High cholesterol is a risk factor for many conditions, including erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which a person with a penis is unable to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse. Although it is not usual to have this problem every now and then, people with erectile dysfunction regularly experience it.
There are several risk factors for developing erectile dysfunction, and high cholesterol can be one of them.
Keep reading to learn more about the link between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction.
There are links between ED and high cholesterol.
Generally speaking, erectile dysfunction is usually a symptom of another underlying health problem. In many cases, the underlying disease affects the blood flow in the body, and this is what leads to erectile dysfunction. The following are examples of conditions that can lead to ED:
High cholesterol is a risk factor associated with many of these conditions, and therefore, it can also increase a person’s likelihood of having erectile dysfunction.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. It is essential for several bodily functions, such as building new tissue and producing bile and sex hormones.
Although cholesterol is essential, too much can cause many health problems. There are two main types of cholesterol: high density lipoproteins (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL).
LDL cholesterol is the type that causes problems. It can stick inside the arteries, causing a buildup of atheroma, a fatty substance that narrows the arteries and makes it difficult for blood to pass.
The buildup of this substance is called atherosclerosis and can lead to serious complications, including an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
Learn more about the differences between HDL and LDL cholesterol here.
Statins are the
Statins slow down the production of cholesterol. they block
Statins are effective in lowering high LDL cholesterol levels. Some people at risk for heart disease take statins regularly, which is relatively safe to do. However, they can cause side effects which can include:
There are many statin products available, such as:
- atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- fluvastatin (Lescol)
- lovastatin (Mevacor)
- pravastatin (Pravachol)
- pitavastatin (Livalo)
In addition to prescribing statins and recommending healthy lifestyle changes, a doctor may prescribe other medications, such as nicotinic acid, which is one of the components of vitamin B-3.
Statins can help people with erectile dysfunction if the cause is related to high cholesterol. For example, a person with atherosclerosis may experience erectile dysfunction as a symptom of their condition. Treating atherosclerosis with statins can therefore reduce the symptoms of ED.
Recent research suggests that statins may treat erectile dysfunction more generally. A review in the
While these results are promising, the authors claim that statins were only between one-third and one-half as effective as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. Doctors commonly use this class of drugs, which includes sildenafil (Viagra), to treat erectile dysfunction.
For this reason, doctors are unlikely to start prescribing statins for the treatment of erectile dysfunction anytime soon. However, they will prescribe statins to treat high cholesterol in people with erectile dysfunction.
Certain treatments and natural remedies can also improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. You can read about them here.
Erectile dysfunction is usually the result of problems with blood flow, innervation, or hormone levels. Physical health problems linked to high cholesterol, such as heart and vascular disease, can be responsible for these problems.
Other physical risk factors for erectile dysfunction can include:
Some medications can also cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Here are some examples:
- blood pressure medications
- appetite suppressant
- ulcer medications
It’s also possible that certain psychological factors – for example, low self-esteem or anxiety – can cause erectile dysfunction. You can read more about performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction here.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection.
High cholesterol is a risk factor for many conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction, such as heart disease. People with high cholesterol are more likely to have erectile dysfunction because of this link.
Statins are a common treatment for lowering cholesterol levels and may be helpful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
There are many other possible causes of ED. These include other physical causes, such as injuries and smoking.
Psychological problems, such as anxiety, can also cause erectile dysfunction.