When wondering if smokers at an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, studies show there is a connection. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), cigarette smoking may lead to cardiovascular problems, which plays a role in the development of erectile dysfunction.
If someone smokes regularly, this can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. With plaque in the arteries, blood flow is restricted throughout the body, including in the penis, leading to problems like erectile dysfunction (ED).
Health Problems From Smoking
Cigarette smoking may lead to many potential health problems, some of which are still being discovered. Some of the problems smoking may cause include:
- Coronary heart disease: where a smoker has a two to four times higher risk than a non-smoker.
- Stroke: where a smoker has a two to four times higher risk than a non-smoker.
- Lung cancer: where a smoker has a 25 times higher risk than a non-smoker.
- Lung diseases: where a smoker may develop emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- High blood pressure: where the interior of the blood vessels thickens and the open space narrows, forcing the heart to work harder.
- Reduced fertility: where men may have a reduced sperm count.
Smoking fewer than five cigarettes a day can lead to a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
Frequent ED vs. Occasional ED
With ED, a man cannot get or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Men of any age and with any level of risk may suffer from occasional ED, which may be caused by temporary factors, including stress, alcohol intake, or certain medications.
However, if a man is suffering from erectile dysfunction on a regular basis, it may be a sign of more significant health problems. Because an increased level of blood flow to the penis occurs during an erection, those health problems that involve blood flow in the body could show up in the early stages as ED.
How Smoking Relates to ED
Not every occasion of erectile dysfunction necessarily is traced back to smoking. Smokers could be having ED for other reasons.
However, the two do have some direct relationships. A recent study in China found that smoking and ED are related in a few different ways, including:
- Higher risk: where men who smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day had a 60% higher risk of suffering from ED than non-smokers.
- Increased frequency: where men in the study who reported they were either current or former smokers were 30% more likely to have suffered ED than men who had never smoked.
How Smoking Affects Blood Flow
When lit, cigarettes can create thousands of different kinds of chemicals, dozens of which are toxic to the human body. Certain chemicals related to smoking damage the lining of the interior of the blood vessels in the body.
If these blood vessels suffer enough damage, they will not be able to deliver enough blood flow to the penis to allow for an erection. The body’s nervous system and brain may signal to the penis to allow a greater blood flow, but the blood vessels simply cannot deliver the required blood.
For younger men who are suffering from ED, cigarette smoking is a common cause. Older men may have other diseases that lead to ED, and smoking can cause further complications.
Learning How to Stop Smoking
Beyond reducing the effects of ED, quitting smoking significantly decreases the risk of heart attacks or strokes within a year or two after quitting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your cancer risks drop by half within five to 10 years after quitting smoking.
Even if people want to quit smoking, though, it can be difficult because of the addictive nature of nicotine. Some people are able to quit smoking on their own with no help. Others will need the help of doctors, family members, and friends.
One of the best things smokers can do is figure out what types of things cause them to want to smoke. Identifying triggers that cause you to need a cigarette can help you avoid those things and figure out other ways to deal with them.
Finding Relief From Erectile Dysfunction
It seems clear that smokers are at an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. If you have stopped smoking, but you are still having problems with ED, you may want to explore other options for overcoming it.
But those men who have ED may struggle to discuss it with others. There is a social stigma with erectile dysfunction that can be tough to deal with for men. But ED is more common than you may think.
Questions about erectile dysfunction are common. To find some answers about the best treatment for you, contact a GAINSWave® therapy provider today. Our therapy does not require taking oral ED medication. Please contact us for help finding a doctor in your area who works with our treatment method.