The prevalence of obesity in the United States is eye-opening — more than 42% of adults over the age of 20 are considered to have obesity. Now, let’s look at another surprising statistic — the prevalence of erectile dysfunction among men in the US is about 52%. Given these numbers, there’s bound to be considerable crossover between those who have obesity and those who have ED, but is it just a coincidence? Likely not, in many cases.
To help explain the link between obesity and erectile dysfunction, Drs. John Bertini, James Harris, and the rest of the men’s health team here at Gulf Coast Urology pulled together the following information.
Common causes of ED
Far and away, one of the more common causes of ED is simple aging. The incidence of ED tends to increase in lockstep with your age — 40% prevalence for men at the age of 40 and a 70% prevalence for men aged 70.
There are many reasons why ED tends to develop with age, including poor cardiovascular health, lower hormone levels, muscle weakness, and more.
Many of the same conditions that arise with age, also arise when you have obesity. For example, to maintain and achieve an erection, your vascular health needs to be functioning properly as your erection is caused largely by blood flow into your penis.
If you have a buildup of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, your circulation can be compromised, which may prevent enough blood from flowing into your penis.
This is one of the more direct links behind the co-occurence of obesity and ED, but the other connections are more elusive. Researchers have found that obesity is a significant risk factor for ED, but the exact cause-and-effect mechanism has been difficult to pin down.
That said, we’re confident that a link exists. For example, one study found that 31% of the 55 participants who were treated for their ED with diet and exercise regained normal sexual function compared with only 2% in the control group (no diet or exercise).
This is just one example of many that point to a connection between weight loss and improved sexual function.
Treating your ED
We have extensive experience helping men overcome ED and we can do the same for you. Each patient is different and we start with a thorough evaluation of your health so that we can identify the underlying cause of your ED.
If we feel that your obesity is playing a role, we recommend losing weight as a frontline approach for restoring your sexual health. This weight loss will also benefit your health in countless other ways.
We also offer medications and implants should weight loss not garner the results you desire.
If you’d like to learn more about the connection between obesity and ED, please contact one of our locations in Nassau Bay or Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.