If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED), you’re not alone. More than half of all American men will experience ED in their lifetime. Not only can this condition pump the brakes on your sex life, but it can also be a source of frustration and embarrassment.
Because so many men are affected by ED, there’s no shortage of information out there about what you can do to resolve this condition. But many sources fail to explain how high blood pressure, a condition more than half of American adults have, can contribute to your ED.
At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our board-certified urologists specialize in helping men overcome ED and reclaim their sex life. Our practice offers personalized ED treatment and a variety of therapeutic modalities.
We also believe in the power of patient education, so we’ve put our heads together to give you the information you need to understand the link between high blood pressure and ED.
About high blood pressure
Chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, develops for different reasons, including medical conditions like kidney disease, and lifestyle choices like smoking or a diet high in sodium. Sometimes people develop high blood pressure without an identifiable cause.
Regardless of why you have hypertension, untreated chronic high blood pressure damages your heart and blood vessels and eventually leads to life-threatening medical conditions like heart disease and stroke. And because the condition doesn’t come with noticeable symptoms, doctors call it “the silent killer.”
Understanding erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is the term used to describe a condition in which men cannot maintain an erection, get a full erection, or have an erection at all.
While erections may seem simple, the truth is that many different systems must work together for you to get and maintain an erection, including your muscles, cardiovascular system, brain, nerves, emotions, and hormones.
Your blood vessels play one of the main roles in achieving an erection since blood flow is key to penile function. Anything that impacts your vascular health and the way blood flows in your body can cause or contribute to ED, including:
- Age-related weakening of vessels
- Smoking and/or tobacco use
- High cholesterol
- Being sedentary
- Heart disease
- Alcohol and drug use
- Certain medications
- Sleep disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peyronie’s disease
- Enlarged or cancerous prostate
Sometimes addressing these underlying health issues works to resolve or minimize erectile dysfunction. If you’re experiencing any chronic erectile issues, talk to your provider at Urological Associates for an accurate diagnosis.
The link between ED and hypertension
About 80% of the time, erectile dysfunction has a physical cause with the most common cause being hypertension. In fact, men with chronic high blood pressure are twice as likely to have ED. And since ED is underreported, researchers estimate the numbers could be much higher.
This is because hypertension damages your blood vessels and arteries, making it impossible for the arteries that supply blood to your penis to function as they’re supposed to. This also affects the muscle in the penis by creating an inability to relax. The result? Your penis doesn’t get enough blood to make it erect or keep it erect.
In addition, your risk of having low testosterone is nearly two times higher if you have hypertension. While the relationship between hypertension and low testosterone is still being investigated, having low testosterone can contribute to erectile problems and low libido.
Treatment options for men with ED and high blood pressure
Getting high blood pressure under control is imperative for your overall health. This silent killer causes or contributes to nearly half million deaths every year, but only 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have it managed.
It’s important to take steps to lower your blood pressure, both through lifestyle changes and medications, if recommended by your doctor. Unfortunately, many of the medications prescribed to help lower blood pressure can make your ED worse since they impact blood flow.
There’s good news, however, for men with both high blood pressure and ED. The team at Urological Associates offers many treatments that address ED and are safe to use with blood pressure medications, including:
- Oral and injectable medications
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Vacuum devices
- Inflatable penile implants
- Surgically implanted rods
Your Urological Associates provider conducts a variety of diagnostic tests and reviews your medical history and current symptoms before recommending a personalized ED treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs.
For more about the connection between ED and high blood pressure, or to get started with an effective ED treatment plan, contact the experts at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia. You can also book a consultation online at your convenience.