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 and creates 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 affects how the brain signals your body’s physical response. Stress and anxiety interrupts how the brain sends messages to the penis to allow extra blood flow.
Having erectile dysfunction 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.
Stress and anxiety may lead to certain lifestyle factors that contribute to ED, including:
Illicit drugs use
Excessive alcohol consumption
A sedentary lifestyle
How Can I Tell if my Erectile Dysfunction is Stress Related?
Younger men typically experience erectile dysfunction due to psychological factors, however like older men they can also experience stress-induced erectile dysfunction.
The following are some signs that your ED might be caused by stress:
You’re able to experience an erection while masturbating, but not with a partner
You’re worried about being able to please your partner
You experience nocturnal and/or morning erections
You experience high levels of stress and/or anxiety
What are Some Common Sources of Stress that Can Lead to 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 contributes to stress.
Everyone deals with stress differently common sources of stress
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.
Your arteries are like a firehose. They can handle enormous amounts of pressure during stressful times when your heart pumps hard and fast, especially when you need more oxygenated blood during emergency, but can’t handle constant pressure.
Chronic stress is like using a fire hose to water your garden for 12 hours in a row. That blast of high-pressure water will not only ruin your garden, bur destroy the fire hose. The day to day constant stress you encounter such as your job, family, traffic is the worst kind of stress in your body.
Your blood vessels are the fire hose, they can handle the pressure long enough to put out the occasional fire but can’t handle the kind of pressure all day every day.
Erections are about adequate blood flow. Chronic stress environment will eventually damage the way your blood vessels function.
The saying is “sex – it’s all in the head”. Although there are multiple factors that cause erectile dysfunction, psychological affects all ages.
Some psychological causes for erectile dysfunction:
Depression: Depression is recognized as having effects far beyond mood. It can compromise someone’s immune system or even increase the likelihood of having a heart attack. Erectile dysfunction can affect someone with depression even when he is in a stable and loving relationship. Unfortunately, the drugs used to treat depression can cause erectile dysfunction, as well. The good news is that erectile dysfunction medications work whether the difficulty is from the depression itself or from the medications.
Anxiety: anxiety over any issue that is distracting can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Stress: Stress can be job-related, money-related, family or marital problems among other day to day concerns.
Loss of Desire: Hormone changes as in low testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction and result in loss of libido It means that a person no longer desires sexual intimacy as they once had but so can so can neurological or psychological conditions, medications, or relationship issues. Erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs will not work for many of these patients. A person must feel a desire for sex to kick off the process that allows the medications to function properly.
Low Self Esteem: Can stem from a man being unable to fulfill the role he believes gives him value as a man. It can be a failure to provide as he hoped for his family, an inability to gain acceptance in a peer group, or being unable to engage in sexual intimacy with a spouse or partner.
Guilt: Guilt over having an affair, losing the family’s money, having a hidden compulsion like gambling or drug use, or being unable to satisfy a partner, as examples, can all interfere with being able to get aroused or engage in sex.
Health Conditions that Can Cause ED, Stress, and Anxiety
Understanding erectile dysfunction is complex because there are multiple factors emotional, mental and psychological. In addition to all those factors there are health and physical causes of erectile dysfunction include:
Easing Stress and Anxiety to Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Since stress not only is a factor in erectile dysfunction it is the cause of many other health issues. There are options to help ease stress and anxiety. One of the options is therapy which can help you break out of the stress and anxiety and erectile dysfunction cycle. Therapy options:
Counseling: You’ll work with a therapist to identify and address major stress or anxiety factors so you can manage them.
Psychodynamic therapy: This usually involves addressing a subconscious conflict to help find the root cause of your erectile dysfunction.
Sex therapy: This therapy focuses on sensational pleasure rather than arousal and sexual activity. It aims to reduce the stress factor by building more a secure and reliable sex life.
Sexual anxiety therapy: Your doctor will explain erectile dysfunction to you in full detail. This can help reduce problems and worries caused by a lack of knowledge. Then your doctor will address the emotional issues and help you find a solution. Solutions may vary from trying to achieve relaxation to reactivating imagination.
The good news is psychological impotence can be treated with good results. One of the best ways to treat stress-induced erectile dysfunction is to de-stress.
Different people respond differently to different approaches. Finding what works for you to decrease stress will likely help achieve less erectile dysfunction and sexual satisfaction. Some approaches to decrease stress:
Exercise (150 minutes of moderate intensity)
Reduce Alcohol intake
Research and advanced technology continue to provide a variety of treatments for erectile dysfunction.
penis pump (vacuum erection device)
blood vessel surgery
The good news is there are lots of options to help prevent and treat erectile dysfunction. From living a healthy lifestyle to focus on managing stress to taking medication, testosterone replacement or shockwave therapy they are aimed at providing optimal results and reducing chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction. Talk with your healthcare provider to find the very best treatment plan.
If you have Erectile Dysfunction , call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you. Please see Our Services or call us at to schedule an appointment!