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Can Stress Cause Erectile Problems in Men?

by Andrew McPherson August 20, 2021

Can Stress Cause Erectile Problems in Men?

While there are many physical conditions that can cause or are pointed to by erectile dysfunction (ED), we can’t ignore the enormous role that stress plays into it. Research has found that there may be a link between erectile issues and stress because excess stress affects and disrupts the signals from the brain to the rest of the body, which can affect blood flow and circulation.

Stress and erectile function

When you feel stress, your body increases its adrenaline output to move more oxygenated blood to your muscles, lungs, and brains – resulting in the “flight, fight, or freeze” response. Problems happen when your body processes constant stress as you move through the “flight, fight, or freeze” response.

Mental health conditions like stress and anxiety affect how the brain signals your body’s physical response. Stress and anxiety interrupt how the brain sends messages to the penis to allow extra blood flow, affecting your sexual performance.

Having ED can also lead to stress and anxiety and is a vicious cycle. Stress and anxiety cause erectile dysfunction and having erectile dysfunction causes stress and anxiety. You could say that, in a sense, erectile problems become a self-perpetuating sexual dysfunction.

What can cause stress associated with ED?

Stress can be caused by anything — good and bad. Your body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Sometimes we don’t realize how many things contribute to stress, and how stress causes issues in turn.

These are only some of the common sources of stress that cause sexual dysfunctions for men of all ages:

  • Marriage
  • Deadlines
  • Legal problems
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • New job
  • Retirement
  • Money problems
  • Illness
  • Parenting

The problems with chronic stress

Chronic stress is different than a sudden burst of adrenaline due to immediate danger like a fire or a car crash. A steady stream of adrenaline wears on your body and stress on the arteries.

And while your arteries can handle enormous amounts of pressure during stressful times when your heart pumps hard and fast, they can’t handle constant pressure. And because erections are about adequate blood flow, chronic stress will eventually damage the way your blood vessels function, making it one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Treatment options

Once you begin to address the sources of your stress, you can also address the physical symptoms of erectile dysfunction through exercises for penile health 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.

Shop our medical grade penile vacuum pumps to see which one might work for you.

Andrew McPherson
Andrew McPherson


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