All About Alcohol and ED

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Erectile Dysfunction has many nicknames from clinical terms like ‘impotence” to more digestible names such as ‘performance issues.’ One phrase that gets its name honestly is “whiskey dick.” 

Today we’re here to ask the real question...

What’s the connection between alcohol and erections?

There are so many reasons that you may experience ED, sadly for those who like to enjoy a drink or two, alcohol consumption and erectile dysfunction are tightly linked. Whether you’re a light drinker or heavy drinker, studies have shown that even having a few drinks will increase the likelihood that you’ll suffer erectile dysfunction in both the short or long term.

Sex and alcohol are almost as classic a pair as coffee and donuts. A single drink can lower your inhibitions, and increase your sexual desires. Unfortunately, alcohol also leads to other changes in your bodies including your circulatory system, digestive system, and even your penis.  In 2007, The International Journal of Impotence Research reviewed 20+ studies on the effects of alcohol and sexual dysfunction. At a high-level, almost all studies reviewed pointed to alcohol and ED being linked. While heavy drinkers in particular are affected with as many as 72% of heavy drinkers interviewed (21 or more drinks per week) reporting issues with ED, light-to-moderate drinkers (1-2 drinks per day) also reported issues with erectile dysfunction.

In the short term alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction due to dehydration. As we drink more, our bodies become dehydrated. As our bodies become dehydrated, blood flow is reduced around the body -- and blood flow to the penis is a critical factor in achieving, and maintaining, an erection. On the long term, chronic alcohol abuse can cause vitamin B deficiency, or worse nerve damage, both leading to erectile dysfunction. In some cases, damage done through chronic alcohol abuse can be irreversible.

Having a drink or two can lead to a fun time -- but it doesn’t mean it’s good for your sex life. While ED is a common occurrence after a night of heavy drinking, continuous abuse of alcohol can lead to long-term problems. If you’re worried that you may be drinking too much, or if you’re worried that a loved one is, there is no shame in speaking with a doctor.

Don’t forget, erectile dysfunction is extremely common, especially when alcohol is involved. There are a range of treatments designed to help you in dealing with ED.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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