Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common male sexual dysfunction, more common than you think!
Going as far as possible for the treatment of ED, some people take an extra stretch to ask, “Does Vicks Vapor rub help with ED?” Let’s find out if there is any truth behind such wild claims!
What Is ED?
ED is a common male sexual dysfunction characterized by a man’s inability to achieve and maintain satisfactory penile erections. Various organic, relational, and psychological factors contribute to EF, deteriorating one’s quality of life, leading to depression and anxiety (1).
Vicks Vapor Rub for ED
What Does It Contain?
Vicks Vapor is an over the counter medication, readily available without a doctor’s prescription, usually used for respiratory illnesses like cough and flu. Its natural medicinal ingredients have enticed traditional medicine for ages.
Active and non-active components of Vicks include (2):
- Eucalyptus oil
- Nutmeg oil
- Turpentine oil
- Cedar leaf oil
Note: Vicks Vapor Rub is only for external use and should not be ingested. However, local absorption might produce beneficial effects not known yet.
Which Components in Vicks Vapor Rub Are Beneficial for ED?
Inadequate blood flow to penile erectile tissues is a major cause of ED. Methanol in Vicks Vapor rub is an active vasodilator that causes dilation of cutaneous blood vessels, including those in penile skin (3).
The penile skin is highly permeable, allowing easy absorption of methanol into its dermal layers. Once it gets absorbed into the skin, it enters into the subcutaneous blood vessels and triggers Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M (melastatin) member 8 (TRPM8) channels causing a burning effect. Consequently, the brain sends signals to dilate the surrounding blood vessels for a cooling effect (4).
TRPM8 is a Ca2+ permeable cation channel that is activated by cold temperatures and chemicals like methanol. It plays roles in cell signaling, analgesia, and producing a cooling effect (5).
Camphor, on the other hand, has a neutral role in treating EF. According to modern research, Camphor does not affect the male sex hormone, testosterone, and, therefore, has no role in improving EF.
How to Use Vicks Vapor Rub for ED?
As already discussed, Vicks VapoRub is for topical use only and should not be ingested. Although there is no scientific proof about its efficacy, massaging the penis with Vicks VapoRub might increase blood flow to the genitals, helping achieve a satisfactory erection.
Despite the availability of less evidence in favor of the efficacy of Vicks Vapor Rub for the treatment of EF, many men all around the world use it. Therefore, there is no harm in giving it a try!
However, Vicks Vapor Rub can cause itching or allergic reaction. Consequently, one should be careful while using it.
Conventional Methods Used to Treat ED
Since ED is prevalent, men worldwide are using numerous conventional methods to treat it and improve their sexual performance. Commonly used treatments include regular exercise, psychotherapy, and prescribed medications like phosphodiesterase-5(PDE-5) inhibitors (6).
PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra and Cialis inhibit the Phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme in the Corpora Cavernosa (erectile tissues) of the penis. Penile smooth muscle relaxation follows, resulting in vasodilation and increased blood flow to the penis, producing a firm erection.
Psychotherapy is helpful in cases of ED due to anxiety and relationship problems. Exercise also helps improve blood flow to the penis and treat etiological factors like diabetes and hypertension.
The vasodilatory effect of Methanol in Vicks vapor rub helps in achieving a temporary erection. However, there is not enough research to support its long-term benefit.
Moreover, it does not “cure” ED, which means that the users will have to apply it every time they want a satisfactory erection. So, next time anyone asks you, “Does Vicks Vapor rub help with ED?” you should know the answer!