Can High Cholesterol Cause ED?: Treatments And Causes

high Cholesterol and ED

Introduction

In this article, we’ll discuss high Cholesterol and ED Issues.

Cholesterol is a lipid, wax-like substance found in the blood. It is necessary for the synthesis of hormones, the digestive liquid bile, and to promote the healthy functioning of cells. All cholesterol that the body needs is derived from the food we eat.

There are two types of cholesterol present in the body – Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is known as bad cholesterol whereas HDL as good cholesterol. As the name suggests, an increase in the levels of LDL can cause problems for the body. Cardiovascular issues like cardiac arrest and stroke are some symptoms of high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia.

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a condition that affects more than 30 million men alone in the United States. It is characterized by having problems achieving and maintaining penile erections, even when the man is sexually aroused.

Impotence can be caused by several physical and psychological issues. Physical causes of erectile dysfunction include issues like underlying medical conditions, low testosterone, abusing intoxicating substances, etc. Psychological causes, meanwhile, are characterized by issues like depression, stress, or even pornography addiction.

How does High Cholesterol affect ED?

You would be wondering, “How is high cholesterol linked to erectile dysfunction?” Let us explore the link between the two variables.

Research over the years has put out conclusive evidence that there is a direct relationship between the levels of cholesterol (LDL) and an increased risk of erectile dysfunction among men.

High cholesterol levels can occur due to many factors. A diet rich in trans fats as well as saturated fats is one of the main reasons for high cholesterol levels. Even a sedentary lifestyle can be a rCaneason.

High cholesterol can also be attributed to aging. As you age, your liver will weaken, and the body’s biochemistry will change. A high cholesterol level is one of the primary reasons for other life-threatening illnesses like hypertension and cardiac issues. Interestingly, ED is reported as a symptom of the aforesaid ailments.

  • Low Testosterone – High LDL levels in the body affect the functioning of testicles which results in reduced testosterone levels. Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for many bodily functions and sexual arousal is one of them. Low testosterone levels hamper sexual arousal in males. Consequently, men with high cholesterol levels experience a reduced sex drive which over time leads to erectile dysfunction.
  • Atherosclerosis – It is a prevalent condition in people who are diagnosed with high cholesterol. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which there is a build-up of a plaque-like substance inside the blood vessels. This can cause the blood vessels to clog, narrow, or even harden. These clogged blood vessels then become the reason for chronic ailments like hypertension and heart strokes, among other cardiovascular diseases. Atherosclerosis is also linked to erectile dysfunction. The high cholesterol may block or narrow the blood vessels in the genital area and the corpora cavernosa which, in turn, leads to impotence. 
  • Other Medical Issues – Erectile dysfunction can sometimes be a symptom of other underlying conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases. Coincidentally, high cholesterol levels are a potential risk factor for all the above-mentioned ailments. As a result, unhealthily high cholesterol in the body might worsen your ED or even increase your risk for the same. 

You should visit your doctor and make adequate changes according to his advice if you too suspect that your ED might be indicative of any other health conditions. 

  • Nitric oxide – It is an important chemical present in different parts of the body, mainly in the corpora cavernosa and the nasal mucosa. When the brain receives signals of sexual arousal through testosterone, it releases nitric oxide. This nitric oxide helps the blood vessels and soft muscle tissue in the penis to relax. The relaxation of these tissues and blood vessels allows the penis to accommodate blood which, in turn, causes the penis to elongate and stiffen. High cholesterol disrupts this biochemical reaction by limiting the amount of nitric oxide. This can result in difficulties in achieving erections, or impotence. 

Treatments

ED and high cholesterol, both are conditions that can be easily treated. You must first visit your doctor to see if your impotence is induced due to a high cholesterol level. In such a situation, your doctor might prescribe a best Medicine that lowers cholesterol and at the same time advise some changes in your diet and lifestyle as well.

  • Statins – When it comes to high cholesterol, statins are a common prescription for anyone above the age of 10. People with cardiovascular issues may take statins to keep their cholesterol levels within safe limits. Statins block the growth of the protein required by the liver to synthesize cholesterol. Some of the most common statins are atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), and lovastatin (Mevacor).
  • Exercise – Any kind of moderate to intense physical activity proves to be beneficial to tackle high cholesterol levels as well as erectile dysfunction. At the same time, certain types of exercises like running, swimming, and cycling are beneficial for the heart. A great way to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle would be to just walk more. Making simple choices like taking the stairs and walking to nearby locations instead of using a vehicle can make a huge difference in the long run.
  • Diet – Eating a balanced diet is something you should follow regularly, not only when on a certain drug or when you’re being treated for something. In the case of high LDL, eating a diet low in cholesterol may not necessarily affect your cholesterol levels, but it will help your ED symptoms. Your diet can include the following components:
    1. Seafood – Fish, shrimp, oysters
    2. Fruits – Apples, grapes, avocados, strawberries
  • Whole grains
  1. Healthy Fats – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. Nuts – Almonds and walnuts

Conclusion

High cholesterol can cause erectile dysfunction and other medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, etc. However, high cholesterol and impotence, both are reversible conditions. Following a certain lifestyle that has exercise and a healthy diet incorporated into it can help in health improvements.

Also, before arriving at any conclusion based on self-diagnosis, it is always a good idea to see your doctor and find out the actual reason behind your problems which in this case, is ED.