmth that happens when your hormone levels are elevated leads to sweat, and this helps in reducing a fever.
Cavity protection — Bergamot oil helps infected teeth. It removes germs from your teeth when used as a mouthwash, and it protects your teeth from developing cavities. This is because of its germ-fighting properties, which make it extremely useful when fighting cavities. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil on your teeth, or add it to your toothpaste.
Kills intestinal worms — Because bergamot essential oil kills germs, it’s used to treat intestinal worms. Intestinal worms result in malnourishment and can cause anemia, which develops when you don’t have enough robust, healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Eliminating these worms, especially in young children, is a major benefit of using bergamot oil. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil into your hands, and rub it on your abdomen to kill infectious worms.
Protection from tetanus — Tetanus is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Bacterial spores are found in soil and house dust. If the spores enter a wound that penetrates the skin and extends deeper than oxygen can reach, they grow and produce a toxin that enters the bloodstream. Bergamot essential oil has disinfectant and antiseptic properties and the power to kill bacterium that lead to infections. Bergamot oil can keep wounds from becoming dangerously infected and therefore protects you from developing tetanus. Using a cotton ball, add five drops of bergamot oil and gently rub it onto the infected area.
Relieves congestion — Bergamot oil is an anticongestive, which means it relieves congestion and respiratory problems. This oil can be useful when battling a cold or cough. It loosens phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract and helps the body to eliminate this undesired buildup by sneezing and coughing. This helps the body eliminate the germs and toxins that develop in your body when sick. Use a vaporizer or oil burner, or rub five drops of bergamot oil into your hands and cup your mouth and nose. You can also try rubbing the oil on your throat and chest. In addition, you can consume bergamot oil by adding it to tea or drinking Earl Grey tea that already includes the oil.
Research, Unique Compounds and Studies
An interesting study notes that citrus extracts, particularly bergamot essential oil, exhibit anti-cancer properties, but the poor water solubility, low stability and limited bioavailability prevent the use of bergamot oil in cancer therapy.
To overcome such drawbacks, researchers formulated bergamot oil liposomes, or artificially prepared doses, that improve the water solubility of the natural chemical compounds and increase their anti-cancer activity in vitro against human cancer cells. The results need to be investigated further, but the use of bergamot oil on cancer patients is an exciting prospect and proves that essential oils are powerful natural remedies. (4)
Another interesting study conducted in 2011 hypothesizes that applying blended essential oil to participants helps in treating depression or anxiety. The blended essential oil consisted of lavender and bergamot oils, and participants were analyzed based on their blood pressure, pulse rates, breathing rates and skin temperature. In addition, subjects had to rate their emotional condition in terms of relaxation, vigor, calmness, attentiveness, mood and alertness in order to assess behavioral changes.
Compared with the placebo, blended essential oil caused significant decreases of pulse rate and blood pressure. At the emotional level, subjects in the blended essential oil group rated themselves as “more calm” and “more relaxed” than subjects in the control group. The investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils, and it provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans. (5)
Many colognes contain synthetic fragrances that can be toxic. Instead, try this Homemade Men’s Cologne recipe! It’s easy to make, and the bergamot oil provides health benefits while adding a warm and masculine smell.
Note: Citrus essentials oils are highly concentrated and full of healthy acidic properties! Because of this, we recommend you use glass containers when storing them so they don’t eat away any of the plastic.
HOMEMADE MEN’S COLOGNE
Total Time: 2 minutesServes: 30
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
3 drops bergamot essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
1/2 pint (300 milliliters) 70 percent alcohol or vodka
Glass roll on tube or glass cologne spray bottle
Mix all ingredients together and store in a bottle
Adding bergamot essential oil to my Homemade Conditioner recipe is a great way to hydrate your hair, especially if it’s naturally oily. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Bergamot oil removes germs from your hair and scalp, and leaves you feeling calm and serene.
You can also add bergamot oil to your shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, body wash and body lotion. Two–to–five drops of oil benefits your skin, teeth and hair.
Remember that bergamot oil is an ingredient in Earl Grey tea. If you want to take advantage of the amazing benefits of this powerful oil, drink tea with bergamot oil daily. It can impact your digestion, hormonal secretions, mood and appearance.
BERGAMOT OIL SIDE EFFECTS
Bergamot essential oil is safe for most people when added to food or applied topically in small amounts. Although the oil has been used extensively for many years, there are only been a few reports of phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil. (6)
It may make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer — people who work with bergamot can develop skin problems, including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun and cancerous changes.
Because bergamot oil might increase your sensitivity to sunlight, applying it topically along with medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun, especially if you use these types of medications.
There have been serious side effects in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil, and it shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.
