Can low testosterone cause ED?
It’s not uncommon for men to have erection problems from time to time. In fact, according to the UNC School of Medicine, erectile dysfunction affects roughly 50% of men over the age of 40. However, men who have erectile dysfunction are unable to get or maintain an erection to have sexual intercourse.
Testosterone is the most abundant hormone in men. It not only plays a role in libido, but muscle building, bone strength, and even fat distribution.
Here’s what you need to know about a possible link between low testosterone levels and ED.
Erectile Dysfunction vs. Low Testosterone
ED and low testosterone are two very different conditions. As explained earlier, ED is when a man has trouble getting or maintaining an erection. On the other hand, low testosterone is when men have below average levels of the hormone.
Low T can be caused by low levels of free testosterone, which circulates in the blood. It can also be caused by low levels of bioavailable testosterone, which binds to protein.
Low testosterone has very different symptoms than ED. Some of the most common include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Low libido
- Depression or irritability
Low T can also cause reduced erectile function. While there is some overlap between low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, low levels of the hormone aren’t always the direct cause of ED.
How Testosterone Impacts Sexual Health
Men who have low testosterone experience side effects that impact their happiness in the bedroom. Low T is known to cause low libido, which means that you have little to no interest in having sex. You may also find that low energy levels make it hard to maintain an active sex life.
The mood changes caused by low T can also take a toll. Irritability and depression can lead to a strained relationship, which can impact intimacy.
Some men feel self-conscious due to weight gain, which is often a consequence of lower testosterone levels. One study of 372 men between 20-85 years old found that low testosterone levels were associated with a higher proportion of body fat.
When men feel embarrassed or self-conscious about how they look, it’s hard to want to partake in any kind of sexual activity. Low testosterone may also impact erectile function either directly or indirectly. Because erectile dysfunction is such a complex condition, it’s hard to say that there is a direct link between testosterone and erectile dysfunction without a more specialized one-on-one approach.
How Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Impacts a Man’s Sex Life
Like testosterone, ED can also negatively impact a man’s sex life. Having trouble getting or maintaining an erection makes sex challenging and even frustrating. Because of ED, a man is less likely to have a satisfactory sex life, which may cause him to have sex less often.
Men with ED often experience embarrassment and sexual anxiety in the bedroom. Many worry that they can no longer please their partner and feel like a failure in their relationships. What’s even worse is that most men avoid going to the doctor out of embarrassment.
If left untreated, erectile dysfunction can cause reduced sex drive. Low libido is a common symptom of low testosterone. Men who have ED have less interest in sex because they’re unable to get pleasure from it, although there are many health benefits of sex outside of enjoyment.
Does Low Testosterone Cause ED or Impotence?
Knowing all of this, men are often left wondering, can low testosterone cause ED? The answer is that there isn’t a good answer, without customized tests by a trained professional. Some men who have ED also have low testosterone levels. But at the same time, there are men whose testosterone levels are in a healthy range. And even then, not all men with low T experience erectile dysfunction.
So what does all of this mean? Both conditions are complex, and neither necessarily causes the other. But in some instances, they do go hand-in-hand.
Erectile dysfunction is a very complex health condition. It can be caused by all sorts of underlying factors, including:
- Poor heart and circulatory health (such as high blood pressure)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Poor mental health
Erectile dysfunction is commonly attributed to hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which affects the ability for blood to efficiently travel throughout the body, that some foods can support to unclog the arteries. Severely low testosterone levels can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
While ED is often caused by poor heart health, it can also be caused by a man’s mental or emotional state. For instance, a man who is depressed and has low self-esteem isn’t likely to feel confident in the bedroom. The lack of confidence, stress, and anxiety can impact erectile function.
Many men who have erectile dysfunction also have low testosterone (Low T). Studies have suggested that up to one-third of men with ED also have low T. Both conditions are linked to many of the same health issues, including:
- Metabolic syndrome
Because erectile dysfunction and low T can accompany each other, it’s important to have your testosterone levels tested.
Due to the many side effects of low testosterone, such as low libido and depression, some men find it extremely hard to get or maintain an erection. This further complicates the link between ED and low T.
The good news is that both low testosterone and erectile dysfunction can be treated. If you experience any of the common symptoms associated with low T or erectile dysfunction, now is the time to make an appointment with a men’s medical clinic for a consultation.
Consult a Medical Professional To Learn If Testosterone Replacement Therapy Is Right For Your Unique Situation
As men get older, their testosterone levels begin to decrease. This is because the body naturally makes less testosterone. We also know that older men are at a greater risk of experiencing ED. Customized solutions such as testosterone therapy (or TRT) have been found to restore vitality and testosterone levels in men of many age ranges.
If you’re having trouble with getting or maintaining an erection, consult the trusted professionals at the men’s medical clinic, Prestige Men’s Medical Center. An ED specialist will be able to determine if you have ED, low testosterone, or other underlying issues. From there, a customized treatment plan will be created to help you get back to a satisfying sex life.