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Aspirin for Erectile Dysfunction: Does It Work?

Katelyn Hagerty

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Lauren Panoff

Published 12/05/2022

Updated 11/21/2023

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during sex. While it’s probably not a hot topic in your social circles, the condition affects 30 million men in the United States alone.

We get it: When you can’t stay hard, you just want a solution. It might be tempting to discreetly try every purported remedy for ED to avoid talking about your penis with a stranger (even if that stranger is a licensed medical professional).

For example, aspirin is sometimes associated with treating ED — and you probably already have it in your home. It doesn’t get much easier than that, right? Well…not exactly.

Does aspirin help with ED? We’ll answer this question, break down the connection between this over-the-counter (OTC) drug and erectile dysfunction, and go over other treatment options below.

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What Is Aspirin?

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) typically taken for pain relief. The over-the-counter medicine is sometimes used to help prevent platelets from forming blood clots.

Aspirin’s active ingredient, acetylsalicylic acid, is also associated with a reduction of coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke risk as well as endothelial dysfunction and symptoms of vascular disease. A healthcare provider might prescribe it for angina (chest pain) or to reduce the risk of heart attack.

Aspirin alone isn’t a standard treatment for ED. But is there any benefit of using aspirin for ED? Keep reading to find out.

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What’s the Connection Between Aspirin and Erectile Dysfunction?

ED has been linked to medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The most common type of erectile dysfunction is vasculogenic ED, which occurs when vessels carrying blood to and from the penis aren’t working properly due to blockages or narrowing.

Aspirin has been lumped into ED management because it may be prescribed as part of an ED treatment plan — for certain men.

The drug’s antiplatelet effect suggests a potential benefit for vascular penis function. This means it could help with blood flow to the genital area if cardiovascular issues are at play.

Some providers might prescribe aspirin to men who have vasculogenic ED and other cardiovascular risk factors to tackle both problems. In these cases, aspirin’s purpose isn’t to target ED symptoms specifically but rather the heart-related medical issues that cause them.

Vasculogenic erectile dysfunction is called the “canary in the coal mine” for cardiovascular disease. This is because ED is often the first noticeable symptom in a domino effect of other consequences of heart disease, like hypertension, heart attack or stroke.

So if you’re having trouble getting it up, take it seriously. It could be an indication of something more serious that needs prompt treatment.

Research on Aspirin for Erectile Dysfunction

Is aspirin for ED the answer? For most guys, probably not. But let’s see what science says.

As of right now, aspirin isn’t used to treat ED directly. 

However, some recent studies show that aspirin may improve ED. For example, a 2020 meta-analysis cautiously concluded that aspirin had a “significant improvement” on erectile function.

Of course, there are caveats.

The researchers reviewed 58 trials but only found two that fit their criteria. And of the two, only one appeared to lack substantial biases. This means that just one out of 58 trials was sufficiently objective and used randomized controlled trials effectively. The rest had flaws or biases that excluded them.

While the findings from this single study are optimistic, one trial isn’t enough. So we can’t recommend using aspirin to directly treat ED at this time.

Does Aspirin Work Like Viagra?

Aspirin and Viagra® (sildenafil) don’t work the same way when it comes to your penis.

Viagra (known as “the little blue pill”) is a PDE5 inhibitor. Drugs in this class are vasodilators, meaning they expand blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis.

Viagra works by preventing the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) in the smooth muscle cells of the penis. This helps facilitate firmer, longer-lasting erections. PDE5 inhibitors are considered the gold standard for ED.

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Can I Take Aspirin and Viagra Together?

Yes, aspirin and Viagra can generally be taken together — but there are some exceptions. Depending on your medical history and reason for taking aspirin, Viagra might not be the best option for treating ED.

For instance, let’s say you had a heart attack last month and were prescribed aspirin. It wouldn’t be recommended to add Viagra to your routine — not because of the aspirin itself but because of the heart attack that prompted a need for it. 

