Does losing weight help erectile dysfunction?

    Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that many men over the age of 40 will experience. Approximately 10% of men aged between 40 and 70 will suffer from complete erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Complete erectile dysfunction is defined as the “complete inability to achieve an erection long enough to have sex”. As well as complete erectile dysfunction, 35% of men within the age range will suffer from erectile dysfunction every now and then. While less common, erectile dysfunction affects 5% to 10% of men aged below 40 years of age. 

    Despite these figures, many men will not talk about their problem, or make a change to try and combat it. Those who are willing to make a change, however, will be wondering what they can do to revitalise their sex lives. In this article, we will answer a commonly asked question about whether losing weight could help with erectile dysfunction. We will answer this question, as well as other frequently asked questions about the condition and medications used to treat it.

    What are the most common symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

    The symptoms of erectile dysfunction will vary from person to person, yet cover a range of experiences that significantly impact sexual health and well-being. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggest that the most common erectile dysfunction symptoms include:

    • Being able to get an erection for sexual intercourse sometimes, but not every time

    • Being able to get an erection, but not having it long enough for sex

    • Being unable to get an erection at any time

    These common symptoms often lead to frustration and even strain in relationships. This can lead to individuals seeking solutions and lifestyle changes that can lead to enhanced sexual function and satisfaction.

    What is BMI?

    BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, is a way of identifying a person’s weight against their height. It is a commonly used measurement that assesses whether or not a person falls within a healthy weight range, The NHS says that BMI is calculated by dividing an adult's weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in metres squared. For the majority of adults, an ideal BMI (according to the NHS) is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range. For children and young people aged 2 to 18, BMI also takes into account age and gender, as well as height and weight. If you have a BMI between 25 and 29.9 you are considered to be overweight, if your BMI is over 30, you are considered to be obese.

    Is there a link between erectile dysfunction and obesity?

    Yes, research has determined that there is a notable link between erectile dysfunction and obesity. Several studies have highlighted that people who are obese have a heightened risk of also having erectile dysfunction. In one study, it was found that men with a BMI of 25 and over have a higher risk of having erectile dysfunction. As well as this, people with a BMI between 25 and 30 were found to have a higher risk of having any form of sexual dysfunction (Skrypnik et al, 2014). Another study has suggested that losing weight or preventing yourself from becoming obese, can help to combat and prevent erectile dysfunction. This study suggested that viewing obesity as an underlying condition for erectile dysfunction can be an important therapy for treating both conditions (Moon et al, 2019).

    Can being obese increase your risk of other health conditions?

    Yes, obesity is considered to be a risk factor for a wide variety of other health conditions. Men who are overweight not only experience a greater risk of erectile dysfunction but also have a heightened risk of developing conditions such as (Holland & Murrell, 2022):

    • Heart Disease

    • Diabetes

    • Narrow Arteries

    • High Cholesterol Levels

    It should be noted that these conditions can occur in people who are not obese, and they may also increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. This risk is multiplied when paired with obesity. Managing obesity may not just help prevent erectile dysfunction, but it may also prevent other conditions as well.

    Why does obesity raise the risk of erectile dysfunction?

    Obesity will significantly increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. There are various mechanisms in the body that could contribute to this being the case. Some mechanisms that could influence ED because of obesity include (Skyrpnik et al, 2014)

    • Endothelial Dysfunction: Endothelial dysfunction is a condition that affects the inner lining of the blood vessels meaning they don’t function properly. This condition can be caused by obesity.

    • Insulin Resistance: Obesity can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause diabetes and can affect how blood vessels work. 

    • Psychological Factors: Obesity can cause psychological issues including low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. These issues can cause reduced libido and sexual performance.

    • Physical Inactivity: Obesity often goes hand in hand with a lack of physical activity. A lack of exercise can impact cardiovascular health, increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction.

    Obesity can also lead to erectile dysfunction by impacting your hormones. Body fat plays a crucial role in hormone regulation, particularly the conversion of male sex hormones to female sex hormones. Excessive body fat can cause more male sex hormones to turn to female hormones through a process called aromatisation (Sarwer et al, 2019)

    Can losing weight treat erectile dysfunction?

    Yes, losing weight can be an effective method of treating erectile dysfunction, or at least reducing the chances of it being caused by weight. In a 2005 study of men with erectile dysfunction, one-third of participants were able to treat the condition by losing weight and making lifestyle changes. It is important to note that the participants of the study were motivated to lose weight, had access to experts, and all lost at least 15% of their body weight (Evans, 2005). Losing weight can help reverse issues caused by endothelial dysfunction, helping blood to flow to the penis easier, insulin resistance, making blood sugar easier to control, and psychological factors such as self-esteem and anxiety (Maiorino et al, 2015).

    Can obesity harm blood vessels?

    Yes, obesity and excess weight can harm blood vessels in a number of different ways. The British Heart Foundation states that excess fat can contribute to clogged arteries. If an artery is clogged it can become damaged. Damaged and clogged arteries can increase the risk of heart attacks. It is thought that obesity can specifically harm the inner lining of blood vessels known as the endothelium. It is unknown why this occurs, however, it is thought that it could be due to inflammation, oxidative stress, and abnormalities in metabolism. Obesity Action states that this can worsen erectile dysfunction as it can reduce blood flow to the penis.

    Which medications can help to control obesity?

    Medications can be used to help control obesity as well as aiding people in weight loss. The NHS advises that medications that contain orlistat, liraglutide and semaglutide can be used to help aid weight loss. At EU Meds, we provide a number of different medications that contain these active ingredients for people who need help with losing weight. We provide:

    If you require any of these medications, you will need to complete our free online consultation that determines whether you are suitable for the medication before you can complete your purchase. 

    Which medications can help to treat erectile dysfunction?

    As well as medications for obesity and weight loss, you can also purchase medications that can help with erectile dysfunction, whether it is caused by weight or another factor. At EU Meds, we provide a number of different erectile dysfunction medications that you can purchase. These include:

    Sources

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