Daily Health

Does Cialis Increase Testosterone Levels?

You may have heard that there’s a link between erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels – and that Viagra may not be as effective for the treatment of ED for men whose testosterone levels are low.

 Does that mean Cialis is a better alternative to treat erectile dysfunction? And if it is, does that mean Cialis increases testosterone levels?

The answer isn’t as straightforward as we’d like. 

Cialis is a safe and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, but that doesn’t mean it increases testosterone levels in a meaningful way. (Cialis won’t make your penis bigger either.)

A silver lining, however, is that Cialis is effective as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in people who also have low testosterone. 

Here’s what you need to know about the role of testosterone for a healthy sex life and how Cialis fits in.

What is Cialis?

Cialis is the brand name for a drug called tadalafil. 

Similar to Viagra, or sildenafil, Cialis belongs to a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, which relax penile tissue and allow blood to flow more freely to the penis to treat erectile dysfunction. 

What does Cialis treat?

Cialis treats erectile dysfunction, but it also treats the signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

People who are taking Cialis to treat BPH are using the drug to improve their ability to urinate, as an enlarged prostate can make this difficult. 

How does Cialis work?

Similar to Viagra, Cialis is a PDE5 inhibitor to treat erectile dysfunction. PDE5 inhibitors break down a compound called cyclic GMP, which then relaxes erectile tissue in the penis. 

By blocking the action of PDE5, Cialis helps the body maintain good blood flow to the penis – and the knock-off effect is an erection when there’s sexual stimulation. 

Cialis has a great track record for improving erections. One study of tadalafil taken at doses of 10 mg and 20 mg showed that 71% and 84% of people reported better erections, compared to 33% of people who took a placebo. 

What are the potential side effects of Cialis?

Common Cialis side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Flushing in the face
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in vision colour
  • A runny or stuffy nose or sore throat
  • Muscle or back pain

Less common side effects of Cialis are:

  • Priapism – a prolonged erection that lasts more than four hours
  • Heart attack, stroke, cerebrovascular hemorrhage, palpitations, and arrhythmias
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss or a ringing in the ears
  • Seizures
  • Swelling and pain in the arms and legs

You should stop using Cialis and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Priapism – a prolonged erection that lasts more than four hours
  • Sudden vision change or loss 
  • Sudden hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • An allergic reaction like lip or face swelling, wheezing or trouble breathing, or hives
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or nausea during sex

Side effects usually happen while Cialis is active in the body, but some effects (like headaches and heartburn) happen as Cialis becomes less active.

Keep in mind that drinking alcohol with Cialis can increase headaches or dizziness, but only if you’re drinking heavily (defined as something like five glasses of wine or five shots of hard liquor). 

You should be fine if you’re only having a drink or two, but it’s still best to moderate your alcohol intake when you’re using Cialis.

What is the recommended dose for Cialis?

A typical dose of Cialis is 10mg to start, which lasts 36 hours. But if that dose doesn’t produce great results, it can be increased to 20mg. A dose can also be reduced to 5mg if the side effects are too disruptive.

But if someone wants to take Cialis daily, the recommended initial dose is 2.5mg once a day, which can be increased to 5mg if it’s not working. 

Cialis at doses of 10mg and 20mg can only be taken once every 72 hours.

The role of testosterone in the body

We don’t completely understand the role of testosterone in the body, but we still know a fair amount. While people of all genders have some testosterone in the body, for the sake of scope and clarity, we’ll primarily be discussing the role of testosterone in people born as males. 

Testosterone plays a role in the following bodily functions:

  • The development of the penis and testicles, in addition to sperm production
  • The deepening of the voice
  • Hair growth and hair loss
  • Bone health
  • Muscle size and fat distribution
  • Sex drive
  • Mood regulation – although testosterone’s link to aggressive behaviour hasn’t been proven

Testosterone levels can fluctuate quite a bit, even within one day. As men age, however, it’s normal to see testosterone levels drop by 1% to 2% every year after levels peak at around age 20. 

What’s tricky is that defining a “normal” level of testosterone is difficult – while about a third of men over the age of 45 have lower testosterone levels than what’s considered “normal”, that normal baseline has never really been defined. 

So just keep that in mind if you’re worried about whether or not your testosterone levels are low. 

But you should investigate your testosterone levels if you’re noticing the following symptoms:

  • Loss of body and facial hair
  • Fragile bones that break easily
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Erectile dysfunction or low libido
  • Increased breast size
  • Hot flashes
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Low testosterone levels may be a symptom of a larger problem, such as testicular injury (infection, tumours, etc.) or a condition affecting your pituitary and hypothalamus glands.

Does Cialis improve testosterone levels?

More studies are needed to determine whether or not Cialis increases testosterone in any significant way. 

If you’ve been tested for low testosterone and your doctor feels that treatment is needed, you’ll likely receive a more straightforward treatment: testosterone. 

Testosterone replacement therapy comes in the form of injections, pills, patches, and gel that you apply to your skin.

Before you start taking Cialis in an attempt to increase testosterone, ask yourself whether or not you need it. 

If you don’t have erectile dysfunction but feel like you want to increase testosterone for other reasons, consult a healthcare practitionerto determine the best course of action for your long-term health. 

Is it safe to use Cialis to boost testosterone levels?

Cialis is safe and effective for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and an enlarged prostate. 

But if you’re looking to increase testosterone levels, Cialis may not be the best way to do it. 

That being said, conventional testosterone therapy does not interact with Cialis. You can take both at the same time under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. 

Key takeaways

  • Cialis is effective as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in people who also have low testosterone.
  • More studies are needed to determine whether or not Cialis increases testosterone in any meaningful way. 
  • It’s normal to see testosterone levels drop by 1% to 2% every year after levels peak at around age 20.
  • Low testosterone levels may be a symptom of a larger problem, such as testicular injury (infection, tumours, etc.) or a condition affecting your pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
  • Testosterone replacement therapy does not interact with Cialis. You can take both at the same time under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Cialis and testosterone levels FAQs

Does Cialis boost testosterone?

Maybe. One 2017 study showed an increase in testosterone from baseline values in men with low testosterone and metabolic syndrome who took Cialis at 5mg. 

But the study also showed a decrease in luteinizing hormone, which causes the testicles to make testosterone in the first place.

Does testosterone help you get hard?

While there may be a link between testosterone and erections, you may need less testosterone than you think to get an erection. 

One study found that people who produce a lower amount of testosterone still have normal erections and sexual function. 

Erections are more strongly linked to blood flow than they are to testosterone levels. The corpora cavernosa, two chambers that run the length of your penis, contain a bunch of blood vessels that act like a sponge. 

When you’re stimulated, a compound called nitric oxide relaxes your penile smooth muscles, and blood starts to fill the sponge. 

This causes the penis to get bigger and, before you know it, you have an erection.

Read more about how to increase blood flow to the penis here.

Will Viagra work if you have low testosterone?

Viagra is less effective for erectile dysfunction if you also have low testosterone. 

Cialis, however, is still effective for ED in people who also have low testosterone. 

Choosing the right ED treatment is personal. 

Speak to a healthcare practitioner at Felix about ED medication options today.

WRITTEN BY
Felix Team
Updated on:
August 25, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sarah Peltz
Urologist, MD, FRCSC
Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Health Guide, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.

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