Many factors, including the hydration levels, may affect erectile dysfunction. Dehydration may reduce blood volume and affect mood, so a person can find drinking water can help keep an erection going.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is when a man has trouble having an erection or holding it on. Somewhere about 30 million men encounter ED. A vast array of factors can affect ED.
We look at the relationship between hydration and both ED and sex drive in this post, how you can tell if you’re dehydrated, and other causes of erectile dysfunction.
Is dehydration linked to ED?
Temporary ED may be affected by hydration levels of an individual. A lack of adequate body water can have physiological and mental impact on a human.
To achieve and sustain an erection a man requires many elements. A failure in one or more of these steps means that he might not be able to attain an erection that is adequately strong for sex. The process includes:
- sexual arousal, or the messages sent to the brain that stimulate blood flow to the penis
- increased blood flow into two chambers in the penis called the corpus cavernosum that leads to the penis swelling and becoming erect
- when a man achieves ejaculation, the blood leaves the chambers, and the erection goes away
When a man is dehydrated he has less blood flow in his body than when he is adequately hydrated. His blood vessels then become constricted, since there is not enough blood to hold them open. This impairs the flow of blood to every part of the body, including the penis.
No study has explored whether dehydration triggers the erectile dysfunction directly, so more studies are required.
When a person is dehydrated, their body releases greater quantities of the enzyme angiotensin I, leading to the constriction of the blood vessels.
In animal studies, the existence of angiotensin II, which the body produces from angiotensin I, was correlated with sexual dysfunction, although further research is needed into how this affects humans.
Mood is often correlated with dehydration, in addition to the physical effects of dehydration that affect penile erection.
A 2011 study on a small scale showed that moderate dehydration in men was associated with diminished memory, agitation and anxiety.
A person’s mental state can have a profound effect on their sex drive and ED. Stress, anxiety , depression and nervousness may all lead to ED, the American Academy of Family Physicians says. Hence, the mood changes associated with dehydration may lead to ED.
Symptoms of dehydration
The fluid needs of a person may differ depending on their body size, level of physical activity and exposure to warm temperatures.
When a person is mildly dehydrated, symptoms can develop that include:
Drinking enough water, including sexual health, can make a person feel better on many levels. An individual is expected to drink enough water, so their urine is clear in color, and they are not thirsty.
If a person begins to have signs of dehydration and does not drink water or other fluids, they may progress to serious dehydration. That can become a medical emergency.
Symptoms of severe dehydration include:
- having an intense sense of thirst
- lack of sweating even in warm climates
- low blood pressure
- producing little to no urine
- a fast heart rate
Causes of erectile dysfunction
There are a variety of reasons a man can encounter ED. The condition can be encountered by men of all ages. Although people are associating getting older with ED, this need not be the case.
Some conditions which affect blood flow can trigger ED, including:
- high blood pressure
- history of alcohol and tobacco use
- history of brain or spinal cord injuries
- history of radiation to the testicles
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- bladder or prostate surgery
ED is also associated with the taking of such drugs. That include antidepressants, drugs that reduce blood pressure, and pain medications.
Moreover, mental health problems, anxiety or a strained relationship with a partner may all lead to men’s ED.
ED is a common disorder that affects men, and is sometimes treated. Although doctors have not performed detailed research studies about how ED is directly influenced by dehydration, there are other studies and literature that could provide a link.
Dehydration, however, is usually a transient disorder and not the primary contributor to long-term ED. If a man is continually having trouble getting an erection or holding it, he should speak to his doctor for a diagnosis.