Mental health problems, especially common ones such as depression and anxiety, can affect our daily life; for men, this might mean their sexual health as well. Research has found that there may be a link between erectile issues and anxiety because anxiety affects and disrupts the signals from the brain to the rest of the body, which can affect blood flow and circulation. However, there are several different healthy options to help you regain your sexual health and confidence even if you suffer from chronic anxiety.
When your brain experiences ‘healthy’ stress, such as from exercise or an exciting life change, your body releases testosterone. When you’re sexually stimulated, that extra testosterone helps to relax the blood vessels and cause an erection.
However, when your brain is under unhealthy stress, your body typically releases a hormone called cortisol instead. Cortisol constricts the blood vessels throughout the body, and when blood can’t flow properly, it can cause erectile problems. Over time, chronic stress (chronically high cortisol levels) decreases the amount of testosterone your body makes. Low testosterone, also known as “low T,” is common in men with mental health issues like depression and anxiety who experience erectile issues.
When erectile problems might be caused by depression or anxiety, healthcare providers will focus first and foremost on treating your mental health issues, whether through therapy and/or prescription medications. If you can relieve your mental stressors, ED symptoms are likely to improve, as well.
Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are useful ways to help treat a variety of mental health issues. These are usually the first-choice options when you have depression or anxiety. If therapy isn’t enough on its own, your doctor may also recommend prescription medications. Also, remember that many of the antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications out there take about 4 to 6 weeks to really start working, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not feeling any changes right away.
Once you begin to address your anxiety, you can also opt to help with the physical symptoms of ED and erectile issues through penile exercises and vacuum pumps that can help restore sexual function and improve erectile difficulties. Vacuum pumps and hydrotherapy are a frequently overlooked way to regain the ability to gain/ maintain an erection. When used, vacuum pumps create a vacuum around the penis, quickly drawing in blood, resulting in an erection. Built to remove the key issues people report with standard vacuum pumps, VaxAid can be used in the air (like other pumps), or in water. VaxAid delivers more vacuum power than other pumps, with many users reporting that this leads to quicker (and longer-lasting) erections. Shop our pumps to see which one might work for you.