HOW CAN MEDICATIONS CAUSE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can affect men of all races and ages, though rates are moderately higher among men aged 70 and older, compared to men in younger age groups. But it is not always age that causes ED. Usually it is lifestyle factors such as alcohol and smoking or prescription drugs that lead to lower libido.
The physical and psychological conditions of unhealthy lifestyle include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression.
So, if you are having problems achieving or maintaining an erection you need to take a look at your medicine cabinet first. Prescription medications may treat a disease or condition, in doing so they can affect male hormones, nerves or blood circulation. The result may be ED or an increase in the risk of ED.
Prescription drugs not only affect and slow down the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, leading to permanent ED. Thus, timely change in these medications is necessary.
It is suggested that if you are experiencing ED and thinking that it may be a result of the medication you are using, do not stop taking the medication. If the problem persists, contact your doctor who can prescribe a different medication.
WHICH MEDICATIONS CAUSE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
- Beta blockers
Why they are prescribed: Beta-blockers help lower blood pressure by blocking certain receptors in the nervous system. These are the receptors that are usually affected by chemicals such as epinephrine. Epinephrine constricts the blood vessels and causes blood to pump more forcefully.
How they cause ED: It is thought that by blocking receptors in nervous system, beta-blockers may interfere with the part of the nervous system which is responsible for causing erection.
Other blood pressure medications that may be less likely to cause erectile dysfunction include calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
Why they are prescribed: These are the substances that promote diuresis, i.e. the increased production of urine.
How they cause ED: Increased urination by diuretics leaves less fluid in the circulation, which leads to lower blood pressure. They relax muscles in the circulatory system. This may decrease the blood flow to the penis which causes ED.
- Statins & fibrates
Why they are prescribed: They are used to treat high cholesterol.
How they cause ED: Researchers say that by limiting the availability of cholesterol (a building block of hormones), these drugs interfere with the production of testosterone, estrogen and other sex hormones. This increases the risk of ED.
Why they are prescribed: These medications are used to manage psychosis. They help to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious psychiatric conditions. Antipsychotics also are often prescribed “off-label” to treat agitation and depression, among other conditions.
How they cause ED: These drugs block dopamine, a brain chemical that helps regulate emotional responses and control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. They also increase levels of the prolactin hormone, which can lead to ED and reduced libido.
Why they are prescribed: They are typically used to treat depression; they are also frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation and some hormone-mediated disorders, such as severe menstrual cramps.
How they cause ED: Antidepressants cause problems in all areas of sexual function, probably by blocking the action of three brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells: acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine. So this impact on these processes can worsen erectile function.
- Recreational and frequently abused drugs
How they cause ED: These drugs not only affect and suppress the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, resulting in permanent ED. The drugs of this category include amphetamines, alcohol, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, nicotine and opiates.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
The greater the number of medications a patient is taking, the greater is the impact on sexual function. But there are many prevention & treatment strategies which can help to tackle this disease. These are as given below.
- Lower the dose of your medication:Erectile dysfunction may be related to the dose of medication that you are taking. A lower dose may continue to help your health condition (such ashigh blood pressure or depression), but relieve your problem of erectile dysfunction.
- Switch to a different medication:Changing your medication may also change thesexual adverse effects. There are many medications which treat one single disease. Thus, switching to another medication after correct prescription from doctor can help to lower the risk of erectile dysfunction.
- Stop using tobacco products and recreational or illegal drugs:Stopping these substances will often resolve your erectile dysfunction. It may take time. Your physician can refer you to asmoking cessation program and, if needed, outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation to help you deal with dependence. Alcohol consumption can also be reduced timely with the help from alcohol-relieving centers and physicians.
- Take another medication to treat your erectile dysfunction:In some cases, it may not be possible to change medications without interfering with the treatment of a serious chronic illness. If it is safe for you, your physician may recommend that you take medications to treat ED.
It is better that you consume herbal medication, which will have very less side effects and will manage erectile dysfunction. One such herbal supplement is Chemforce, which has been clinically proven to treat ED without any side effects.
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS
- Do not stop your medications abruptly. This cessation could cause the condition being treated to return and result in serious health problems.
- Once the drug that caused your erectile dysfunction is changed, normal erections should return within a few weeks. If your problem continues, it may be due to another issue, and your physician may want to do further testing.
- Although you may be embarrassed to talk about sexual problems, your doctor is trained to provide you with comfort and advice. Erectile dysfunction can be distressing but your physician can help!