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January 30, 2012

Testosterone Part II: Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction and Embarrassed MaleHelp for Erectile Dysfunction

For years testosterone was  felt to be  little or no help in treating erectile dysfunction but lately that has changed. It was taught at many institutions that no one was ever helped with erectile dysfunciton by increasing their testosterone levels. With the increased use of testosterone supplementation we are seeing some exciting results. Many men not only see an increase in libido but also an improvement in the quality of their erection.

Low Testosterone

As we age our testosterone decreases at an alarming rate. Every year after 30 we are making less and less testosterone , while we make more sexual hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which binds to our testosterone making it inactive. This combination leads to changes that we associate with aging including hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, depression and heart disease.

All of these are contributors to erectile dysfunciton, so falling testosterone levels do effect erectile function. In a more direct manner testosterone effects libido, which is our sexual drive. Libido does not have an effect on the ability to obtain an erection but may affect the quality and frequency of erections.

Testosterone is rarely a direct cause of erectile dysfunction, it has been shown that men with extremely low testosterone when  supplemented there is an improvement in frequency and quality of erections . Testosterone supplementation has been shown to increase libido and improve the individuals feeling of well-being.

Testosterone Supplementation

Supplementation of testosterone in males with less than optimal levels does lead to decreased incidence of erectile dysfunction. The reason for that may not be as obvious as you think. Sub-optimal testosterone in the aging male is linked to several diseases that you may not have considered.

Diabetes has been linked to low testosterone levels , this is due to the fact that testosterone has a direct effect on insulin, making it more sensitive leading to decrease in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type II diabetes. Diabetics have a marked increased incidence of erectile dysfunction secondary to vascular problems and nerve damage.

It has been recommended that all newly diagnosed type II diabetics  be screened for low testosterone levels. Optimal testosterone levels also improve endothelial health leading to less vascular compromise and subsequent erectile dysfunction. Cholesterol abnormalities are also improved with optimal testosterone levels again leading to improved vascular flow.

With the above improvements you also see improved vascular elasticity and decreased incidence of hypertension. Optimal testosterone levels have even been shown to reverse the arterial plaque that can obstruct and totally block vessels, leading to better erectile function. These are some of the more obvious effects of optimising ones testosterone but there are  others such as improved energy, feeling of well-being, increased lean muscle mass and decrease in body fat.

Maintaining your Erectile Function for Life

There are multiple benefits to optimising ones’ testosterone levels but there is more you can do. With the increased energy levels and feeling of well-being work outs become less of a nightmare and can even become fun. Combine that with a change in nutrition and your well on the way to maintaining your erectile function for years.

A recent study found that by exercising you could delay the changes that  lead to erectile dysfunction by a minimum of 10-20 years. You can see by optimising your testosterone levels, exercising and tightening up your nutrition you can be active for many more years to come. One last thought, don’t even think of smoking!

See related articles.

“Testosterone Part 1: What’s Normal?

“Are You in Need of Hormone Replacement Therapy Testosterone?”

“Testosterone: Not Just for Your Libido”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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