On the other hand, if you have vasculogenic ED, you may be safely prescribed both medications by your healthcare provider — for two separate reasons. Low-dose aspirin would be used to treat underlying cardiovascular issues, and Viagra would treat the ED.

The Risks of Taking Aspirin for ED

Now a household name, aspirin has been around for over 100 years. Its side effects are well-documented and mostly mild. This NSAID is generally considered safe when taken as directed, but every drug has risks.

So how much aspirin should you take for erectile dysfunction? Probably none. Aspirin is unlikely to help ED on its own and could be dangerous for some people, based on what we talked about above.

The optimal aspirin dose for cardiovascular benefits is unclear. But research suggests it’s below 325 milligrams per day due to the potential for toxicity in higher amounts. 

The most commonly reported side effects of aspirin include constipation, dizziness, drowsiness and increased appetite.

It’s also associated with a high risk of complications relating to gastrointestinal bleeding, particularly among those who are hypersensitive to aspirin. This is more likely when the dose is high, though it can also develop from long-term use. Avoid aspirin if you’re allergic to ibuprofen or have an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. 

Finally, Reye’s syndrome could occur. This very rare condition happens when aspirin causes potentially fatal changes to the liver and brain.

Bottom line? Before you self-prescribe aspirin for ED, talk to your healthcare provider.

Alternatives to Aspirin for Erectile Dysfunction

Achieving successful intercourse requires a personalized approach. There are plenty of alternatives to aspirin for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. 

Medications for ED

PDE5 inhibitors (not aspirin) are the gold standard in ED treatment, including: 

You might also consider chewable ED hard mints, which contain the active ingredients in ED meds in personalized doses. 

Psychological ED Treatments 

ED is a multifactorial condition, so effective treatment goes beyond medication. For many men, trouble getting hard isn’t vascular but psychosocial.

Psychological ED — like when sexual performance anxiety prevents you from getting hard — is very real. You’re anxious, so you can’t get hard, then you can’t get hard, so you become more anxious. This negative loop is difficult to break without treatment.

Erectile dysfunction can significantly impact not only your sex life but also your overall quality of life. Most men with ED also struggle with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ultimately, this affects the sexual encounter for both partners and the relationship as a whole.

That’s why it’s so crucial to seek mental health support. Consider online therapy or ask your healthcare provider for recommendations.

Lifestyle Modifications

Everyday habits can influence (and be influenced by) sexual performance. 

A 2020 review of studies examined how lifestyle modifications affected sexual health. The researchers found that healthy lifestyle habits — like exercising, eating well, practicing stress management and not smoking or drinking excessively — are even more important than medications like aspirin or Viagra for penile function. 

Another 2018 review found that getting at least 40 minutes of exercise four times a week for six months improved ED — especially when obesity or cardiovascular disease was also a factor.

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Taking Aspirin for Erectile Dysfunction: Is It Safe?

Finding the right erectile dysfunction treatments is essential. Daily or occasional aspirin use probably won’t have much impact on your erectile health — at least not compared to other health factors.

If you found yourself frantically Googling “how much aspirin to take for erectile dysfunction,” remember this:

  • You’re not alone. Millions of men struggle to stay hard during sex. The only way to get a proper diagnosis — and effective treatment — is to be open with your healthcare provider.

  • Aspirin may have a place. If you have vasculogenic ED, your provider may prescribe aspirin for underlying cardiovascular risk factors. But fellas, aspirin alone won’t fix your penis function issues. A tried-and-true ED drug like sildenafil is a better bet.

  • Evidence is limited. While aspirin can help with cardiovascular-related issues, more research is needed to understand where it can directly improve sexual function. Blindly using it for ED may be unsafe, so don’t do it.

Ready to pursue an ED treatment that actually works? Start by taking our free quiz, and we’ll connect you with resources to get back in the sack with confidence.

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