Bergamot oil may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This could affect blood sugar control and cause blood sugar levels to go too low. If you use bergamot oil and have diabetes, make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. If you are scheduled to have surgery, stop using bergamot oil at least two weeks beforehand — it may interfere with blood sugar control during the procedure.
Bacon and chocolate. Chili and peanut butter. Some unlikely combinations end up working well together. But when it comes to diet and drugs, the wrong pairing can unwittingly turn into a recipe for disaster.
You don’t need a prescription to face these risks–even some common over-the-counter treatments should warrant more careful attention to your menu, says Jen Wolfe, Pharm.D., a D.C.-based pharmacist and consultant with Comprehensive Pharmacy Consulting. Here are seven dangerous duos to dodge.
Limes and cough medicine. You may have heard not to drink grapefruit juice with some prescriptions, including cholesterol-lowering statins. But limes, pomelos, and Seville oranges–although not the more-common navel and Valencia varieties–also may block an enzyme that breaks down statins and other drugs, including the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. Because the medication then builds up in your bloodstream, the risk for side effects increases, says Mary Ellen Gullickson, Pharm.D., a pharmacist at Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin. With dextromethorphan, this includes hallucinations and sleepiness; in statins, you may sustain severe muscle damage. These fruits’ effects can linger for a day or longer, so it’s best to avoid them and their juices altogether while taking these drugs
Dairy products and antibiotics. Some antibiotics, including Cipro, bind to calcium, iron, and other minerals in milk-based foods. This prevents the absorption of the antibiotics, ultimately decreasing their ability to fight infections, When you get a new prescription for acne or an infection, ask if the drug falls into a class known as tetracyclines or flouroquinolones. If so, avoid milk, yogurt, and cheese 8 hours before and after taking the pills. And talk with your pharmacist about proper timing if you take multivitamins with minerals–they can have a similar effect. 08/14
Smoked meats and antidepressants. Check the label on your happy pills. If they belong to a class called monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs–brand names Marplan, Nardil, Emsam, or Parnate–combining them with foods rich in the amino acid tyramine can cause life-threatening spikes in blood pressure, says Gullickson. Unfortunately, the list of no-nos includes not only summer sausage and smoked salmon, but also red wine, sauerkraut, hot dogs, aged cheeses, soy sauce, and draft or home-brewed beer. The good news? Canned or bottled beer probably won’t hurt you–and MAOIs have largely been replaced by newer-generation antidepressants, which don’t have the same effect on tyramine levels, says Nicole Gattas, Pharm.D., B.C.P.S., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
Chocolate and Ritalin. Besides caffeine, chocolate also contains a stimulant called theobromine, says Tom Wheeler, Pharm.D., B.C.P.S., director of pharmacy and pulmonary services at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. (It’s the reason chocolate harms dogs–canine bodies can’t break it down.) Combining all these stimulants in humans can potentially lead to erratic behavior and seizures. As with caffeine alone, the risks are largely individual. Your best bet: Take note of whether you feel more nervous, irritable, or wired when you combine Ritalin–especially the extended-release forms–with chocolate. If so, increase the amount of time between downing your pill and having dessert. Or, lighten up: “The darker the chocolate, the more caffeine and theobromine it contains,” Wheeler says.
Apple juice and meds. Nix the nectar from apples, oranges, and grapefruits if you take Allegra, or Claritin (fexofenadine) –at least within 8 hours of swallowing the pill. These juices inhibit a peptide that transports the drug from your gut to your bloodstream. The resulting lack of absorption makes these medications, up to 70 percent less effective at stopping your sniffling and sneezing. Other medications also travel with the help of the same peptide; lay off these juices while taking the antibiotics Cipro or Levaquin, the thyroid medication Synthroid, or the allergy and asthma treatment Singulair.
Cinnamon and warfarin. People taking the blood-thinning medication warfarin–prescribed to prevent or treat clots–have long been warned to keep their intake of vitamin K steady, says Wolfe. This means you shouldn’t change your weekly intake of foods like leafy greens or broccoli; because vitamin K plays a key role in clotting, doing so could affect the thickness of your blood. But there’s another risk. Cassia cinnamon, the kind on most American grocery-store shelves, contains high levels of a compound called coumarin that can thin blood and potentially cause liver damage, says Eric Newman, M.D., a resident at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. If you’re on warfarin, switch to Ceylon cinnamon instead, he advises. (Find it at gourmet or spice retailers like Penzeys, where it’s $11.29 for 4 ounces).
Alcohol and acetaminophen. Resist the urge to wash down your Tylenol with a cold one–your body uses the same enzyme to break down the two substances. It’s generally best to put 6 hours between drinking booze and taking any medicine containing acetaminophen, including over-the-counter and prescription pain and cold medicines, Gattas says. But the bigger risks come with time: “If you drink alcohol every day, it’s probably not a good idea to take Tylenol,” Wheeler says. Pairing them regularly can contribute to kidney and liver disease.