Over the last few decades, erectile dysfunction (ED) has become a popular marketing ploy among companies hoping to capitalize on a man’s waning sexual health. No matter where you go on social media, at least one of every two advertising campaigns subtly persuades men to purchase the latest erection pills. However, although men rarely discuss erectile dysfunction in public spaces or with their doctor, the medical condition is much more common than some may think and can occur to any adult male at any time in their life.
Currently, erectile dysfunction affects 30 million men in the United States, and with each generation of the male population, that number continues to grow. Unfortunately, most men assume that ED is a medical condition that only affects older adults in their 60s and 70s, but that’s only partly true, as more recent studies show that younger men in their 30s and 40s are also just as susceptible to erectile dysfunction.
For years, physicians have tried to pinpoint the exact cause of erectile dysfunction, but after dozens of clinical studies, researchers have concluded that men can experience ED for various reasons. However, among all the many potential causes of ED, scientists have found that erectile dysfunction is more likely to occur once a man’s androgen hormones have begun to decline.
Created and released by the pituitary gland, androgens are the male sex hormones primarily responsible for a man’s sexual desire, muscle mass, bone density, energy, and mental health. Out of all the hormones in the androgen family, testosterone is the primary sex hormone produced in the testes and has the most significant effect on a man’s virility. Unfortunately, as men grow older, their testosterone will start to decline, dropping by 1% yearly as they continue to age. In some cases, this testosterone deficiency can occur due to primary hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes can no longer produce ample amounts of testosterone, while in other instances, damage or dysfunction involving the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus can also cause testosterone to decrease. With testosterone levels below expected nutritional standards, the body’s musculoskeletal system deteriorates at an accelerated rate, leaving it vulnerable to unwanted medical symptoms such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, decreased libido, and sexual performance. Given enough time, these symptoms can become a prelude to every man’s worst nightmare: being unable to produce an erection.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every man with low testosterone experiences erectile dysfunction. Although scientists have repeatedly researched testosterone’s effect on ED, they still have yet to fully understand the correlation between the two medical conditions, prompting a complex debate that remains a hot topic in the modern age: can low testosterone actually cause erectile dysfunction?
What’s the Link Between ED and Low Testosterone?
Reduced blood flow to the penis is typically the most common cause of erectile dysfunction. This occurrence is usually a result of more severe health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries), all of which are associated with low testosterone. These disorders can shrink the blood vessels and significantly decrease blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. Because of this, physicians conclude that since men with low testosterone are more likely to develop medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, they typically have a higher chance of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
Does Low Testosterone Impact Erectile Dysfunction?
Even though low testosterone doesn’t directly cause erectile dysfunction, researchers have found that specific Low T symptoms, such as decreased libido, fatigue, and sudden weight gain, can eventually contribute to its occurrence.
Low testosterone can significantly decrease sexual arousal, which is crucial in stimulating an erection. If you’re unable to have sexual fantasies, feel sexually attracted to your partner, or are simply unmotivated by sexual intercourse, you may have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
As your testosterone levels decline, you’re more likely to experience daily fatigue, making it more challenging to engage in physical activity. But, of course, that can also make men less interested in having sex with their partners, which can make achieving an erection more challenging.
Because Low T is a type of hormone imbalance, it can also change your body’s shape. As your hormone levels decline, you will likely gain more weight and feel too exhausted to exercise regularly. Eventually, the lack of physical activity will also lead to additional body fat and potential obesity, increasing the chances of erectile dysfunction.
Can Too-High Testosterone Levels Cause ED?
Men with naturally high testosterone levels typically do not experience erectile dysfunction. However, men with normal levels who take unprescribed testosterone as a performance enhancer may find that the excess testosterone they inject will eventually turn into estrogen. Men with abnormally high estrogen levels will most likely experience periods of ED.
What Other Things Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Besides low testosterone, many factors can impact your physical health and contribute to erectile dysfunction. Neurological issues such as injury to the pelvic area or nerve damage in the penis can significantly affect your ability to achieve an erection. Certain psychological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and stress, can also increase your chances of ED. You should also avoid certain prescription medications such as antidepressants, diuretics, and blood pressure medicines, as they can also cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, substance abuse, and excess amounts of alcohol can also eventually contribute to erectile dysfunction over a period of time.
Does Testosterone Replacement Help With Erections and Impotence?
Due to low testosterone’s effect on the male anatomy, testosterone treatments such as gels and patches have become increasingly popular among men hoping to boost their testosterone levels and treat their erectile dysfunction. But although raising testosterone levels has been proven to help treat medical conditions related to Low T, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every form of testosterone treatment is effective.
You must exercise caution as you search for testosterone treatment for erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, many manufacturers take advantage of the consumer market and advertise products such as over-the-counter testosterone pills with unsubstantiated claims of boosting your testosterone. However, most testosterone supplements on the market rarely contain testosterone and typically have a combination of herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other unregulated ingredients that can actually cause harmful side effects that can hinder your progress.
But the truth is that orally ingesting testosterone doesn’t provide the replenishment needed to boost low testosterone levels. Typically, the testosterone hormone primarily travels through the bloodstream, allowing it to send signals to various parts of the body and regulate certain bodily functions. Due to the metabolic processes in the gastrointestinal tract and the liver acid, testosterone hormones rarely get absorbed through simple digestion. That means when the stomach breaks down the testosterone supplement, any testosterone contained inside would be digested and rapidly metabolized in the intestinal wall before reaching the bloodstream and dispersing throughout the body. For many men who purchase these supplements and intend to self-medicate, the process can become an expensive waste of time that yields little results and can also cause your health to get worse.
Consulting with a licensed physician is usually the safest way to ensure you’re receiving proper testosterone treatment for your Low T. If your physician has diagnosed low testosterone as the cause of your erectile dysfunction, then they may suggest testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) as a possible ED treatment. With testosterone replacement, your physician can administer synthetic testosterone injections to help provide additional testosterone to your bloodstream and boost your low T levels. By improving and optimizing diminished testosterone levels through TRT, men can increase their sex drive and achieve long-lasting firm erections for optimal sexual performance.
At Renew Vitality, we specialize in various forms of HRT treatment to help men treat hormone imbalances such as low testosterone and optimize their overall health. Our experienced team of medical professionals combines safe and effective hormone medications with manageable wellness plans to create a comprehensive hormone replacement therapy that can help you restore your physical activities and enhance your sexual performance. If you suspect you may be experiencing erectile dysfunction due to low testosterone, please contact us at 1-800-785-3945 and schedule an appointment at any of our hormone replacement clinics in the United States to discuss possible treatment options.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as reduced sex drive, fatigue, rapid weight gain, and irritable moods, then it’s a good chance that you may have low testosterone.
You don’t necessarily need testosterone to achieve an erection. However, healthy testosterone levels can promote heart health and facilitate ample blood flow to the penis so you can maintain normal sexual function.
Yes. Even if you have PDE5-inhibitors can help increase blood flow to the penis and improve your ability to achieve and maintain a firm erection.
Yes. Low testosterone can reduce your sperm count, making it more difficult to conceive.