Erectile problems can be caused by a range of physical and psychological factors, including a common risk: cigarette smoking. Because smoking can damage your blood vessels and lead to poor circulation, it can cause poor arterial blood supply to the penis. Fortunately, if you quit smoking, your vascular and sexual health and performance are likely to improve within just a few weeks.
The effects of smoking
Unfortunately, there are a variety of known health risks associated with smoking. Along with harming the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs, smoking on a regular basis can damage the blood vessels, reducing arterial blood flow throughout your body. The key culprit is nicotine, which is a known vasoconstrictor (a type of chemical that reduces blood flow throughout the body).
This can be seriously damaging to sexual health, as erections are dependent on a mix of signaling from your brain and a reliable level of blood supply through the arteries of the penis. When you feel sexually aroused, your brain sends a signal to nerves in the penis. This triggers the opening of arteries, increasing blood flow to form an erection.
Over time, reduced blood flow from smoking or other unhealthy habits can make it much more difficult to achieve an erection, leaving you with a weak erection or no physical response at all to sexual arousal. In fact, studies have shown that the severity of erectile issues in smokers is closely linked to their level of exposure to cigarette smoke.
How to prevent erectile problems associated with smoking
If you’re experiencing erectile issues as a result of cigarette smoking, the best course of action is to quit smoking. Typically men who quit smoking can, and very often do, experience improvements in their sexual performance and a reduction in erectile dysfunction symptoms within just a few weeks.
For some smokers, gradually reducing the amount of cigarettes you smoke can be enough to produce a noticeable improvement in sexual performance. In some cases, however, quitting smoking might not be enough to restore full erectile function. In this case, medications or vacuum pumps such as VaxAid can help restore sexual function and improve erectile difficulties. When used, vacuum pumps create a vacuum around the penis, quickly drawing in blood, resulting in an erection.
Additionally, taking up healthy habits such as exercise (particularly aerobic exercise, which lowers blood pressure and is linked to improved sexual health) while quitting smoking can help you stay more focused on your goals and avoid cravings, distractions, and setbacks.