There are millions of men that are suffering from a condition known as erectile dysfunction. It is also more commonly referred to as simply ED, as well as impotence. This is usually the condition of men having a difficult time achieving an erection or is unable to maintain an erection long enough to participate in sexual intercourse. This is usually caused by not enough blood flowing to the penis.
How common is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction affects more than 50 percent of the male population over 40 years old. More than 300,000 males are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction each year. There are various reasons as to why men experience erectile dysfunction. Things such as:
- High cholesterol
- Harding of the arteries
- Lifestyle choices
The Process of an Erection
Before you are able to understand how alcoholism affects erections, it is usually important to understand how the process of an erection works. When a man becomes stimulated through physical touch and visualization, their brain becomes stimulated and sends messages to the muscles in the pelvic area to relax. Once the muscles relax, the blood is able to flow more easily to the penis.
The pressure that is exerted by the blood coming into the penis causes the blood vessels to expand and the penis to become engorged. This results in an erection. The ability to maintain an erection depends on the muscles in the penis to hold the blood for a certain amount of time.
The Blood Flow
While alcohol may succeed as an aphrodisiac in helping to get people in the mood to have sexual experiences, it may cause the execution to fail. Because erections depend on the flow of blood, things that can restrict this from occurring can lead to erectile dysfunction. The primary action of alcoholic beverages is to increase the flow of blood. This lasts as long as the liquid is in the male’s system.
The excessive liquid is emptied by the process of urination. This should mean that alcohol should assist with an erection, and not cause a performance issue. However, the opposite is true. Also, alcohol behaves as a sedative and may also curb any anxiety of performing that the man may have. A major factor of erectile dysfunction in young men is performance anxiety.
During an erection after the penis fills with blood, the blood vessels close to prevent the blood from backflow so that the penis remains erect for a long period of time. In short term, alcohol causes the blood vessels in the penis is enlarge allowing for an increase of blood flow, but prevents the vessels from properly closing. This causes the penis to become engorged, but there is nothing preventing backflow.
Long term consumption of alcohol use can cause permanent damage to the blood vessels and even cause heart disease and hypertension. Both of these can contribute to the effects of erectile dysfunction.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
Alcohol is a depressant on the nervous system and can cause a blockage of the impulses to nerves, as well as the messages that the brain sends to the body. This is usually why people that are drunk will have slurred speech, outbursts of emotion, and difficulty walking. In some men, even the smallest amounts of alcohol can affect the nervous system in ways of causing slower reflexes.
Some studies have shown that moderate drinking, such as one or two drinks per day may actually improve their cardiovascular health. However, excessive drinking and alcohol abuse can cause your liver to become scarred, an increased risk of cancers, and high blood pressure.
Alcohol abuse in males can also cause a decrease in testosterone levels and cause the testes to shrink. This is referred to as testicular atrophy. These changes can result in impotence, infertility, as well as reduced male characteristics such as facial hair and muscles. When alcohol is broken down in the system, it can also cause issues with the structure and mobility of sperm. A decrease in testosterone levels can not only cause erectile dysfunction, but cause a decrease of sexual desires, as well. If you levels are too low, your brain may not be able to transmit messages of stimulation to your penis.
Healthy Consumption versus Alcoholism
While it may be difficult for the user to realize the difference between healthy consumption versus alcoholism, there are usually four symptoms associated with alcohol dependency. Cravings or a strong need to consume a drink can be the first sign of trouble. The next could be a loss of control. If you have the inability to limit your drinking on any given occasion, you may have an issue that can lead to erectile dysfunction.
If you experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and anxiety occur when the use of alcohol has stopped after a period of time or if you need to drink larger amounts of alcohol to feel the high, you may have crossed the line from healthy consumption to alcoholism. The more alcohol that is consumed, the higher your risk of getting erectile dysfunction may be.
Other Contributing Factors
In a few cases, alcohol may not be the contributing factor for erectile dysfunction. Psychological issues are responsible for roughly ten to 20 percent of sexual issues, and medicine affects an additional 25 percent. The best way to determine what your underlying issue is, you should see your doctor.