Erectile Dysfunction and Obesity
Obesity is linked to a number of health conditions. Surprisingly, it could be one of the reasons for erectile dysfunction. Risk factors for erectile dysfunction include obesity, diabetes, age, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Obese or overweight men are more likely to have elevated cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. There is a high risk of hypertension in men who are obese.
Statistics reveal that almost 50 percent of men with diabetes suffer from ED, with 4 out of 5 men suffering from ED symptoms being obese. Since obesity is one of the risk factors for diabetes, it is most likely to result in erectile dysfunction. Studies show that obese men are at a higher risk of ED than their healthier counterparts. In fact, obesity can raise your chances of erectile dysfunction by almost 30-90 percent.
Research also reveals that obesity causes certain changes in the hormonal balance in the body. In the case of men, this hormonal imbalance can result in erectile dysfunction. Obese men often experience low levels of testosterone, resulting in hypogonadism – a condition in which testes produce less amount of male hormones.
How Does Hypogonadism Relate to Erectile Dysfunction and Obesity?
Low levels of testosterone in your body tend to affect your sex life and often contribute to ED symptoms. Hypogonadic men treated with testosterone therapy experience restoration of libido and interest in sex.
Obese people have an increased Body Mass Index (BMI). The higher the BMI, the higher the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, obese men are often unhappy about and uncomfortable with their body. As a result, they suffer from a lower self-esteem and have to encounter social stigmatization due to their body size. Negative perception and body image may pose psychological barriers to having satisfactory sexual performance. Besides, obese people experience emotional distress, anxiety, and depression – a risk factor for ED. Depression can cause erectile dysfunction, which raises a risk of other depressive symptoms.
Obesity can contribute to endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease. The secretion of bioactive substances often causes excessive concentration of the molecules in the blood in an obese person compared to someone with a normal body weight. Research reveals that adipokines or bioactive substances secreted from fat stores cause inflammation of penile vessels, which causes significant damage to vascular endothelium, often leading to ED.
Additionally, obesity is a major risk factor for plaque buildup on blood vessels. The waxy buildup on the blood vessels disrupts blood supply to different organs, including penis, thus resulting in erectile dysfunction.