Anxiety is a health concern that can negatively impact a man’s physical health, mainly if it is uncontrolled and heightened. Men are more likely to experience unchecked anxiety and heightened stress levels, which can lead to a range of adverse physical health outcomes. These outcomes may include reduced sexual functioning and decreased libido. for men, anxiety also manifests itself by men having difficulty achieving an erection. Therefore, it is essential men manage anxiety and seek professional help if necessary to prevent erectile dysfunction (ED).
What men should know about erectile disfunction
Erectile disfunction is a condition when a man is unable to get an erection or if he does, to maintain the erection that is hard enough for sexual intercourse.
It is not unusual that at some time in a man’s life, to have erectile dysfunction. But, if the problem is ongoing, it could be signaling a more serious health problem such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Men with ED may also have problems with their significant other, have poor self-esteem, or have anxiety about his lack of sexual performance.
The connection between men with anxiety and ED
There are undoubtly many physical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, that contribute to men experiencing erectile dysfunction. But, another important factor are the psychological reasons, such as anxiety, that can also be linked to ED. One review found that men diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, have a higher prevalence of and more severe cases of ED than men without anxiety.
A 2023 study found that men with ED may suffer from anxiety and depression and that the severity of ED was associated with a man’s education level, age, smoking, onset time, regular sleep, and exercise. Other contributing factors that heighten anxiety in men are job loss, illness, financial issues, and relationship conflicts. Even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can influence and increase the likelihood of ED.
Why would anxiety increase the prevalence and severity of ED in men? One reason is that men who have untreated anxiety, their anxiety interferes and disrupts how their brain messages their penis to increase blood flow to help men achieve an erection. The same thing can happen to men who try to reduce anxiety by using drugs or alcohol. If anxiety is not dealt with, the link between anxiety and ED can lead to a vicious cycle of increased anxiety causes ED which causes more anxiety.
How to treat anxiety-induced ED
Men suffering from ED due to anxiety should have a thorough physical evaluation to search for the root cause. This physical should include blood work, urine tests, and an assessment of the extent and reason for a man’s anxiety.
If a man’s ED is found to be caused by psychological factors, promising treatment options may include counseling for stress management, learning how to live a healthier lifestyle, and if needed, medications to treat anxiety.
If the results are due to physical problems contributing to ED, then the discussion could include making significant dietary changes, setting a regular exercise routine, not smoking, losing weight, and learning how to reduce stress. Other options could be the use of ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis, penile injections, or as a last resort, penile implants.
The most crucial factor is that men receive individualized treatment for their ED in a timely manner.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.