Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. The chemicals present in cigarette smoke can injure the lining of your blood vessels and affect the way they function. These chemicals can harm your heart, brain, kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body. Erectile dysfunction is linked to a number of causes including smoking.
There’s evidence to show that men who smoke are at higher risk for ED. Both men who smoke heavily and secondhand smokers are at risks of having erectile dysfunction.
A study was done in China, where researchers examined data on 4,764 Chinese men with the average age of 47 who completed a health survey. The study was centred on their smoking history and quality of sexual relations amongst these men.
It was found that men who smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily had a 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction, compared to men who never smoked. 15% of the past and present smokers had experienced erectile dysfunction. Men who currently or formerly smoked had about 30% chance of suffering from impotence.
Of the 20% of the participants who reported having erectile dysfunction (ED) at the start of the study, by the end, 75% of these men who had quit smoking, no longer suffered erectile problems.
Smoking has been associated with enormous health risks including plaque build-up in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. The plaque interferes with blood flow through vessels, causing a host of circulatory problems throughout the body, like erectile dysfunction.
During erection, the size of the penis is determined by the amount of blood that rushes to the penis which is controlled by circulation. If there is enough blood flow to the penis during an erection, then you should have a firm erection. This is what keeps the erection firm enough for sexual activity.
Smoking damages the lining of blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis, which is basically the hardening of the arteries. It also affects the smooth muscle tissue that needs to relax to allow blood to flow in. Men who make significant lifestyle changes by lowering cholesterol level, blood pressure, lose weight and exercise significantly improve symptoms of ED. Smoking decreases the amount of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a compound that plays a crucial role in erections.
A recent study, published in the British Journal of Urology International, suggests that nicotine itself and not just smoking causes erectile problems. In the long run, it could lead to cancer or heart disease.
The best option is to quit smoking. If you struggle with the idea of quitting, take a clue from these few tips below.
- Make a list of health goals you’d like to achieve a healthy heart, firmer erections and so on. Write down why your earlier attempts to quit failed.
- Pay attention to identify your smoking triggers, such as drinking alcohol or coffee, company or weather.
- Join a support group or find someone you can be accountable to.
- Talk to a specialist about over-the-counter medications designed to help with smoking cessation.
Find new alternatives to activities that prompt you to smoke. This will help distract you from cigarette cravings.
- Be easy on yourself and be prepared for cravings and setbacks. You may have some withdrawal symptoms, but these usually last less than 2 weeks. Let go of one cigarette stick at a time.
- You can try nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine lozenges and nicotine nasal sprays. Talk to your doctor to find out if any of these aids are right for you.
- Brush your teeth regularly. Erectile dysfunction has been associated with chronic gum disease. In one recent study found that 80 percent of men who had severe erectile dysfunction also had chronic gum disease. Keeping your mouth healthy by flossing, brushing, and regular dental visits.
- Kick against stress and anxiety. When people are stressed out, they’d likely resort to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
- Track your daily progress and reward yourself as you make progress.