Erectile Dysfunction Treatment if You Have a Heart Condition
Posted: October 21, 2022
Millions of men in the U.S. experience erectile dysfunction (ED). Millions also suffer from cardiovascular conditions ranging from high blood pressure to heart failure. Often, men will have both a heart condition and erectile dysfunction. This leads to the question, “is erectile dysfunction treatment safe if I have a heart condition?” We’ll explore this question in this article.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where you have a persistent problem achieving or maintaining an erection firm enough for sex. Causes of ED can be physical or psychological, but physical causes account for most cases. Erectile dysfunction often causes significant issues in daily life and in your relationships, so it’s important to seek treatment so you can feel your best.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment is Possible if You Have a Heart Condition
If you have a heart condition, erectile dysfunction treatment is typically possible. The key is to work closely with our providers and your cardiologist to find the right treatments for you. Each treatment comes with risks and benefits that we’ll need to weigh based on your individual circumstances. Many men avoid seeking help because of a misconception that they can’t do anything about their ED if they have heart problems, but this simply isn’t true for most people. Therefore, talk to our providers about how we can help you improve erectile function so you can have a fulfilling sex life as a heart patient.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
As we mentioned, erectile dysfunction means that you struggle to get or keep an erection hard enough for sex. While it’s normal to experience this occasionally, you might have ED if this is a persistent or chronic problem.
Your risk for erectile dysfunction increases as you age. It’s also more common if you have underlying health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or low testosterone. Anything that affects your cardiovascular system, nerves, hormones, brain, or emotions can contribute to erectile dysfunction, as all of these are important for sexual arousal and getting an erection.
ED is Often an Early Warning Sign of Cardiovascular Issues
Erectile dysfunction is actually often an early warning sign of cardiovascular issues. Many men come in seeking erectile dysfunction treatment and find that they have a heart condition that they also need to treat. In fact, ED diagnosis is often a predictor for developing heart disease symptoms within five years according to research.
There are a few potential reasons for this. The first is that cardiovascular problems can lead to blood flow issues throughout your body, including to your penis. Limited blood flow means that your body may not be able to supply enough blood to the penis for a healthy erection.
Also, ED and heart disease share many of the same risk factors, such as:
- Overweight or obesity
- Diabetes/high blood sugar
- Alcohol use
- High cholesterol
- Low testosterone
Therefore, there are many connections between heart disease and erectile dysfunction to be aware of. That’s why coming in for ED symptoms often triggers tests for things like blood pressure, cholesterol, hormone levels, as well as lifestyle factors like diet, tobacco use, alcohol use, and fitness level to identify underlying cardiovascular issues.
Common Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options for Men with Heart Conditions
If you have a heart condition, it’s also likely that you suffer from erectile dysfunction. The good news is that there are erectile dysfunction treatments that may work well for you. Our providers are here to help find the right treatment options for you based on your health and lifestyle. Here are some common ED treatments that may work well for heart patients:
Lifestyle Changes for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Lifestyle changes are often some of the first erectile dysfunction treatment options we explore for any man with ED. Improving your lifestyle and creating healthy habits can often improve erectile function without the need for any medications. Many of these lifestyle changes are also healthy for your cardiovascular system, so it can be a win-win.
Some lifestyle changes we may recommend for men with erectile dysfunction and a heart condition include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting or eliminating alcohol
- Stopping illicit drug use
- Reducing stress
- Creating healthy sleep habits
Our providers at our men’s health clinics can help you come up with a plan to make these healthy lifestyle changes that may improve your erectile dysfunction and can also benefit your heart health in many ways. We will then monitor your progress and determine if lifestyle changes are doing enough for your erectile dysfunction or if you need other treatments.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy for ED Related to Low Sex Drive
In some cases, it may be that your erectile dysfunction symptoms are actually due to low sex drive. This means you have less interest in sex, which can make it difficult to get or keep an erection. One really common cause of low sex drive in men is low testosterone. Low T levels may also be linked to heart disease, though researchers are still studying the connection. If you have low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, then we may recommend testosterone replacement therapy for treatment to improve your sex drive, depending on your heart condition and health history.
PDE5 Inhibitors as Erectile Dysfunction Treatment for Heart Patients
When you think of erectile dysfunction treatment, you probably think of widely advertised pills like Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil). These common erectile dysfunction pills are often safe for people with heart conditions, though it’s important to discuss your condition thoroughly with our providers.
Sildenafil and tadalafil are PDE5 inhibitors, which allow the blood vessels to relax so more blood can flow into your penis when you’re aroused. The result is often firmer, longer-lasting erections. PDE5 inhibitors are often safe for heart patients if your condition is well managed and you’re not taking certain medications.
Here are some reasons why you might not be able to take Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors if you have a heart condition:
- You have uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)
- You had a cardiovascular event (heart attack, stroke, life-threatening arrhythmias) in the last 6 months
Also, you cannot take this type of erectile dysfunction treatment if you take nitrates or alpha blockers. Nitrates are commonly prescribed for angina and after a heart attack. Alpha blockers are usually used to reduce blood pressure if you have hypertension.
However, if you are able to take PDE5 inhibitors, there is some evidence that it might actually help your overall health. One study from 2017 found that after a heart attack, men who took PDE5 inhibitors had a lower mortality rate and were less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure. Further research is needed, but this is an encouraging study for men with both ED and heart disease.
TriMix Injections May be a Good ED Treatment Choice
If you can’t take PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra because of your heart conditions, then you may be able to use TriMix injections as an erectile dysfunction treatment. These injections are usually safe even if you are on nitrates. TriMix injections contain three powerful medications that can improve erectile function. This medicine is a shot you inject into the penis and, because it’s localized to that area, is often safe if you have heart disease, even if you have contraindications for PDE5 inhibitors. However, if you have high blood pressure, you’ll need to get it under control before you start TriMix injections.
Customized Treatment Plans from Our Men’s Health Clinic
Our team at Low T Center offers total health care for men completely customized to you. We help you with common health concerns like erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and even high blood pressure. We are proud to provide affordable, convenient, and easy options for improving your health. Our providers can help identify underlying conditions and causes of your symptoms to help you get relief and stay healthy. Make an appointment today to learn how we can help you feel your best.
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.