Erectile dysfunction and substance abuse

Erectile dysfunction and substance abuse

Erectile dysfunction and substance abuse

Substance abuse is a significant contributor to erectile dysfunction.  This includes smoking, alcohol abuse, illegal drugs abuse, and certain medications.



Recent research shows that alcohol is the drug that is the leading cause of erectile dysfunction. Up to 50% to 80% of alcoholics experience erectile dysfunction. Excessive alcohol use can permanently damage the nervous system, cutting off the signals from the brain to the pelvic nerves.  Alcohol negatively affects the endocrine system, resulting in lowered testosterone levels and reduced sexual arousal.


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Studies show that nicotine limits the flow of blood to the penis and smoking is associated with low sex drive. Other studies have shown that 87 to 97 percent of men who suffered from erectile dysfunction due to lack of blood supply to the penis were smokers. A review published by McVary et al indicates that smokers are at twice the risk of moderate or complete impotence compared to nonsmokers. The toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke damage the blood vessels within the body, narrowing of the arteries, and fatty deposits to build up. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow into the penis.


Studies show that prescription medications are the cause for as many as one out of every four erectile dysfunction cases. One of the most popular forms of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, causes up to 60 percent of people to experience erectile dysfunction. SSRIs influence the function of neurotransmitters that relate to the feelings of well-being and this is believed to be the reason why they cause erectile dysfunction. Another type of prescription drug that causes erectile dysfunction are beta blockers, one of the most popular high blood pressure drugs. Beta blockers also affect neurotransmitters, specifically epinephrine, the neurotransmitter responsible for giving the feeling of andrenaline. Beta blockers counteract the stimulation of this neurotransmitter, causing interference with erectile function. Allergy medications and H2 blockers have also been shown to cause erectile dysfunction as well as recreational and frequently abused drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methadone, amphetamines, and barbiturates.

Erectile dysfunction can be treated with the help of a professional. If you suspect you have erectile dysfunction, it is recommended that you visit a urologist. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Jack Bruder has been providing services for Urology doctor Manhattan, Erectile dysfunction doctor Manhattan, Premature ejaculation doctor Manhattan, Urologist NYC, and Urology doctor NYC.

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