What can you do when you are overweight or obese and suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Impotence is a common problem. In fact, millions of men suffer from impotence otherwise known as Erectile dysfunction (ED).
Generally speaking, being overweight doesn’t seem to affect a man’s self-esteem as much as it does a woman. On the other hand, when ED hits, it can trigger a cycle of shame and doubt in even the most confident men.
Once ED happens, it could easily become self-perpetuating, in the sense that the more a man fails, the more difficulty he develops. Eventually and sometimes without realizing it, a man will begin to avoid sex. This condition may lead to social and marital problems and plunge that person into depression.
Medical studies have proven that obesity should be considered as an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. Obese men (with a BMI in the range of over 30 kg/m2) have 3 times greater risk of sexual dysfunction than the normal population. This risk rises with increasing BMI.
What is erectile dysfunction in obese patients?
Men experience ED in different ways, but in general, erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
When the penis is flaccid (or not erect), the soft tissue that make up the penis are not filled with blood. Sexual stimulation, both physical and mental, causes a cascade of events whereby the brain, nerves, blood vessels, and hormones interact to allow the blood vessels leading to the penis to dilate causing it to fill with blood. The penis expands, becomes firm and elongated resulting in an erection. This process begins when the inner lining of the blood vessels releases nitric oxide, a molecule that signals the surrounding muscles to relax. (Viagra and similar drugs work by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the lining of those blood vessels.)
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by many disorders and it is important to be properly evaluated before starting any treatment. It can be caused by medications, psychological factors, or physical factors such as obesity.
A simple fairly reliable test to do when you suffer from ED is to stand up and look down at your belly. If you cannot see your penis, you already have a good indication of where your problem lies.
How does obesity lead to Erectile Dysfunction?
First, obesity predisposes you to cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis – cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels that impede blood flow to your organs, including the penis. Atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks if it occurs in major arteries near the heart, can happen just as easily in the small blood vessels leading to the penis. In fact, the connection between heart health and sexual health is so strong that erectile dysfunction can often be the first sign of cardiovascular disease in overweight men and it is considered a fairly good predictor of future heart attacks and strokes.
Second, obese men have lower levels of testosterone, a male hormone vital to sexual function. Testosterone is a sex hormone secreted by the testicles, and is important in regulating the frequency and magnitude of a penile erection since testosterone increases the availability of nitric oxide, a blood vessel dilator in penile tissue.
Weight loss can turn things around and help you:
Ready to regain your sex life? Before trying Viagra & Cialis and risking becoming dependent on them, try shedding that extra weight.
Watch what you eat and manage your portions. Get rid of the fast food and junk in your house and start eating healthy by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Ditch the red and processed meats and try some fish instead. Reduce your intake of potatoes, rice, bread and pasta and switch up for some whole grains.
Don’t forget to exercise. Physical activity is a must for any successful weight-loss strategy as part of ED treatment. Highly active men have 30 percent less risk for ED than couch potatoes. Stop making excuses! Make it a priority to be active again! Cut down on your daily screen time and replace that precious time with a walk, a run, a hike, a dance class or a spinning class.
Furthermore, losing weight can also help provide you with an ego boost that carries over into the bedroom. It is well-known that people need to feel good about themselves to overcome performance anxiety.
Remember, the key to success is to maintain these healthy habits not just until you reach your target weight, but ideally for a lifetime.
Do you have trouble motivating yourself? Have you tried several diets that failed in the past? This is where Zero Excuse GO can help. With our “remote patient monitoring” devices that we will give you, we will be able to track all your activities, your exercise, your steps, your weight, your blood pressure, and your blood sugar in real time. Our multidisciplinary team will monitor you on a daily basis and help you reach your target weight while improving your quality of life. Do you want to recover a healthy sex life? Take the jump and call us.