Are drinking alcohol and erectile dysfunction (ED) connected?
I. Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction
II. Erectile Dysfunction
VI. Problem Meds
VII. Peyronie’s Disease
I. Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction
To study this question, researchers analyzed the results of 24 cross-sectional studies. These studies included 154,295 patients.
Light and moderate drinkers had a much lower risk of ED. Such drinking was consuming up to 21 drinks per week. However, those who consumed over 21 drinks weekly had no significant reduction in ED risk.
Also, men who had “never consumed” alcohol had no different ED risk than those who had “ever” consumed it.
Thus, light and moderate drinkers enjoyed lower risk of having ED. However, heavy drinkers did not have a significant benefit.
II. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
ED occurs when a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection. Sexual arousal is very complex. It involves the brain, nerves, muscles, hormones, blood vessels, and emotions.
A problem with any of these can cause ED. Thus, it’s a medical problem. There are many possible causes of ED. They include these.
- Alcoholism or drug abuse.
- Clogged blood vessels.
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Sleep apnea .
- Many meds (see list in section VI)
- Treatments for enlarged prostate or for prostate cancer
- Peyronie’s Disease (see section VI)
Remember that erectile dysfunction is a medical problem. Therefore, you should discuss it with your doctor. It may embarrass you, but to him or her it’s just another day at the office. Your doctor has dealt with it many, many times before. This Harvard site has very practical suggestions for how to bring up the subject with your doctor.
The FDA has approved these meds for treating ED. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis.
*My 95 year old granddad takes Viagra to stop him rolling out of bed.
*I asked the librarian for the new book on ED. She checked her computer and said “It’s not coming up!” I said “Yeah, that’s the one!!”
*Viagra is the best-selling pill of its kind. However, it does have stiff competition.
*Studies show that 3 out of 10 men are suffering from ED. So the remaining 7 are enjoying it?
*I overdosed on Viagra once. It was the hardest day of my life.
*Cialis now comes in liquid form. So now you can pour yourself a stiff one.
However, all have potentially very serious side-effects for some men. Therefore, you should talk with your doctor about this. Obviouly, never use an online “doctor” or buy them through the internet. That’s only asking for problems.
Some medications can be inserted through the tip of the penis into the urethra. That’s the tube that carries urine and semen. Or the patient can inject shots into his penis before sex.
Fortunately, we can control some of the things that can decrease our risk of ED.
There’s some truth to the saying that
A drink or two a day
Helps keeps erectile dysfunction away.
A penis pump (vacuum erection device) usually works for creating an erection. It’s a plastic tube that fits over the penis with an attached pump to reduce air pressure inside. This helps the penis to become erect. When he removes the tube, the user places a tight band at the base of his penis. This keeps it erect by keeping the blood inside.
There are a number of advantages to a penis pump. Most men find that they work and don’t experience any side effects. The pumps don’t require meds or surgery. However, men can use them with meds or after penile surgery. And pumps require no surgery, meds, or invasions of the body. Important, they are inexpensive and painless to use.
Of course, a man should discuss his health history with a doctor. For example, the doctor might suggest that men who use blood thinners or have certain blood diseases not use a vacuum device.
You can legally buy a penis pump without a prescription. However, make sure the one you buy has a vacuum limiter. Otherwise, the vacuum can get to low and injure your penis. Your doctor may choose to prescribe one from a reputable manufacturer.
A penis pump can’t cure ED. But it helps most men get erections firm enough for sex.
Contrary to common belief, penis pumps do not cause a permanent enlargement of the organ.
There are two types of penile implant. One is bendable and the other is inflatable.
In the first, a surgeon inserts two bendable rods into the penis’ two erection chambers. Therefore, the organ is always semi-rigid. The man moves his penis to an erect position for sex. Otherwise, he bends it down.
However, most men prefer an inflatable hydraulic system. With this, the man decides exactly when his penis will be erect. It provides a harder, more natural erection. In addition, his placid or soft penis also looks natural.
The surgeon inserts inserts two inflatable tubes into the erection chambers. These are connected to a reservoir of safe salty solution. The reservoir can be placed in the lower abdomen. A pump is inserted in the scrotum between the testicles.
