When talking about health complications and the risks that come with being overweight, things like heart attack, stroke, and cancer are often the first that come to mind. But did you know that obesity can also be linked to erectile dysfunction? If obesity is affecting your sex life, it’s important to know the facts about the effects of body weight on ED, along with available treatment options.
Before we dig into why being overweight can lead to difficulties getting an erection, it’s important that you understand what erectile dysfunction is in the first place. An erection begins in the brain when the nerves send signals through the body. The signals relax the arteries, allowing more blood to flow into the penis, creating pressure in the corpora cavernosa. The penis then hardens, resulting in an erection. ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient enough for masturbation or sex. ED is caused by a number of things, however, it's almost always caused by the brain's inability to send the right signals to the body. This results in a lack of blood flow to the penis.
Is obesity linked to erectile dysfunction?
While there are no studies that prove being overweight causes erectile dysfunction directly, it does affect blood flow to the penis which is vital for an erection. If blood cannot freely and readily flow to the penis, there will be no erection. In some cases, ED may even be one of the first signs of heart disease or other serious health conditions. Obesity is also a leading factor in high cholesterol and diabetes, which are two other conditions closely linked to ED. Studies also show a correlation between obesity and lower levels of testosterone, a hormone which is vital for normal sexual performance and libido in men.
Obesity and the mind
Let’s face it, when you don't feel the best, your body doesn’t perform at it's best. Carrying extra weight can lead to body image issues which can be damaging to the psyche and affect a guy’s ability to perform in the bedroom. Performance anxiety and confidence issues can manifest as ED symptoms and make it difficult to get an erection.
How to treat ED caused by obesity
Luckily, erectile dysfunction is treatable, especially when tied to being overweight, which can be remedied by lifestyle changes. A 2014 study showed that for those who are overweight and suffer from ED, an improvement in physical activity combined with a reduction in body weight is often an effective treatment method. Losing weight may help increase blood flow throughout the body and may even affect testosterone by improving levels of this much-needed hormone rather than decreasing them. It’s important to discuss your personal experience with your doctor to find out the appropriate body mass index number (BMI) for you.
If lifestyle changes aren’t doing the trick for your erectile dysfunction and weight issues, there are other treatment options like Giddy that are free of the negative side effects of ED drugs, and are usually more affordable. Traditional constriction rings can cause discomfort and unnatural ejaculation, while Giddy's patented shape and design is meant to allow for better blood flow, and more free-flowing ejaculation. Penile implants and surgery are some of the more extreme and expensive options.
Being sexually active and confident is important in our relationships with our partners and ourselves, and ED can get in the way of that. Both weight and ED can be hard to talk about, but the more we openly discuss the causes and treatment options for men living with erectile dysfunction, the sooner everyone can get back to having a happy, healthy sex life.
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