Many things can impact a man’s sex life. Stress and certain chronic conditions can interfere with your ability to have sex. Unhealthy lifestyle habits can lead to problems getting or keeping an erection. However, by making some healthy lifestyle changes and treating underlying conditions, you can improve your sex life and your quality of life in general.
Smoking makes many health problems more likely, including heart disease. But men who smoke are also more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED). The toxins in cigarette smoke can also damage sperm. This can make it difficult or impossible to father a child. Quitting smoking can dramatically reduce the risk of these sexual and reproductive health issues.
Being sedentary can lead to weight gain, and men who are overweight are more apt to have ED. On the flip side, exercise could improve your sex life. Men who are physically active on a regular basis may have better overall sexual function. That’s because exercise boosts your ability to have erections and orgasms. You may see improvement if you get at least two hours of rigorous activity each week.
Health problems that affect your heart and circulatory system could affect your sex life too. When you engage in sexual activity, your brain sends signals to nerves in your penis to increase blood flow. That creates an erection. But if you have issues like clogged arteries, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels, there could be a break in these signals. This can lead to ED.
Multiple Sclerosis can damage nerves running along the spine. If this occurs, it can affect both your ability to be aroused and your ability to reach orgasm. Multiple Sclerosis can also cause fatigue, mood swings, and low self-esteem. All of these symptoms can take a toll on your sex life.
Spinal Cord Injury
Some spinal cord injuries can affect your ability to have sex. The injury can disrupt sexual signals from the brain. Many men with a spine injury can still get an erection, but many of these men cannot ejaculate. Those who can still achieve an orgasm may experience it differently than before their injury. The effect that a spinal cord injury has on your sex life depends on where on the spine the injury occurred.
Diabetes can damage key nerves and blood vessels, especially if you have trouble controlling your blood sugar level. The damage can interfere with the blood supply to the penis. As a result, men with diabetes are much more likely than other men to have ED.
Heavy drinking can hurt your sex life. It affects the production of male hormones. This can lead to ED. Heavy drinking can also lead to infertility. It can cause you to lose facial and chest hair too. An unhealthy drinking habit can encourage risky sexual behavior.
Depression has a negative effect on a man’s sex drive. Men who are depressed may feel sad, hopeless and irritable. They tend to lose interest in sex. This loss of libido can make it harder for the brain to create an erection. Other emotional issues are also common causes of ED.
Certain medications may trigger a drop in testosterone levels. A low level of this key male hormone can cause you to lose interest in sex. ED is also a side effect of some prescription medicines. These include some drugs to treat high blood pressure, depression, heartburn, and ulcers. If you experience sexual side effects from medication, let your doctor know. You may be able to switch to a different drug.
For many of these health factors, making changes in your lifestyle or managing an underlying condition can go a long way toward improving your desire for sex and your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. To start, have an open and honest discussion with your doctor. If this is awkward for you, keep in mind that sexual health problems are fairly common for both men and women. Your doctor has talked with countless patients about sex. Work with your doctor to find the root of the problem and the most effective treatment options, whether lifestyle changes, medicine or devices.
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