Questions About Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction? Ask an Expert
Facts About Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction
The great William Shakespeare once noted that alcohol, “provokes the desire but takes away the performance” and studies have proven this to be true. For many men, alcohol can help put both them and their partner in the mood, but at the end of the day, alcohol is a depressant and too much alcohol consumption can negatively affect the man’s sexual performance, ability to attain an erection, or reach orgasm. Hence, the popular slang "whiskey dick" emerged to refer to alcohol-related sexual dysfunction. ED that's induced by alcohol is a temporary condition due to overindulging in alcohol in the short term. In the long term, higher levels of alcohol intake in heavy drinkers and alcoholics can also do permanent damage to their penile arteries and become impotent from overindulging in alcohol over a long period of time.
Quick Facts on Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction
- Alcohol abuse in men can cause impaired testosterone production and shrinkage of the testes (i.e. testicular atrophy).
- Alcohol dilates and expands the blood vessels in the penis, increasing blood flow by 20 to 40 times. If you are able to achieve an erection during this state, the alcohol in your system actually keeps the blood vessels open, allowing the blood to drain out quickly, returning the penis to a relaxed state.
- One reason why drinking large amounts of alcohol can make it hard to get or keep an erection is that, as a diuretic, drinking alcohol causes dehydration which then causes decreased blood volume and increased angiotensin that can limit blood flow to the penis.
- Long-term alcohol abuse affects the central nervous system and impairs the impulses between the brain’s pituitary gland and the genitals.
- Consuming alcohol can contribute to the development of ED but chronic and persistent alcohol use is known to induce sexual dysfunction.
- Multiple studies found that a significant percentage of men with alcohol dependence syndrome had one or more sexual dysfunction; such as low sexual desire, dysfunction in satisfying orgasm, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.
- Men with underlying conditions should take extra careful precautions regarding their alcohol intake. For example, pairing excessive alcohol consumption with diabetes mellitus increases the risk of developing erectile dysfunction since alcohol can greatly affect the blood sugar levels in your body.
- Clinical studies have shown that prolonged alcohol abuse causes irreversible damage to the nerves in the penis, greatly affecting male sexual function and resulting in alcohol impotence.
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Many men are able to regain full sexual function and are able to please their partner after just one treatment!