Does High Blood Pressure Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Few people are aware that high blood pressure is closely linked to Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in more ways than one. It may interest you to know that 49% of men who are aged 40 to 79 with ED also have hypertension. While having high BP is the direct cause of impotency, your doctor may talk to you about several related conditions that also cause ED. Here’s a quick overview:
High Blood Pressure Hampers Blood Flow to the Penile Muscles
For men to develop an erection, the arteries in the muscles around the base of the penis must relax sufficiently to allow a surge of blood flowing into it. Nerve endings in the penis respond to excitement and stimuli to draw blood into the penis. At the same time, the nerves block blood flow from the veins back into the body to sustain the erection. High blood pressure prevents arteries in the penile muscles from swelling up and allowing blood flow. Without an adequate blood supply, it becomes impossible to get an erection.
Medications You Take for Controlling BP Can Also Cause ED
Should you consult a doctor for your erectile dysfunction, he may ask if you have high blood pressure and the medications you’re taking. Typically, the beta-blockers and diuretics contained in BP-controlling drugs can lead to ED.
- Beta-blockers help control BP and regulate the rhythms of the heart by soothing the force with which blood is pumped through the arteries. As a result, the meds also lower the blood reaching the penile muscles making it difficult to achieve arousal.
- Beta-blockers can make you feel drowsy and depressed and lower excitement levels and response to stimulation. You may also notice a lower libido.
- Diuretics in the medications again cut down on the blood supply to the penis. Further, diuretics may flush out zinc from your body. Know that zinc is an essential component of testosterone, the hormone that controls arousal.
Several Lifestyle Choices Raise BP and Contribute to Erectile Dysfunction
Lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and abuse of recreational drugs can add to your ED. When you smoke, drink heavily, and use drugs, you raise blood pressure levels significantly. For instance, smoking not only narrows your arteries, but it also hardens the arterial walls making blood circulation sluggish. Your doctor may also warn you against foods that have high levels of salt and transfats. Salt contains sodium that affects kidney function and raises blood pressure because of fluid retention. And, transfats can accumulate on the walls of the arteries suppressing the easy movement of blood.
Regardless of health reasons or a bad lifestyle, high blood pressure can result in difficulty in getting and maintaining an erection. Talk to your doctor about ED and he may help you explore the reasons. In addition to changing your medications, he may also recommend adopting a healthier lifestyle to help you regain your libido and the ability to have a satisfactory erection. If needed, you could opt for non-invasive techniques that help with ED.
In place of trying over-the-counter medicines and other options that may or may not work, set aside hesitation and talk to your doctor. You’re sure to receive practical solutions that address the root cause of your problem and help you with it.