Erectile dysfunction can be affected by many factors, including hydration levels. Dehydration can reduce blood volume and affect mood, so a person may find that drinking water can help with maintaining an erection. Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is when a man has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. An estimated 30 million men experience ED at some point. A wide range of factors can influence ED. In this article, we look at the relationship between hydration and both ED and sex drive, how you can tell if you are dehydrated, and other causes of erectile dysfunction.
Is Dehydration Linked To ED?
A person’s hydration levels can influence temporary ED. A lack of sufficient body water can affect a person physiologically and mentally.
Several elements are needed for a man to achieve and maintain an erection. A breakdown in one or more of these steps means he may not be able to achieve an erection that is firm enough for sex. The process includes:
- Sexual arousal, or the messages sent to the brain that stimulate blood flow to the penis
- Increased blood flow into two chambers in the penis called the corpus cavernosum that leads to the penis swelling and becoming erect
- When a man achieves ejaculation, the blood leaves the chambers, and the erection goes away
- When a man is dehydrated, he does not have as much blood volume in his body as when he is properly hydrated. Therefore, his blood vessels become constricted, as there is not enough blood to keep them tense. This impairs blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis.
Little research has looked at whether dehydration directly causes erectile dysfunction, so further studies are needed. When a person is dehydrated, their body releases greater amounts of the enzyme angiotensin. I which leads to the blood vessels constricting. The presence of angiotensin II, which the body makes from angiotensin I, has been associated with sexual dysfunction in animal studies, although more research is needed into how this affects humans.
In addition to the physical effects of dehydration that impact penile erection, the mood is also associated with dehydration.
How Much Water Do You Need?
For men, the recommended daily water intake is about 3 liters or 12 cups. This may seem like a lot, but it’s not that difficult to reach if you’re drinking water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. A good way to tell whether you’re low on water is by checking the color of your urine. If it’s dark yellow, you need to drink more water. Light yellow or clear urine means you’re well hydrated.
Drinking Water Slows Down Aging
Age is one of the most prominent risk factors for erectile dysfunction. One study said that aging increases the risk of ED from 1.2% per year for men aged in their 40s, to 4.6% per year for men aged 60 and above. On top of that, aging also increases the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, which are also linked to ED.
But here’s the good news: drinking water can help slow down the aging process. That’s because water helps flush out toxins and free radicals from the body, which can damage cells and lead to premature aging. Not to mention, staying hydrated helps keep your energy levels up, which is important for a healthy sex life.
Water Gets You In The Mood
If you’re dehydrated, your body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones (called cortisol) interfere with your body’s natural hormone levels and sexual response by restricting blood flow and narrowing arteries to various parts of the body.
If your body is chronically fatigued, it’s hard to get in the mood since you’re already feeling run down. However, water can help alleviate this by boosting your energy levels and ensuring adequate blood flow circulates to all parts of the body, which, in turn, can help improve your sexual arousal.
Water Is Healthier Than Sugary Drinks
Water is one of the best things you can drink for your health. It’s calorie-free, sugar-free, and low in sodium. It’s also essential for proper hydration and increased blood flow.
Soda, on the other hand, is one of the worst things you can drink. It’s loaded with sugar and calories, which can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Men with the aforementioned health conditions are more likely to experience ED.
Water Can Improve Semen Quality
Hydrating yourself before sex not only boosts your energy but also improves sperm quality. Water helps in the production of pre-ejaculate, the transparent fluid that comes out of the penis before ejaculation. This natural lubrication helps lubricate the urethra and neutralize any acidity that could damage sperm. By drinking enough water, you can produce more pre-ejaculate, which can help you have a more frictionless time participating in sexual intercourse.
Dehydration Causes Erectile Dysfunction
Drinking water increases the amount of plasma and blood that circulates in your body. This increased volume means that the blood vessels and arteries pump more blood into your body, oxygenating the vital organs and keeping you active and healthy.
When you’re dehydrated, however, these blood vessels and arteries conserve water instead of delivering it to vital organs. This restriction would lead to a drop in blood pressure, which would decrease the amount of nutrient-rich blood entering the penile tissue. When there’s not enough blood circulating in the penis, it’ll become harder to stay aroused. This can happen even if you’re experiencing mild dehydration.
ED is a common and often treatable condition affecting men. Although doctors have not conducted specific research studies related to how dehydration specifically affects ED, there are other studies and literature that can establish a link. However, dehydration is usually a temporary condition and not typically the sole contributor to long-term ED. If a man is consistently having trouble getting or maintaining an erection, he should talk to his doctor for a diagnosis.