Erectile Dysfunction & High Blood Pressure: Is There a Link?
Posted: September 23, 2021
Erectile dysfunction is a serious condition that affects many men. Often, other health conditions limit the ability to achieve and maintain an erection, leading to erectile dysfunction (ED). One health issue that may lead to ED is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. There are several ways that high blood pressure may lead to erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, there are treatment options available for both conditions, so talk to one of our healthcare providers about your symptoms to find customized treatment solutions based on your individual circumstances.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a form of sexual dysfunction that many men experience. ED basically means that you cannot achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse.
There are a few different ways this can manifest. For instance, you may not be able to get an erection at all, even if you are feeling aroused. Another form of ED is being able to achieve an erection, but trouble keeping it long enough for satisfying sex. Some men also are able to achieve an erection, but it isn’t firm enough to enter their partner.
ED can have many different causes, both physical and psychological. Many men may experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection from time to time, often due to stress or other factors. However, it’s important to discuss your ED symptoms with your doctor if it happens frequently. ED can interfere with your everyday life and may also be a sign of another serious health condition, such as high blood pressure.
How Does ED Happen?
When talking about ED, it’s important to understand the basics of how an erection occurs. This is a complex process and often involves many different systems in your body. The first step is arousal, whether mentally or sensory (or a combination of both). Essentially this is where your brain tells your body that it’s aroused, whether because of something you think, something you see, or something you feel. Then, hormones take that message of arousal to your nerves and trigger a physical response. The spongy tissues in your penis (the corpora cavernosa) relax and open up. This allows more blood to flow into the penis. With the added blood flow, the penis extends and becomes firm.
Frequently, physical issues with blood flow and hormones may be to blame for ED, as they can interfere with the physical processes needed for an erection. Hypertension could be an underlying cause of ED for many men. In fact, one study even found that almost half of men ages 40 to 79 years old with hypertension also had erectile dysfunction.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
High blood pressure is a common but serious health concern. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is essentially where your heart works too hard and pushes more blood against the walls of your arteries and blood vessels. High blood pressure can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, and even organ damage like to the kidneys, eyes, and brain. Some factors can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, such as smoking, chronic stress, and being overweight. While high blood pressure often doesn’t cause any symptoms, it can put your overall health at risk.
High blood pressure may also be linked to erectile dysfunction. As we mentioned, many men with high blood pressure also have ED. In some cases hypertension can cause ED. In other cases, the medication you take to help control high blood pressure may also cause ED symptoms.
High Blood Pressure Can Damage Arteries Leading to the Penis
As we mentioned earlier, high blood pressure is where your heart works in overdrive, which can cause your blood to put extra pressure on the walls of blood vessels and arteries. Over time, uncontrolled hypertension can damage arteries and blood vessels, making them harden and narrow.
Hard and narrow arteries can also increase the risk for erectile dysfunction, as the damage from high blood pressure can extend to the arteries and veins responsible for erections. This often means less less blood flows to the penis when you’re aroused, increasing the risk for ED. Therefore, high blood pressure may cause erectile dysfunction for some people. In fact, ED can often be a warning sign of larger health problems, including hypertension or heart disease. So, it’s important to talk to one of our healthcare providers if you’re experiencing ED symptoms.
Some Blood Pressure Medicines can Cause ED
While high blood pressure may cause ED, high blood pressure medications can also lead to erectile dysfunction for some men. Diuretics (water pills) and beta blockers are some medicines that can help lower blood pressure. A potential side effect of both drugs is ED.
Beta blockers are a medication that blocks hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline). This can help slow down the heart to reduce blood pressure. However, it may also decrease the amount of blood flow to the penis and make it difficult to get or maintain an erection.
Diuretics can also help lower blood pressure, but in a different way. Diuretics help your kidneys release more sodium, which can help remove some of the water in your blood. This means you have less fluid in your veins and arteries to increase pressure inside them. Once again, this can also limit the amount of blood flow to your penis, which may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Diuretics may also have other effects that may increase your risk for ED. For instance, they can lower the amount of zinc in your body. Zinc plays an important role in testosterone production in your body. Testosterone deficiencies can also lead to low libido, which is another potential explanation for erectile dysfunction.
Therefore, blood pressure medications may cause many side effects that may increase your risk for ED. If you’re experiencing ED after beginning a new medication, talk to one of our providers about your options. In some cases you may be able to switch to a different medicine, which may help reduce ED symptoms.
Can You Take Erectile Dysfunction Meds with High Blood Pressure?
So, what happens if you have both high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction? Are you able to take erectile dysfunction medications to help improve your sex life? It’s best to talk to one of our treatment providers about your specific circumstances and find a treatment plan suited for your needs.
In some cases, you may be able to use ED therapies if you have high blood pressure. However, it’s crucial to talk to your provider about your health and other medications you’re taking. For instance, if you use certain high blood pressure medications, such as alpha blockers and nitrates, you shouldn’t take certain ED drugs like sildenafil or tadalafil, as mixing the medicines can lead to life-threatening low blood pressure. In these cases, you can work with your doctor to determine a course of action based on your needs. For instance, you may be able to switch to different blood pressure medications or you might be able to use other ED therapies, like TriMix injections. Our healthcare providers can work with you to help find customized treatment solutions for your symptoms.
Customized Men’s Healthcare from Low T Center
When you need convenient, affordable men’s healthcare, our team at the Low T Center is here for you. We are dedicated to providing quality care to help you feel your best. Our team can help with a wide range of common conditions, including high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and diabetes. Make an appointment today to start prioritizing your health!
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.