Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

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I know that erectile dysfunction can be a common side effect of blood pressure medications, but can they lower my sex drive?

Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

A. Sexual problems are a side effect of many medications, including those prescribed to lower blood pressure. You’re right, erectile dysfunction (ED) is often mentioned. But antihypertensive drugs can reduce sex drive or make it difficult to reach orgasm.

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Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

At this point, we should all be more aware of the impact that high blood pressure can have on our lives.

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For decades, men have been warned about the potential health hazards of hypertension, including the risk of heart attack or stroke, aneurysms, or dementia caused by narrowing or blocking of arteries.

That’s right, hypertension can also manifest itself in the bedroom. There is a really close relationship between high blood pressure and ED – so close in fact, that the latter can be one of the first symptoms of the former. ED is 2 times more common in men with high blood pressure than in men without it.

The reason is simple human biology; erections require light blood flow. Hypertension prevents the walls of your arteries from relaxing as they should, preventing the amount of blood flow needed to achieve and maintain a hard erection.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end there. Some medications used to treat hypertension are also associated with ED. In fact, medications may be to blame in 25% of ED cases.

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So does this mean you have to choose between your health and maintaining an active sex life? It’s okay. Only certain blood pressure medications have shown strong associations with ED attacks, and whether your ED is caused by hypertension itself or a prescription you’re prescribed, there are treatment options.

First, let’s identify which potential medications have no or very little evidence of an association with erectile dysfunction.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are popular medications that help lower blood pressure. Basically, they inhibit the formation of angiotensin II enzyme. Some of the most popular ones in this category are:

Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Angiotensin II receptor blockers are not the same as ACE inhibitors. Instead of lowering the enzyme, these blockers prevent the receptors from processing it and raising blood pressure. Some common examples of ARBs include:

Can Low Blood Pressure Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

These drugs are self-explanatory in nature and prevent calcium from reaching the muscle cells of our arteries, allowing them to relax and open. Popular calcium channel blockers include:

There are two main culprits here, and if your doctor recommends one of them as a treatment for your high blood pressure, plan to have a more in-depth conversation about any concerns you may have about EP as a result.

The first group of drugs is beta-blockers. It is usually recommended when other previous medications have not been enough to lower your blood pressure to the desired level. Beta blockers do what their name suggests and attach to beta receptors throughout the body, causing your heart to pump less blood through your body.

As you can probably guess from the brief scientific update above, low blood levels make it harder to get an erection.

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With the exception of nebivolol, the following beta-adrenergic blockers have been associated with increased ED in men:

The second group of culprits are diuretics. It works to reduce the amount of sodium and water in our body, resulting in lower blood pressure. Although generally safe and effective, diuretics have well-documented side effects, including erectile dysfunction. The most popular of this group of drugs is hydrochlorothiazide.

However, it is important to note that the jury is still out on whether beta-blockers and diuretics directly cause ED or whether the resulting ED is primarily psychological. Starting a new medication can make us worry about our health or even expect the side effects that have been warned.

Do Blood Pressure Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction

In any case, men should always consult their doctor before taking any medication and after any side effects. When it comes to ED, a health care provider can replace the offending treatment with another treatment.

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Men should also be aware of alternative treatments for ED, including new innovative technology such as acoustic wave therapy and testosterone therapy. Finally, incorporating more healthy habits into your regular routine will go a long way toward achieving overall health and combating ED and other sexual dysfunctions.

Paramount Men’s Medical Center in St. Louis has a team of trusted men’s health experts who specialize in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, low T levels and other issues affecting sexual health.

We believe you can have great sex again, and we’re here to give advice to men of all ages on how to improve their lives and relationships. Contact us today to book a consultation.

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