Can High Blood Pressure Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

March 23, 2021

The verdict is in: high blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be a major contributor to erectile dysfunction (ED). Studies show that at least 30% of men who have high blood pressure also experience ED.

Blood pressure refers to the pressure needed to cause a flow of blood through the blood vessels. When the pressure is too high (blood pressure is usually considered high at 140/90 and severe at 180/120) the arteries in the body can become damaged by becoming less narrow and flexible, reducing blood flow. While this can lead to life threatening events such as a heart attack or stroke, one of the first signs of high blood pressure can be erectile dysfunction. Without proper blood flow to the penis, one can not get or maintain an erection. To make matters worse, the top two medications for treating high blood pressure can often lead to or exacerbate ED, creating a vicious cycle.

One common treatment for high blood pressure is the use of beta blockers, which block the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline in certain parts of the body. This results in a reduction of the heart rate and reduces the force with which blood is pumped, effectively lowering blood pressure. However, this also means that blood flow to the penis is reduced, which obviously decreases the strength of erections.

Diuretics, also know as water pills, can make the flow of blood to the penis less intense, which makes achieving and maintaining an erection more difficult. They can also lower the amount of zinc in the body, which is needed for testosterone production. On top of that, diuretics can sometimes make muscle contraction more difficult, again, reducing the strength of erections.

If you have high blood pressure and are experiencing signs of erectile dysfunction, speak to your Urologist as soon as possible. Having a conversation about the side effects of certain mediations and supplements you may be taking and other lifestyle factors can help determine a treatment for all of your symptoms. Austin Urology Institute also offers Nutrition Services to help reduce blood pressure through diet.