The effects of high cholesterol in men can have a negative impact on a man’s sexual life.
Why does high cholesterol levels lead to erectile dysfunction? High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction are seemingly unrelated conditions that actually go hand in hand. How do erections work? After sexual stimulation in men either by touch or through the mind, the body releases chemicals that cause the penile arteries (corpora cavernosa) to relax. The arteries dilate causing the corpora cavernosa to fill with blood. As a result of clinical observation, the penis becomes stiffer and elongated. Erections subside after stimulation ceases or after an orgasm.
An underlying condition that increases the risk of erectile dysfunction is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a lipid or “fat-like” substance that resides in the cells of an individual’s body. Cholesterol is carried through an individual’s blood along with proteins.
There are 2 types of cholesterol:
LDL (low density lipoprotein)
HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol; this type of cholesterol can obstruct the walls within the arteries due to development of excess fatty deposits within the blood vessels.
HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol; HDL takes excess cholesterol and delivers the excess back into the liver.
High cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol can contribute to adverse medical conditions such as heart disease which increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. High cholesterol can affect blood flow within the body which increases the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
Before we dive more into the correlation between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction let’s talk about how erections work.
During an erection, chemicals are released (such as nitric oxide) causing the arteries within the penis (corpora cavernosa) to relax resulting in the corpora cavernosa to be filled with blood. This allows the penis to become stiff as well as elongated.
How is High Cholesterol Related to Erection Problems?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Too much bad cholesterol (also known as LDL) in the bloodstream creates arterial plaque that damages and blocks blood flow. These blockages will result to inadequate circulation of blood throughout the system including the penis and genital area. As a result, erection problems occur. The side effects of high cholesterol in men can lead to erectile dysfunction. The higher your LDL levels the more likely to develop erection problems and severe cases lead to impotence. Also, high cholesterol can make the body more difficult to produce the necessary chemicals to create an erection. High cholesterol affects the body’s ability to properly release nitric oxide into the bloodstream. This prevents the proper relaxation of penile tissues to cause erectile engorgement.
Is High Cholesterol and Erectile Dysfunction Reversible?
High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction could be an underlying cause of another health problem. However, these problems are reversible. High cholesterol affects testosterone production. Testosterone is a hormone responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of men. Testosterone is also responsible for sending messages of sexual stimulation throughout the body. Testicles produce testosterone that plays a vital role in controlling a man’s sexual drive. High cholesterol limits blood flow to the testicles. As a result, may damage their ability to produce testosterone.
Lipid lowering medications can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Although these medications can lower cholesterol levels, a lot of men report negative effect on their erectile function. Lower cholesterol levels can help reverse erectile dysfunction. However, some men taking lipid lowering pills face difficulty in achieving an erection for the meantime. As a result, erection problems occur.
What are the Side Effects of High Cholesterol in Men?
In men, high cholesterol can damage sexual performance and decreases libido. High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction are two linked health conditions. Erectile dysfunction is the earliest symptom of high cholesterol in men. Heart problems are connected with high cholesterol levels. The accumulation of lipids, cholesterol, and other chemicals in and on the artery walls is known as atherosclerosis. The accumulation is known as plaque. Atherosclerosis can constrict the arteries and obstruct blood flow. The plaque may rupture and cause a blood clot. People with lower vitamin D levels are more likely to have high cholesterol levels.
If you have chronic kidney disease, you can have erectile dysfunction. After having cancer, you can also experience acute erectile dysfunction.
Are there treatments Available?
There are manifold treatment options available for patients suffering from high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. These sexual health treatments won’t interfere with your lipid lowering medications like statins. Although treatments can help with high cholesterol, you need to do some exercise, like exercising your pelvic floor to lower cholesterol.
Call your physicians at Boston Medical Group Telemedicine for appointment. They prescribe the best course of treatment for erectile dysfunction after thorough assessment to avoid complications and have a good night’s sleep. In some cases, Boston Medical Group Telemedicine can help patients resume their sexual performance in just one call. For further inquiries about the treatment for erection problems, call 1-800-337-7555.