Numerous surveys have indicated a high prevalence of sexual problems in the general population. Researches indicate the higher incidence of sexual problem in men as compared to women. But the total number of cases is increasing rapidly. Erectile dysfunction is the most common men’s sexual dysfunction, and people worldwide are suffering from this sexual dysfunction. The male erectile disorder is defined as a persistent inability to maintain an adequate erection until the completion of sexual intercourse. Erection is a complex phenomenon that requires coordination among neurological, vascular, and tissue compartments. Psychoactive substances are believed to have detrimental effects on all the aspects of sexual function, and almost all of them have been reported to have been associated with erectile dysfunction. Smoking and drinking are two psychoactive substances that are known to be one of the leading cause of erectile dysfunction. If you smoke and drink very frequently then you are at high risk of suffering from erectile dysfunction as compared to non- smokers or non-drinkers.
Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction
- Erectile dysfunction related to smoking is associated with the impairment of endothelial cells and the reduction in the nitric oxide. Endothelial cells with the penis produce nitric oxide. Smoking has many harmful effects on the endothelial cells such as a decrease in the activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase which leads to an impaired endothelium vaso-relaxation and also reduces the response to vascular endothelial growth factor. Normal erectile function involves three mechanisms, firstly, neurological mediate increase in the penile arterial inflow — secondly, relaxation of the cavernosal smooth muscle. And lastly, restriction of the venous outflow from the penis.
- Cigarette smoking consists of thousands of harmful chemicals that cause hazardous effects on the overall health of the person. Numerous studies have shown roles of these harmful substances in the impairment of the function of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a chemical that functions in the brain and acts as a neurotransmitter. It transmits the message released by the nerve cells and signals the other cells of the human body. Therefore due to an impairment of this chemical, it is incapable of sending messages during sexual activity and leads to problems with erection.
- Nicotine which is one of the most harmful chemical presents in cigarette smoking has a direct effect on the blood vessel that carries blood to the penis. It damages the blood vessels within the body and leads to the buildup of fatty deposits and causes the narrowing of the arteries. Therefore, make it harder for blood to flow in the penis. This reduced blood flow to the penis makes it difficult to maintain erections.
Chronic and persistent consumption of alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction and in surveys, many alcoholic men have reported impotence and decrease in the sexual desires and activity. Chronic intake of alcohol reduces the testosterone level in the body and testosterone is said to be fuel for the man’s sex drive and performance. The low testosterone level in the body reduces the ability to perform satisfying sexual intercourse. Alcohol not only accelerates the level of testosterone but it also decreases the production of testosterone. Also, many studies have said that the decrease in testosterone due to alcohol can cause interactions in the biological processes. It causes long term effects on the sexual life of the men as excessive consumption of alcohol leads to the irreversible damage to the nerves of the penis. It also affects the nervous system and impairs the function that is responsible to trigger the signal to relax the blood vessels in the penis. It damages the link between pituitary glands and the genitals. Hence, erectile function in interrupted and causes problems with erections.
Though erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual dysfunction but still men find it difficult to talk about it to their doctors. In fact they feel disappointed and ashamed in talking about this health problem with their partners. It is a depressing dysfunction that not only affects the quality of life of men but it also affects the quality of life of his partner. If you know anyone who are suffering from erectile dysfunction and wants to know more about it. Share this post with them and create awareness among them. Also, help them know that there are medicines available to treat this health problem.