Hot days and ED? There may be a link!
As the days are starting to get longer and warmer, you may be thinking about breaking out the shorts, rubbing on sunscreen and firing up the barbeque, but you might also notice that you’re having trouble achieving or maintaining erections.
Research shows that hot weather can have different effects on sexual function for different men. Some find it easier, although many find it more difficult. Here we’ll explore reasons as to why that is.
The most common reason men may experience erectile dysfunction more on hot days is dehydration. Due to your body using more water for homeostatic processes like sweating on hot days, you are more likely to become dehydrated. When hydration levels in your body fall, you begin to produce more of the enzyme angiotensin II.
Among other things, angiotensin II’s main effects on the body are:
- Narrowed blood vessels (vasoconstriction).
- Rise in blood pressure.
- Stimulation of nerves which create feelings of thirst and salt craving.
- Increases water reabsorption and retention in the kidneys.
The first two of those effects, vasoconstriction and increased blood pressure, are the things which can make erections more difficult. Erections rely on blood traveling into the penis from the rest of the body. If vasoconstriction occurs, the body is less able to push this blood through. High blood pressure exacerbates this.
Increased blood pressure can also affect your sex drive, and over time can damage blood vessels and arteries. If you think you have problems with your blood pressure, speak to your doctor about ways to treat it.
Ways in which you can identify whether you are dehydrated include:
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
Dehydration is luckily easily fixable, and drinking a large glass of water and trying again half an hour or so later may help.
Consumption of alcohol tends to peak in the UK around Christmas time, however if you regularly drink socially, you may find that your attendance of beer gardens or drinks in the sun may creep up on you.
Men aged 55-64 are more likely than anyone else to drink at higher risk levels, and are least likely not to drink at all. It may be that a generation who drank heavily in the 1990s and 2000s is bringing those habits into middle age, with potentially serious consequences for their long-term health. The NHS recommends you drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more. That’s around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer.
Researchers from the University of Washington performed a study in which they found that sober men were able to achieve an erection significantly more quickly than intoxicated men, and some men are unable to have an erection at all after drinking. This is thought to be because alcohol consumption reduces blood flow to the penis and dampens nerve sensitivity and sex drive.
Many factors throughout the summer months may lead to you being tired, such as walking outside more or trying to keep your body cool.
When your body needs rest, it avoids activities that are too crucial. This includes physiological processes involved with sex.
Being tired can lead to lower production of testosterone and dopamine, which are both involved in sex drive, and higher production of cortisol, which can lead to feelings of stress which aslo hinder sexual function
If you are experiencing sexual problems due to tiredness, the best thing to do is ensure you are getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. If you feel consistently tired and worry that it may be a problem with fatigue, you should speak to your doctor about your testosterone levels. Fatigue and erectile dysfunction are two symptoms of low testosterone, which can be easily fixed by lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, exercise and weight loss. In some cases your doctor may also suggest hormone therapy.
All of these could be factors causing your ED, but if your ED has been occurring frequently over an extended period of time, there may be an underlying condition causing it.
90% of men with ED have at least one underlying physical cause for their problem. The main abnormalities found are:
- Cardiovascular disease in 40%.
- Diabetes in 33%.
- Hormone imbalances in 11% (mainly high prolactin or low testosterone levels)
- Neurological disorders in 10%.
- Pelvic surgery or trauma in 3-5%.
- Anatomical abnormalities in 1-3% (e.g. tight foreskin, short penile frenulum, Peyronie’s disease, inflammation).
If you think you might have one of these conditions, and have spoken to your doctor about ED, shockwave therapy may be able to help you regain sexual function.
Watch the video below and contact us if you think this treatment may be of interest to you.