Sexual Dysfunction and Warning Signs of Disease

Men: Erectile Dysfunction,
Low testosterone May Be Your Body Talking to You

What Men Need to Know About Sexual Dysfunction and Warning Signs of Disease

During Men’s Health Month, Chesapeake Urology’s David Fenig, M.D., a leading men’s sexual health specialist, encourages all men to take a closer look at their health and understand the connection between chronic medical conditions and sexual dysfunction.

Many men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), low testosterone and other sexual health issues at some point, especially as they get older. But what many people are not aware of is the link between these conditions and chronic health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity and even sleep disorders.

 “Men believe that erectile dysfunction is an isolated problem. When they first begin to experience erectile problems, it’s traumatic,” explains Dr. Fenig.  “But oftentimes, a man’s ED is caused by an underlying medical problem. With a thorough medical exam, we are often able to pinpoint a cause of the ED, which can be linked to a diagnosis of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.”

Can Erectile Dysfunction Actually Be a Life Saver?

“Indeed,” says Dr. Fenig. “A new diagnosis of erectile dysfunction may indicate an underlying medical disorder that needs be evaluated.”  A cardiovascular evaluation is recommended in all new patients with ED and can be a life saver when atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and high blood pressure are identified.


So, What’s the Link Between Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and ED?

ED can actually be one of the earlier warning signs of cardiovascular disease, identifying a problem with the endothelium or inner lining of the blood vessels and the smooth muscles. According to Dr. Fenig, problems with the endothelium cause poor blood supply to the heart and decreased blood flow to the penis.

In addition, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or high cholesterol which causes plaque buildup in the arteries is also a cause of ED. This build-up of plaque the body decreases blood flow to the penis through blocked arteries or leaking veins.


Other Medical Conditions that Cause ED

In addition to cardiovascular disease, other underlying medical concerns may be causing ED:

  • Diabetes causes damage to the nerves or blood vessels that control the flow of blood to the penis and cause an erection. Left untreated or undiagnosed, diabetes can have a detrimental, long term effect on the health of blood vessels.

  • Obesity can cause erectile dysfunction by causing hormonal abnormalities (such as low testosterone or hypogonadism), decreased sex drive or libido, or by negatively affecting blood vessels and resulting in vascular disease.

  • Psychological problems such as anxiety, depression and stress can also cause ED and temporary erectile issues, which is another reason why it’s important to talk to a physician and seek treatment for depression.

  • Some medications can interfere with blood flow to the penis, especially those for high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues, so it’s important to call your doctor if you experience ED as a side effect of medication for heart disease.


Guys - Get Your Zzzz’s to Help Avoid ED

For a man, testosterone is produced during sleep. So, men with sleep disorders and disruptions to sleep may have lower levels of testosterone which contributes to ED.

Dr. Fenig adds that sleep apnea has also been strongly associated with erectile dysfunction.  “Often, sleep studies and treatment for sleep apnea, such as CPAP, may help men obtain better erections by increasing the flow of oxygen through the blood stream and raising men’s energy level and libido through more restful sleep.”

Obesity plays a role in sleep disorders, too.  Dr. Fenig adds that “Many of my patients who are overweight or obese experience sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea. Addressing the sleep apnea has alleviated ED in many of these men.”

Your Beer Belly May Be Causing Low T

Many men experience weight gain in the belly as they age, causing the well-known “beer belly” effect. But what most men are not aware of is that added fat around the gut is a leading cause of decreased testosterone or Low T.

Studies have shown that obesity and an abundance of belly fat can lower testosterone levels in men, causing symptoms such as low libido, fatigue, weight gain and loss of muscle mass. However, other studies have demonstrated that a drop in testosterone levels can cause weight gain in men, which is why it’s important to discuss symptoms with a physician and have hormone levels tested.

Get the Help You Need

Men – learn more about erectile dysfunction and low testosterone as well as the risks, causes and treatment options available. Visit. or call (877) 699-2699 today.