Erectile dysfunction and low libido or sex drive often occur together in men, and their share several of the same causes.
Erectile dysfunction is only one of several sexual health issues that are experienced by men, particularly older men. As men age, they not only run into erectile difficulties, they can have issues with lack of sexual desire or low libido, as well as problems with premature ejaculation or PE.
A man can have one of these conditions without the other, but they do often occur together because they share several of the same underlying causes – one of which is hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure.
A less than satisfactory sex life in men can be caused by both physical and emotional problems.
Some common physical causes of sexual dysfunction in men are:
- Age-related testosterone loss
- High blood pressure or any other condition that impacts blood circulation
- Some prescription drugs
- Any condition such as diabetes that impacts sensation or nerve function
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
Emotional issues that can lead to sexual problems in men include:
- Sexual performance anxiety
- Relationship issues
- Stress and financial issues
- Moodiness or depression
- Trouble dealing with previous sexual trauma
Is There a Link Between Hypertension and ED?
While some of the above-mentioned emotional or psychological causes can lead to erectile dysfunction, almost all long-term bouts of ED are physically related. And a large percentage of those are due to hypertension.
Studies have proven that high blood pressure has a serious impact on your ability to get and maintain an erection.
Published research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that almost half of all men in the study between the ages of 40 to 79 who had high blood pressure also had ED issues.
A similar paper in the Journal of Urology found the number to be even higher, with nearly 70% of high blood pressure patients in their study also complaining of erectile dysfunction.
What is the link? Why do men with hypertension seem to also be at greater risk of ED? To get an erection, the blood vessels in the penis need to open wide for blood to flow into erectile tissue resulting in an erection. Hypertension can prevent these vessels from opening up to let the blood through as they should.
In addition, most men with high blood pressure also have low testosterone, are likely to be obese, and may also have diabetes – all of which can increase the risk of ED.
And finally, the very drugs that are used to help control blood pressure, could cause ED as a side effect.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Testosterone Levels and Libido?
It is not unusual for men with hypertension to suffer from hypogonadism or low testosterone as well.
Testosterone is critical to sexual function and sexual desire in men. Men with low testosterone almost always report decreased libido and erectile dysfunction as one of their chief complaints.
Can High Blood Pressure Medications Impact Sexual Performance in Men?
Men with high blood pressure get kind of a one-two punch when it comes to sexual performance. As we have established, the impact that hypertension has on blood flow can influence ED. As if that isn’t problematic enough, some of the medications prescribed for hypertension can also cause erectile dysfunction.
The most commonly prescribed drugs for high blood pressure are diuretics and beta-blockers. Both of these prescription medications list ED as a possible side effect.
Is It Risky to Have Sex If You Have Hypertension?
Sex is pleasurable, and sex is also good for you in a number of ways. As long as your doctor has no reason to tell you otherwise, you should be encouraged to have sex if you have high blood pressure.
As we have already pointed out, hypertension is more likely to prevent you from having sex than present any danger if you do. However, check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to engage in sexual activity.
Can Testosterone Therapy Improve the Sex Life of Men With High Blood Pressure?
Testosterone therapy may be able to help certain men suffering from erectile dysfunction – in particular, men with hypertension-related ED – have been known to benefit greatly from prescription testosterone injections.
Ways to Manage Your Blood Pressure for Healthy Sex Life
High blood pressure is a very common condition in men, but it is also a condition for which there are several effective medical interventions.
Blood pressure medications – High blood pressure can be managed very well with medication. There are several types of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, and they are often used in combination. If one is not working well, doctors have many options to mix and match a medication or medications that can lower your BP with minimal side effects.
Testosterone injections – Testosterone replacement therapy in and of itself is not prescribed to lower blood pressure or to treat ED. However, men who have successfully completed a course of testosterone injections almost always see improved sexual function and a reduction in blood pressure.
Lifestyle Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure
In addition to being well-controlled with medication, there are several lifestyle changes you can make that will improve your overall health, lower your blood pressure and improve your sex life.
- Eat a “heart-healthy” diet
- Get enough exercise
- Get enough sleep
- Minimize the consumption of alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Reduce stress
- Reduce the amount of salt in your diet
- Lose extra pounds