Erectile dysfunction or impotence is caused by a range of physiological and psychological factors. Many things influence these factors, and alcohol and cigarettes are among them. These two can affect your ability to get and maintain erections as they can damage your penile blood vessels, impairing your erection function.
How Alcohol Contributes to Erectile Dysfunction
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol makes it difficult to attain or sustain an erection as it disturbs sexual feelings. Alcohol exhibits psychoactive properties that affect mental processes such as consciousness, perception, cognitive abilities, mood, and emotions. It is also a depressant that affects the function of your central nervous system by slowing down the activities of your brain which causes cognitive function impairment. All these factors contribute to long-term erection difficulty, leading to chronic erectile dysfunction.
Nervous System Part In Sexual Life
In response to sexual arousal, your nervous system is responsible for releasing nitric oxide, which is produced by the endothelial cells of the penile blood vessels. Nitric oxide is a chemical compound that leads to the relaxation of the strained and narrowed blood vessels to allow the abundant flow of blood through the penile blood vessels. It conducts vasodilation in the penile shaft and helps to restore the healthy erection function. However, drinking too much alcohol depresses the nervous system activity and affects the release of nitric oxide. As a result, inadequate production of nitric oxide translates to erectile difficulties.
Moreover, alcohol tends to interfere with the messengers in the brain that cues the penile nerves to fill the chambers of the penile with sufficient blood. Lack of blood flow to the penile is the main cause of impotence, which is why it is necessary to limit its consumption.
Additionally, Alcohol decreases the production of testosterone and reduces its levels in the body. Therefore, it is necessary to limit the consumption of alcohol to maintain good sexual health. Below given tips can help you to cut down or even abstain from alcohol.
Tips to Limit Alcohol Consumption
- Decide on limiting your intake of alcohol and stick to it. You can start by setting a limit on how much you are going to consume.
- Try cutting down your intake day by day. If you suddenly stop drinking it, you will find it hard to give it up and unable to control your cravings for alcohol, this is why you should take small steps first.
- Prefer small-sized drinks instead of larger ones.
- Inform your family and friends about your decision on reducing your alcohol intake. They can encourage you and provide you with much-needed support.
- Take a break from drinking several times a week.
Effects of Cigarettes on Erection Function
Individuals who smoke are about twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction, compared to those who don’t. Smoking and erectile dysfunction are closely related as the harmful chemicals present in cigarette smoke can cause damage to the penile blood vessels and lead to plaque formation in their passages. It injures the lining of the blood vessels and impairs their function.
Moreover, the plaque clogs and narrows the penile blood vessels which hinders the flow of blood throughout the penile, leading to erection difficulties. Blockages in the blood vessels restrict the amount of blood in the penile and deprive it of enough blood, thereby making it difficult to get stronger erections.
Furthermore, chronic smoking depletes the nitric oxide levels in the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is released by the endothelial cells of the walls of the penile blood vessels. Which helps in vasodilation and expansion of the blood vessels for allowing more blood flow through the passages. Finally, Depletion of nitric oxide worsens the erection function and leads to erectile difficulties. In this condition, even if the nervous system is working optimally, the individual struggles to get erections if the blood vessels are damaged due to excessive smoking.
Also, the main component present in cigarettes is Nicotine which acts as both a stimulant and a depressant. The smoke after inhaling gets rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and its effects impact the brain functioning within a few seconds. Finally, It affects the sexual feelings of a person and their ability to get aroused sexually. As a result, the ability to attain erections and sustain them might get hampered due to the interference of cigarette chemicals with brain functioning.
In addition, cigarette smoke releases hazardous chemicals into the blood, which potentiates the risk of other chronic health conditions such as
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Health disorders like heart disease and diabetes are strongly linked to erectile dysfunction. Since erectile dysfunction is a symptom of some underlying condition that is related to cardiovascular dysfunction and diabetes or heart disease adversely impacts cardiovascular function, leading to impotence. Therefore, it is necessary to refrain from cigarettes and the following steps can help you with the same.
Create A Quit-Smoking Plan
- Set a clear intention about quitting your incessant smoking habit. Choose a date for giving it up and plan accordingly to stick to it.
- Remove all the things that remind you of smoking or throw away all cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays from your home, office, and car.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe some medications that can aid you in the process of overcoming nicotine cravings.
- Seek support from friends, family members, and co-workers. Let them know that you have decided on quitting smoking.
- Some mind-diverting activities can help you to overcome cravings. Implement some fun strategies to engage yourself.
- Try doing some breathwork exercises and meditation to control your mind.
- Keep plenty of low-calorie snacks handy.
- When you develop a strong urge to smoke, remind yourself of the benefits of quitting smoke, including the sexual health benefits.
Initially, you will struggle a lot to control your urges due to withdrawal syndrome, but these cravings will usually last for a couple of weeks. The benefits will incredible. Not only will it improve your erectile function but also your overall well-being.