Can medication cause ED?

Is your current medication taking away your erection?


Having troubles with your erection from time to time is not necessarily a cause for worry. Sometimes the little guy can fail you when you need him to rise, but, if this is an ongoing issue it is referred to as erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is the lack of ability to get and maintain an erection to have sexual intercourse. Nowadays, it is estimated that 25% of erectile dysfunction cases can be attributed to drug side effects. Erectile dysfunction does not only affect the sex life but can also have a spillover effect on a man’s self-confidence and contribute to relationship issues. 

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Around 1 in 10 adult males suffer from erectile dysfunction on a long-term basis. Yes, it is natural for the little guy to fail to rise to the occasion once in a while. We know the common criminal making it harder to maintain an erectile is our all too well-known friend alcohol. So do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot get hard once in a while, you are only human. But if this tends to be a common occurrence and you are getting worried something might be wrong, your GP will be able to help pin down your erectile dysfunction’s underlying cause.

Erectile dysfunction is not a part and parcel of getting older. Yes, it tends to be older men that need a little bit more help in the stimulation department to get them going, but they should still be able to have and enjoy a healthy sex life without any troubles with their erections.

Symptoms of ED

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction are as it sounds:

  • Inability to get an erection
  • Inability to keep an erection 
  • Reduction in libido

The process resulting in male sexual arousal is complex involving not only the brain but hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. If any one of these individual motors in the erection circuit is disrupted it can result in erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, mental health worries such as stress or performance anxiety can be a cause or perpetuate erectile dysfunction. Most cases of erectile dysfunction usually stems from both physical and psychological issues. 

Medicinal causes of erectile dysfunction

The main medicines responsible for contributing to erectile dysfunction are antidepressants used for mental health problems, thiazide diuretics used for high blood pressure treatment, tranquilisers for sleep problems and ulcer medications. While these medications are designed to treat a disease or condition, while exerting their effects on the body they in turn also affect a man’s hormones, nerves or blood circulation resulting in erectile dysfunction or increasing the risk of it happening.

Here is a list of the common medical causes of erectile dysfunction:

  • Diuretics (water pills increasing urine output)
  • Antihypertensives (blood pressure medications).
  • Antihistamines (for allergic reactions)
  • Antidepressants (for mental health issues such as depression)
  • Parkinson's disease drugs (to treat Parkinson’s)
  • Antiarrhythmics (to stabilise irregular heart rhythms).
  • Tranquillisers (for sleep)
  • Muscle relaxants (for sleep or anxiety-related issues)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (to treat inflammatory conditions)
  • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists (for allergic reactions)
  • Hormonal medications (eg. testosterone or oestrogen)
  • Chemotherapy medications (to treat cancer)
  • Prostate cancer drugs (to treat prostate cancer)
  • Anti-seizure medications (for epilepsy)

If you are on any of the medications and you believe it is linked to your erectile dysfunction, consult your prescribing doctor as they will reassess your treatment regiment and will adjust it accordingly. 

The little blue pill to save the day

I am sure you have heard about the little blue pill that took the pharmaceutical market by storm: Viagra. Viagra is just a brand name. The medical component is Sildenafil and its a treatment for erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. It does not work alone, in combination with sexual stimulation, it helps men to achieve and maintain an erection long enough to partake in sexual activity. Its mode of action is by causing the relaxation of muscles in the walls of certain blood vessels in the body.

Viagra has been proven to have high efficacy, but it does not be the little miracle every guy is hoping for. A recent study has yielded results that have shown that Viagra has helped ? men with ED. There are other avenues to explore if Viagra is not the answer for you. These options include mechanical devices like a vacuum pump, new sex toys that utilize vibrations to stimulate male arousal, creams, injections, and penile implants.

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