We get it. If you’re a guy, talking about health problems isn’t easy, especially when they deal with personal issues like your sex life. But you aren’t alone. Nearly 30 million men struggle with erectile dysfunction.
What’s worse? Very few of those men take the necessary steps to understand what’s causing it and get help. You don’t have to be part of that statistic.
At HippoMed Wellness Clinics, we understand how sensitive this issue can be. However, we also know erectile dysfunction isn’t just a normal part of life — it’s a treatable condition with many possible causes.
Here, our experts take a closer look at how your weight may play a role in your less-than-satisfying sex life and what you can do about it.
Normally, an erection occurs when the blood vessels leading to the penis dilate and fill with blood. This process relies on the lining of those blood vessels releasing nitric oxide (a naturally occurring gas), which allows the muscles to relax and the penis to become engorged.
Because healthy erectile functioning is essentially a cardiovascular event, anything that impacts your vascular health can interfere with this process and result in erectile dysfunction.
The most common contributing factors include age, smoking, medications, and drug or alcohol use. Being overweight, however, poses the greatest threat to nearly every facet of your sex life.
Although it’s unclear whether being overweight is a direct cause of erectile dysfunction or if it’s simply tied to risk factors, there’s no denying your weight’s impact on your vascular health.
When you’re overweight or obese, your blood vessels weaken, your testosterone levels decrease, and your body becomes inflamed. Don’t forget the effect that complications of unhealthy weight, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can have.
All these attacks on your overall health inevitably damage the inner lining of your blood vessels, which makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to produce and sustain an erection.
Furthermore, the fatty diet and lack of exercise that contribute to obesity and cardiovascular issues can also lead to a narrowing and hardening of your arteries, which stalls efficient blood flow.
Obesity is also notorious for reducing testosterone levels. Without testosterone, your chances of a healthy, robust sex life suffer.
It may surprise you, but there’s a chance you could be overweight and not know it. One study found that 10% of obese people didn’t realize they had a weight problem.
So how do you know for sure if the number on the scale has crossed a line? You can check your BMI, but that isn’t always the most reliable yardstick. Here are a few things to consider if you’re evaluating your weight.
Measuring your waist is a great way to tell if you’re carrying too much extra weight. For men, a waist circumference over 40 inches typically marks overweight status.
If you’re overweight, you may develop a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when your airways become obstructed while you sleep, cutting off oxygen and temporarily stopping your breathing. One of the telltale signs is loud snoring.
Excess weight puts excess pressure on your organs, including your lungs. That can make simple tasks, such as tying your shoes, walking up stairs, or cleaning your room, a major chore. If you notice fatigue, shortness of breath, and/or difficulty breathing, it may be a weight problem.
Other warning signs include achy joints and new or worsening heartburn.
Fortunately, erectile dysfunction linked to obesity can be improved by making lifestyle changes. We guide you toward healthy habits that help you lose weight, increase exercise, and even manage any mental or emotional burdens you’re carrying.
We also offer a variety of other erectile dysfunction treatments that complement lifestyle changes, including hormone replacement and medications.
Stop living with the physical and emotional weight of erectile dysfunction. Make an appointment online or over the phone to start your journey toward a happier, healthier you.