Stress is not entirely bad. After all, this biological response is one of your natural survival mechanisms. However, living with prolonged or chronic stress can take a toll on every aspect of your health, from your heart and blood pressure to your psychological and sexual wellness.
Our team at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina understands the complex nature of erectile dysfunction.
While this problem affects 18 million American men who are at least 20 years old — the actual number could be closer to 30 million — its cause can vary significantly from person to person.
Stress plays a contributing factor in many cases.
Your stress response involves two specific hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Together, they trigger the “fight or flight response” in your body to ensure you can react to danger.
However, even though adrenaline takes a fraction of a second to release and peak, your body continues releasing cortisol for several hours after the event. This “slow burn” ensures you remain moderately stressed until the threat has definitely passed.
This process can play a valuable role in survival. However, modern society also leaves people under higher levels of stress for more prolonged periods. In response, the very hormones designed to keep us safe begin causing stress-related problems, including erectile dysfunction.
Achieving and maintaining a satisfying erection requires more than your physical bodily systems, like blood flow, blood vessels, and muscle contractions. It also involves your nervous system, hormones, and brain signals.
Stress or anxiety can interfere with how your brain messages the penis, preventing extra blood flow to the area that impacts your ability to achieve an erection. Stress can also increase your chances of other health conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction, such as:
Stress can also cause excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, or illicit drug use, all of which can impact an erection.
Fortunately, we have solutions if you find yourself experiencing erectile dysfunction, even if it’s stress-related. First, it helps to recognize the stress in your life that could be contributing to your symptoms.
Common causes of stress-related erectile dysfunction include:
Erectile dysfunction can also increase your stress levels, making it more difficult to achieve an erection because of the anxiety to perform.
In most cases, the best treatment for stress-related erectile dysfunction involves stress management. These approaches often involve therapy and lifestyle changes designed to ease your anxiety and better manage your stress levels.
If we detect other factors contributing to your erectile dysfunction, we could recommend additional treatments, from medications to penile devices, like vacuum pumps or implants.
You don’t have to live with erectile dysfunction; we can help you get to the root cause of your issue. Contact Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina to regain your sexual vitality by calling or requesting an appointment online today.