There could be a whole host of reasons as to why your junk isn’t up to the good times. You could be having a stressful time at work or experiencing trouble with family and finances. All of these things are enough to affect your erections and not have cause for concern. However, if you find that they are becoming a more common thing, it could be that you’re suffering the effects of erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is defined as an inability to obtain and/or keep an erection. The condition affects around 30 million men in the US, so if you feel like you’re alone in this, we can promise you, that you’re really not. Typically, ED is more common as you age, but that’s not to say that young men get off scot-free, you young ones can get it too.
We know it can be a particularly difficult topic to discuss and many men don’t feel comfortable talking about it with friends or even doctors. Plenty of men tend to ignore the issue, hoping that it will eventually resolve itself. However, really isn’t the best solution to the problem. Now, before you go sweeping your concerns under the carpet, just consider for a moment that your ED could be a sign of another underlying issue.
Let’s take a look at the health conditions that could affect your hard-ons.
Could your dick staying soft be a sign that something in your heart is going hard?
Studies have shown that erectile dysfunction can be a predictor of heart problems. It’s as much of a factor as a family history of heart disease or even smoking. In some cases, ED may be a sign of a significant heart event such as a stroke or even a heart attack.
When left untreated, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause damage to your blood vessels. This means they lose their elasticity and become hardened; plaque can also build up within your arteries, making them more narrow and blocking blood flow. Due to the fact that the blood vessels to your penis are three times smaller than the ones in your heart, these are more likely to close up first.
Also Read: Can smoking affect your testosterone levels?
It has been said that what is good for the heart is also good for the penis. Now, without taking this too literally it means following a healthy diet, reducing the stress in your life, and getting regular exercise. Aerobic exercises like cycling or swimming, at a relatively vigorous intensity for 40 minutes up to 4 times a week, could improve erectile function greatly. Doing so, would especially help those who suffer from ED as a side effect of a cardiovascular issue.
So, this one is a little odd but bear with us. Some studies have indicated that there is a link between ED and periodontitis, which is a serious form of gum disease.
According to scientists, certain bacteria in the mouth can be linked to erectile dysfunction. This is due to the fact that it is able to produce toxins that have the ability to cause local as well as full-body inflammation. The problem is that chronic inflammation can damage blood vessels and therefore affect erectile blood flow. It could also affect the release of nitric oxide, the chemical your body releases to get the party started.
If you find that your gums are sensitive or there is blood when you brush, get yourself to the dentist for a check-up. We know one thing they’re going to say, you need to floss… so just do it already. Gum disease is also linked with other health problems such as heart attacks and diabetes.
If you’ve noticed there is a curve in your penis that never used to be there, then you may be dealing with Peyronie’s disease. It’s a connective tissue disorder that causes penile deformities and it affects around 1 in 100 men as well as the many that are yet to be diagnosed.
It can all start with a very small injury to the penis, one that you might not even notice. Then, as this heals you may end up with some scar tissue causing a curve to develop. Now, this is completely depending on the degree of curvature, but sex could become painful for you and your partner. Additionally, the curve could also lead to you losing a little self-esteem and becoming embarrassed, further causing problems with your erections.
In order to get all this straightened out (see what we did there?) what you need is an early diagnosis. In simple cases, the treatment will be minimally invasive and is likely to be something such as Xiaflex. It would involve a number of injections, containing collagenase enzymes, delivered over a six-month period.
What this will do is work to break down the scar tissue. When it comes to the more serious cases of Peyronie’s disease, surgery may be required. As scary as this may sound, it’s likely to successfully reduce pain and deformity.
Studies have found that type 2 diabetes is another condition that may cause you to suffer from ED. This particular study discovered that men with metabolic disorder seemed to develop symptoms of erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than those without diabetes.
When it comes to diabetes, those who suffer from it will experience elevated blood sugar levels which weaken and eventually destroy nerve endings. This can also lead to calcifications and plaque deposits which can damage blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis.
Also Read: What happens when you stop doing it?
However, despite us saying this, having diabetes doesn’t mean that you’ll end up with erectile dysfunction too. Learning to manage your condition is the most important thing you can do to prevent nerve and blood vessel damage from occurring. We would always stress going to visit your doctor early to minimize further risk. If you’re a little overweight or not eating particularly well, there is an opportunity to make changes to your lifestyle for the better.
The effects of erectile dysfunction can be enough to put a downer on anyone’s mood. However, it can also lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is something that works both ways too. According to studies, those who suffer from depression are 39% more likely to develop ED.
Your nervous system is what triggers erections, so if your system is depressed or distracted, it’s not going to happen. In actual fact, when you’re suffering from depression, you release a chemical that basically makes your erection disappear. As well as losing interest in sex, you may end up trying to suppress your depression with alcohol or other drugs. However, this is also counterproductive as these depressants can increase your odds of ED even more.
If you‘re sitting there nodding and thinking this sounds like you, then work on finding the source of your depression. Perhaps talk things out with your partner to see if something is worrying you or maybe see a mental health professional to see how they can help.
Whilst it may be true that some medications can cause erectile dysfunction, you can work with your doctor to find a solution that minimizes this side effect. Possible answers could be that you are prescribed a drug in a different class or a lower dose.
If you find that you’re nodding off during the day and struggling to sleep at night, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious disorder that causes you to stop breathing for between 10 to 30 seconds intervals. Not only does that sound terrifying, but it can also cause ED in the process.
OSA leads to poor peripheral vascular circulation and people with the condition are more susceptible to heart, and strokes and more like to suffer from erectile dysfunction too. Sleep apnea lowers testosterone and limits blood oxygen, the two main things we guys need for healthy erections. When you combine this with all the other side effects you can experience with a lack of sleep, such as fatigue, stress, etc, it’s no wonder you’re not able to stand attention.
Further research is needed to determine a definite connection between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction. However, some studies have shown only slightly high risk for people with sleep apnea experiencing ED than those without OSA. However, don’t let this stop you from reaching out for some support to treat your ED.
This study revealed that those who suffer from severe OSA and slept with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, noticed an improvement in erectile function. If you don’t find it too uncomfortable, there are also mouthpieces you can wear temporarily that will help reposition your jaw and tongue, allowing for better airflow whilst you sleep.
If a cure for OSA is not what you’re after, then try and focus on not developing it. Getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and maintaining your weight are all ways to help prevent developing the condition. Low levels of activity and obesity are both associated with sleep apnea.
If you are experiencing troubles in the junk department, seeking help from your doctor means they can get to the root cause and help with treatment.
We know, it is a difficult subject to talk about, however, what you need to bear in mind is:
- They’re doctors who are there to help and have heard everything before
- The symptoms you’re having could be a sign of something else
- Problems like these can affect more than just your sexual health, but your mental and physical health too
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