The Nitty Gritty of How Obesity Affects Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is not a disease but a symptom of a larger system of issues. One of those issues has to do with weight. Obesity is known to bring about a variety of problems including diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and more. It seems there is also a connection between obesity and erectile dysfunction. Obesity, however, is a complication condition that is often in a person’s control, but sometimes not, and needs to be viewed differently for each individual. Let’s get a closer look at how obesity contributes to erectile dysfunction and what can be done about it for a variety of individuals with different health conditions contributing to their obesity.

Damages Blood Vessels and Arteries

In order to achieve an erection, increased blood flow must be allowed to reach the penile area. Hypertension, inflammation, and other conditions associated with obesity cause damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels, called the epithelial lining, and that can impede the increased blood flow necessary for an erection.

The type of diet that leads to obesity–often a diet of foods high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats–also often causes the arteries to narrow and harden. This is called atherosclerosis, and it, too, blocks blood flow. 

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a series of symptoms such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and carrying a large amount of weight around your midsection. Obesity puts one at risk for metabolic syndrome, and metabolic syndrome itself can lead to erectile dysfunction. This is because the symptoms of metabolic syndrome cause damage to the endothelial lining of the blood vessels, much like obesity itself can do. Metabolic syndrome is actually one of the top public health threats of our time, and a significant number of men who suffer from metabolic syndrome also suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Low Testosterone

It is not unusual for a person who has significant belly fat to also experience low testosterone. Several studies over the years have linked high body mass index (BMI) numbers with low testosterone levels, which often improved when men lost weight. Low levels of testosterone are known to affect sex drive and are connected to erectile dysfunction–in fact, a study was done suggesting that a certain level of testosterone is needed in the body in order to achieve an erection in the first place. Changing to a healthier diet plus getting hormone treatment from your doctor can help your testosterone levels return to normal.

Increases Risk for Other Health Conditions

Obesity puts one at an increased risk for other health conditions that we already know to be detrimental to one’s erectile function–namely heart disease and diabetes. Mental health can also be a factor, since one experiencing obesity may be more likely to also experience stress, depression, or feelings of unattractiveness.

The good news is that with the help of your doctor and a nutritionist, it is frequently possible to get your obesity under control and begin to heal your body. You don’t have to live with erectile dysfunction forever. Knowledgeable, caring medical professionals such as the ones at Apex Health Center will work with you to get you on the path toward better health so that you can feel good about yourself and your relationship.

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Mental health can contribute to erectile dysfunction.