The man squeezes the pump to move liquid from the reservoir to his penis. There, it inflates the penile tubes, causing an erection. A deflation valve on the pump sends the liquid back to the reservoir.
Also, a simpler inflatable system is an option. The surgeon inserts the two inflatable tubes into the penis. But the doctor then places both the reservoir and the pump into the scrotum. The surgery is simpler. However, the lower volume of the reservoir may not cause a strong enough erection for some men.
IV. Source for Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction
Wang, X., et al. Alcohol intake and risk of erectile dysfunction. A dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. Int J Impot Res, Sept 19 2018.
Not all of these deal with alcohol and erectile dysfunction.
Surprisingly, men can have orgasms without an erection. They don’t need intercourse. They can have intense orgasms from erotic massage, sex toys, oral sex, and other means.
Burger, A. Understanding Medications. What the Label Doesn’t Tell You. Washington: ACS, 1995.(Explains how specific medications work.)
Ellsworth, P. and Stanley, B. 100 Questions & Answers about Erectile Dysfunction. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2008.
Inlander, C. Men’s Health for Dummies. Foster City, CA: IDG 1999.
McNutt, R. Your Health, Your Decisions. How to Work with Your Doctor to become a Knowledge-powered Patient. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2018.
Understanding Your Medications and Procedures. NY: Wellness Network, 2018.
Westheimer, R. & Lehu, P. Sex for Dummies. NY: Wiley, 2012.
VI. Problem Medications
Many of these meds can cause erectile dysfunction. So if you suffer from ED and take any of these, discuss it with your doctor.
- Aquazide H
- Betoptic S
- InnoPran XL
Surprisingly, eating licorice can sometimes contribute to ED!
- Toprol XL
Unfortunately, even aspirin can be a problem for ED.
Also, other medications that can cause dysfunction include aspirin, codeine, estrogen, methadone, and morphine.
Remember, if you suffer from ED, tell your doctor if you take any of these medications.
VII. Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is scar tissue in part of the penis that causes it to bend unnaturally. This makes intercourse difficult or even impossible. Peyronie’s may also cause painful erections or even the inability to get or maintain erections. Of course, any of these problems is erectile dysfunction.
Think of a long, uninflected balloon. We attach a piece of tape at some point along its length. If we inflate it, it will bend where the tape is. And if we apply a bigger piece of tape, the balloon will bend even more.
Injury to the penis may cause the scar tissue to develop. Sex, sports, or an accident might cause the injury. However, most patients don’t remember any painful injury. There are risk factors that increase the chances that an injury may cause scar tissue. They are genetics, connective tissue disorders, and age. The risk of Peyronie’s increases with age.
See a doctor if you have Peyronie’s disease. The doctor will feel your unerect penis to find the location and extent of your scar tissue. He or she may also ask you to bring a photo of your erect penis. This helps the doctor determine the extent of the bend and decide the best form of treatment.
There are a number of treatments available.
Xiaflex. The FDA approves this medication for treating peyronie’s. It is effective in reducing the scar tissue.
Verapamil. This high blood medication reduces the formation of scar tissue and also reduces pain.
Interferon. This med helps break down scars and reduces bends caused by Peyronie’s.
Plicate. Plicating or sewing tucks or folds on the longer side of the penis without the scar tissue. This straightens the penis. Also, it shortens the penis somewhat depending on the extent of the bend.
Cut or Remove Scar Tissue. The surgeon cuts slits in the scar so the penis can expand. In addition, the doctor may also remove some of the scar.
Implant. The surgeon can place a device in the penis. One type is a semi-rigid rod. The patient pushed down usually. However, he raises it for sex. In another type, the patient inflates the device whenever he wants an erection.
Experimental treatments include penile traction. That involves stretching the penis. Shock wave treatments use strong sound waves to break up scars. Some doctors try radiation therapy.
If you choose surgery for PD or any other problem, be sure to check the hospital’s safety scores at Compare Hospitals.
If you suffer ED remember that it’s a medical problem. Therefore, discuss it with your doctor.