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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 dozens of physical and mental conditions that can cause erectile difficulties, research has found that there may be a significant link between sexual dysfunction and stress.

Because stress directly affects and disrupts the signals from the brain to the rest of the body, excessive amounts of stress can affect blood flow and circulation.

How stress can affect erectile function

When you feel stress, your body makes adrenaline increases in your heart rate to move more oxygenated blood to your muscles, lungs, and brains to make you faster, stronger – resulting in the “flight fight and freeze” response. Problems happen when your body processes constant stress as you move through the “flight, fight and 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 erectile dysfunction (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 are some common sources of stress that cause 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 issues that stress causes in turn.

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

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

The link between chronic stress and ED

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 take measures to help with the physical symptoms of ED including erectile dysfunction exercises and the use of vacuum pumps. These measures can help restore sexual function and reduce erectile difficulties. Vacuum pumps and hydrotherapy are a frequently overlooked way to regain the ability to gain/maintain an erection.

Shop our ED pumps to see which one might work for you.

Andrew McPherson
Andrew McPherson


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