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Smoking Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Most of us know that smoking is bad for our health. Smoking has been shown to raise the risk of cancer, lung disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other illnesses.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that smoking can interfere with sexual function as well. For men, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, almost three years ago, the acting U.S. Surgeon General added ED to the list of medical conditions caused by smoking.

How are smoking and ED connected? Recently, a team of researchers analyzed eighty-three medical studies to learn more. They published their findings in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews.

They found “substantial evidence” that smoking is a risk factor for ED. And the more men smoke – in terms of number of cigarettes and number of years – the higher that risk becomes.

Smoking can damage blood vessels, including those in the penis. Blood flow is essential for erections, so any blockage will result in a weak erection or no erection at all. Smoking can also lead to cellular changes in penile tissue.

Other diseases commonly linked to smoking, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, can impair erections as well.

What can smokers do? The answer is simple – quit! Some men find that their erections improve once they stop smoking.

We know this is easier said than done, however. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting strategies. Ask your family, friends, and partner for their support as well. You can find more tips here.


Sexual Medicine Reviews

Biebel, Mark G., MD, et al.

“Male Sexual Function and Smoking”

(Full-text. Published online: June 2, 2016)