For many conditions, high cholesterol is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is a disorder in which a person with a penis can not get an erection that is adequate in sexual intercourse or hold it. Although it is not common to have this problem on occasion, it is commonly faced by people with ED.
There are several risk factors for developing ED and one of these may be high cholesterol.
Read on to learn more about the interaction between high cholesterol and ED.
Is there a connection ?
There are certain links between ED and high cholesterol.
In general terms, ED is usually a symptom of another underlying condition of health. The underlying condition causes blood flow around the body in many cases and that is what contributes to ED. Types of circumstances favorable to ED include:
- heart disease
- blood vessel disease
- high blood pressure
- Peyronie’s disease
High cholesterol is a risk factor associated with many of these conditions and can therefore also increase the likelihood of an individual having ED.
Cholesterol is a waxy material found in the blood. Several body functions such as building new tissue and producing bile and sex hormones are essential for this.
Even though cholesterol is essential, too much can cause many health issues. There are two main types of cholesterol: lipoprotein of high density (HDL) and lipoprotein of low density (LDL).
The form of LDL cholesterol that causes problems is. It can bind to the inside of the arteries, resulting in an atheroma accumulation, a fatty material that narrows the arteries, making it difficult for blood to move through.
This substance’s accumulation is called atherosclerosis, and it can cause some serious problems, including an increased risk of developing ED.
Statins are the most popular drug used in people over the age of 10 to treat high cholesterol. Doctors usually prescribe statins along with lifestyle changes, such as daily exercise and a healthy diet, to lower cholesterol.
Statins slow out cholesterol growth. They block HMG-CoA reductase, a protein required by the body for the development of cholesterol in the liver. The body creates more receptors in response to the inhibition of this protein which removes cholesterol from the blood.
Statins are effective at reducing the high levels of LDL cholesterol. Many people at risk of heart disease regularly take statins which are relatively safe to do. These can, however, trigger many side effects which could include:
- stomach pain
- pins and needles
Many statin products are available, such as:
- atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- fluvastatin (Lescol)
- lovastatin (Mevacor)
- pravastatin (Pravachol)
- pitavastatin (Livalo)
A doctor may prescribe other drugs as well as prescribing statins and suggesting healthy lifestyle changes, such as nicotinic acid, which is one of the components of vitamin B-3.
If the cause relates to high cholesterol, statins may help people with ED. Somebody with atherosclerosis, for example, may experience ED as a symptom of their disease. Therefore, treating statin atherosclerosis can lead to a reduction in ED symptoms.
Recent research suggests statins could be more commonly capable of treating ED. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that those who have taken statins are less likely to have ED symptoms than those who have not.
Although these findings are positive, the authors state that the statins were only as successful as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors between one-third and one-half. This class of drugs, which contains sildenafil (Viagra), is commonly used by doctors to treat ED.
For this explanation, it is unlikely that any time soon, physicians will begin prescribing statins to treat ED. Yet, for patients who also have ED, they’ll prescribe statins to treat high cholesterol.
Other natural treatments and remedies may also boost ED symptoms.
Other causes of ED
ED is usually the result of blood flow disturbances, nerve supply or hormone levels. Both problems may be caused by physical health disorders related to high cholesterol, such as heart and blood vessel diseases.
Other risk factors for ED could include:
- injury to the penis or surrounding area
- alcohol use
- use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine
- chronic kidney disease
- multiple sclerosis
- cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy
Often, may medications can cause ED as a side effect. These examples include:
- blood pressure drugs
- appetite suppressants
- ulcer medications
It is also likely that some psychological factors– such as low self-esteem or anxiety – can cause ED
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get an erection, or sustain it.
High cholesterol is a risk factor for many diseases, such as heart disease, which can lead to ED. Because of this link people with high cholesterol are more likely to have ED.
Statins are a common drug to reduce cholesterol levels and may be effective in the treatment of ED.
There are plenty of other possible causes for ED. These include other physical causes, for example smoking and injury.
Also, psychological problems like anxiety can trigger ED.