Wondering about anastrozole for erectile dysfunction (ED)?
If you’re having trouble getting and staying hard, it’s probably messing with your sex life. So, what’s a guy to do?
Many factors can influence whether you develop erection issues, including hormonal imbalances. Hormones play a major role in sex drive and sexual function. You’re probably thinking, Oh yeah, testosterone!
That’s right — guys have estrogen flowing through their bodies. And too much of it could be a problem, erection-wise.
Anastrozole is a medication that can influence hormone levels. It might help if your ED is due to out-of-whack hormones.
Below, we’ll go into more detail about anastrozole, including how it works, whether it can help with erectile function and the potential side effects. We’ll also touch on other ED treatments to consider.
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Anastrozole is a prescription medication. It’s in a class of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors — say that ten times fast.
Healthcare professionals typically prescribe anastrozole (or the brand name Arimidex) and other aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer in menopausal women. But they may also prescribe it off-label for men with high estradiol levels — which can lead to low testosterone (low T) — as an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Here’s a breakdown of how anastrozole works:
Your body naturally produces aromatase (aka estrogen synthetase), an enzyme responsible for converting androgens (male sex hormones) to estrogen.
Aromatase enzyme inhibitors, like anastrozole, can help boost testosterone levels by blocking the action of aromatase and preventing the enzyme from making more estrogen.
Anastrozole is available in tablet form. The typical dosage is once a day, with or without food.
Blood tests can confirm whether you have high estrogen. Some possible signs of this condition include:
Gynecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue, specifically in men)
Keep reading to learn more about anastrozole and ED.
FYI: Not all erection issues have to do with hormones.
Anastrozole isn’t usually a first-line treatment for ED, but if your symptoms are the result of a hormone imbalance, it might help.
A small study from 2017 looked at 86 men with low T who received a 1-milligram daily dose of anastrozole. Roughly 95 percent of participants saw increases in testosterone production and decreases in estrogen levels.
The same study also found that daily treatment with anastrozole significantly increased sperm production.
Similarly, a 2004 study involving 37 older adult men with hypogonadism (or low testosterone) found that anastrozole helped restore hormone levels to the normal range typically seen in younger, healthy men.
Yep, most medications have potential side effects. But side effects aren’t a list of things that will definitely happen to you — they might occur in some people.
Still, it’s good to be aware of the possible adverse effects so you can spot them and mention them to your healthcare provider ASAP.
You don’t need to live with unpleasant side effects, no matter how mild. In many cases, a healthcare professional can recommend an alternative medication or even suggest adjusting your dose.
Here are some possible side effects of anastrozole:
Diarrhea or constipation
Nausea or vomiting
Joint or muscle pain
Problems with sleep
Burning, pain or tingling in the extremities
If you experience any of the following less common but more serious effects when taking anastrozole, see medical care right away:
Signs of infection, including swelling, redness and fever
Pain or difficulty when urinating
Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)
Vision changes, like blurred vision
Upper-right stomach pain
Rash or skin lesions
Shortness of breath
Anastrozole can also affect bone mineral density issues (also known as bone loss). Since this can lead to osteoporosis, your healthcare provider might want to monitor you closely while you take the drug.
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Although it’s true anastrozole can influence male sex hormones, it’s pretty unlikely to lead to ED symptoms.
That said, if you develop erection issues while taking anastrozole, it’s possible the medication is causing your estrogen levels to dip too low — a sign you may no longer need the medication.
Anastrozole might help with erection problems, but it’s not the first-line treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Here are a few tried-and-true medications (plus, they’re FDA-approved!) for treating ED symptoms:
Sildenafil (generic Viagra®)
Tadalafil (generic Cialis®)
Avanafil (generic Stendra®)
Vardenafil (generic Levitra®)
Chewable ED meds containing sildenafil or tadalafil
All these medications belong to a class of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors. They help increase blood flow to the penis, making it easier to get and maintain an erection.
Read more about PDE5 inhibitors and how they work for erectile dysfunction in our guide to PDE5 inhibitors.
Erectile dysfunction can take a serious toll on your sex life and impact you emotionally. Thankfully, treatments are available.
Anastrozole isn’t a typical treatment for ED, but it might be prescribed in certain cases. Here’s what to remember:
High estrogen levels in men can impact the production of testosterone, influencing sex drive and function.
Anastrozole can help lower estrogen levels and treat low T.
It’s pretty safe to use but does come with potential side effects.
Rarely, anastrozole can cause ED symptoms when estrogen levels dip too low.
The idea of talking to a healthcare professional about your sex life might make you squeamish, but know you’re not alone. ED is a common issue affecting millions of men in the U.S. alone.
Ready to get help? Connect virtually with a Hims healthcare provider to get discreet advice and effective treatment for ED today.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.