Sexual Health

Performance Anxiety and ED: How Are They Linked?

Oct 22, 2023
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Performance Anxiety and ED: How Are They Linked?

Sexual performance anxiety (SPA) and erectile dysfunction (ED) affect men of all ages, and the two issues are commonly confused. While SPA may cause symptoms of ED, and SPA is sometimes misdiagnosed as ED, each is a distinct issue.

Our team of urologists at Gulf Coast Urology in Houston and Nassau Bay, Texas, treat SPA and ED and help men regain their sexual health. If you’re having challenges performing in the bedroom, it’s normal to wonder if you have SPA or ED. Our team understands the difference and can help you get the answers and treatment you need.

In this post, we discuss the distinctions between SPA and ED and how they’re linked.

How SPA can lead to ED symptoms

Nervousness and anxiety affect just about everyone at one time or another. When you’re apprehensive or stressed, physiological changes occur that make it more difficult to obtain and sustain an erection.

Anxious thoughts trigger a series of reactions that include the narrowing of blood vessels and an increase in stress hormones. This decreases blood flow throughout your body, including blood flow to your penis.

Because of the mind/body connection, thoughts and feelings can cause a physical response that leads to symptoms of ED.

Symptoms of SPA include:

  • Stress or worry before or during sex
  • Trouble climaxing
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Reduced interest in sex

Sexual performance anxiety can make it difficult to enjoy sex and have a gratifying sex life.

The distinction between SPA and ED

While anxiety is the cause of problems obtaining and maintaining an erection in SPA, in patients with erectile dysfunction, anxiety isn’t the issue. Typically, medical conditions affecting circulation are behind performance issues in ED.

Symptoms of ED include:

  • Trouble achieving an erection
  • Problems sustaining an erection
  • Erections that don’t last long
  • Partial erections

As with SPA, something reduces blood flow to your penis. But with ED, it isn’t anxious thoughts causing your problem. Men are more likely to experience ED when they have the following conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart disease

These conditions impact blood flow throughout your body. Injury to your prostate or pelvis can also cause symptoms of ED. In some cases, certain medications that affect blood flow are responsible for ED symptoms.

For those who have an underlying issue affecting circulation, sometimes treating the underlying condition is enough to restore sexual health. Treatment options can help restore blood flow to your penis and alleviate ED symptoms.

Getting help for SPA and ED

Having a gratifying sex life is beneficial not only to sexual health but also to overall health. If you’re experiencing problems with performance, you can benefit from talking to a medical professional with experience treating sexual difficulties.

Both SPA and ED are treatable. The first step is to schedule an evaluation. Once our team assesses you, we’ll have some insight into what’s going on, which puts us in a good position to suggest appropriate treatment options and outline a plan.

The Gulf Coast Urology team stands ready to help you on the path to restored sexual health. To schedule a visit, call our location closest to you today or request an appointment online.

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Book your personalized care

To access the best, most comprehensive urological care, partner with the team at Gulf Coast Urology. Request your appointment today by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool.

Gulf Coast Urology patient and doctor