Erectile dysfunction (ED) is an inability to develop or maintain an erection. There are many treatments for it. Occasional difficulty getting an erection is not necessarily a serious problem, but the ongoing issue can cause relationship problems and self-confidence issues.

Underlying health conditions can cause ED, and these conditions can increase your risk of developing heart disease later.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of ED include:

  • heart disease
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • diabetes
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • mental health problems
  • relationship problems

A variety of issues can put men at risk for developing ED. These include:

  • smoking
  • obesity
  • prolonged bicycle riding
  • heart conditions
  • drug use
  • alcohol use
  • diabetes

There are many pharmaceutical agents that are currently on the market to treat ED, such as:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • verdenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • avanafil (Stendra)

These drugs relax the muscles in your penis and boost blood flow to improve your erections. Other treatment options are available, including surgeries, implants, and counseling.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is another drug that may not be as popular as the others. It’s commonly used to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A 2013 report detailed how methylphenidate was used to treat ED in a man who was on antipsychotics. In 2009, a study on antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction showed that using Ritalin didn’t significantly benefit those with ED, but taking it didn’t worsen the condition.

Ritalin may not be the initial treatment for ED. Talk to your general practitioner, or see a urologist or endocrinologist. They can determine if you have ED through a variety of diagnostic tests, including blood and urine tests, as well as a physical exam, ultrasound, or other methods. Your doctor can then review treatment options with you if you have ED and choose to treat it. You may wish to discuss alternative treatments with your doctor if you have ED. Popular herbal treatments for ED include:

  • Korean red ginseng
  • L-arginine
  • yohimbe
  • ginkgo

Other alternative treatments for ED include:

  • DHEA
  • folic acid
  • vitamin E
  • zinc

Acupuncture is also a treatment some people consider using.