Erectile Dysfunction and alcohol - Are they connected?
Erectile dysfunction can be embarrassing, and a worrying condition for a man of any age. However, it is quite common, especially amongst the older population. According to the NHS guidelines, erectile dysfunction is known as impotence and means a man can find it difficult to get physically aroused, as well as keeping an erection long enough to fulfil his and his partners desires. This can lead to other problems too, outside of the bedroom, including low self esteem, lower confidence, and can put a strain on a relationship. This condition has many triggers, including high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol as well as possibly being the first sign of a serious health condition.
But what effect does alcohol have?
Well, it turns out that alcohol does have a big impact on one’s sexual desire. Alcohol is a depressant, which can make both men and women lose their sexual sensitivity, according to a Drink Aware article. This can result in men having difficulty in getting and maintaining an erection.
Many believe alcohol is an aphrodisiac, which in small doses it can be, but too much and the effects can be the complete opposite. When drinking, alcohol decreases blood flow to the penis, reducing the level of excitement you may usually feel - as well as making you less likely to orgasm or to get an erection. Therefore leading to your intimate moments not being as good as you had hoped for, according to Everyday Health.
Of course the effects may only last for that night. However, if one continues to drink a lot of alcohol over the course of a long period of time then the condition can become worse. This can result in a person becoming completely impotent, which can last for a very long period of time.
Long term erectile dysfunction
Long term erectile dysfunction has been linked to an excessive and heavy consumption of alcohol. If you drink copious amounts of alcohol regularly and are dependant upon it, then Everyday Health explain how you are more likely to suffer with erectile dysfunction. In fact, you are 60 to 70% more likely to suffer from the condition, as well as a loss of sexual desire and premature ejaculation.
Consequences of erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can not only knock a man’s confidence in the bedroom, but can lead to low self-esteem and low confidence outside of the bedroom. They may feel that they are not ‘man enough’, which simply isn’t true. Affected men may become anxious and can lose their desire to have sex, because they are scared to even attempt sex incase it happens again. Guilt is another common feeling - that they can’t please their partner or themselves. All of the symptoms cause stresses in everyday life, and men suffering from the condition may take it out on the people close to them by either becoming withdrawn, angry, upset, down and sad. These feelings are natural, and you shouldn’t be ashamed if you do go through a stage in your life where you have erectile dysfunction. You shouldn’t stop loving and withdraw from showing affection to your partner. This would be one of the worst things to do at this difficult time. Knowing that your partner is there to support you will be a big help to you. They too have feelings and may feel worried, concerned, confused, rejected and helpless. They will want to help you, so try not to take it out on them.
Should I visit a doctor?
If your erectile dysfunction lasts for more than a few weeks then it is a good idea to see your doctor. As we said previously, erectile dysfunction could be a sign of an underlying problem that is serious to your health. So don’t delay in visiting your doctor if the problem hasn’t gone away after a few (roughly 3-4) weeks.If you believe your erectile dysfunction is related to the amount you drink, why not take a complete break from alcohol or cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume? Drink Aware have a free app that you can download to track how much you drink and how much you spend. It also allows you to set goals that you want to achieve.
If the condition is causing you distress and you feel depressed, have low confidence and self-esteem or are just generally unhappy, because of what you are going through, it could be a good idea for you to see a councillor. They will see you in the strictest of confidence and try and find ways for you to cope during this difficult time.
If you smoke and find you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, then why not take a look at our blog post of the effects of smoking on erectile dysfunction.