Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be affected by hydration levels and other factors. Dehydration can reduce blood volume and affect mood, so a person may discover that drinking lots of water can help with maintaining an erection.
Erectile dysfunction is when a man has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. An estimated 30 million men experience ED at some point of their lives. A wide range of factors can influence ED.
Is Dehydration Linked to ED?
It is possible for a person’s hydration levels to influence temporary ED. A lack of sufficient body water can affect a person mentally and physiologically.
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Several elements are required for a man to achieve and maintain an erection. A breakdown in one or more of these steps means he may not be able to achieve an erection that is firm enough for sex. The process includes:
- increased blood flow into two chambers in the penis called the corpus cavernosum that leads to the penis swelling and becoming erect
- sexual arousal, or the messages sent to the brain that stimulate blood flow to the penis
- when a man achieves ejaculation, the blood leaves the chambers, and the erection goes away
When a man is dehydrated, he does not have as much blood volume in his body as when he is properly hydrated. Therefore, his blood vessels become constricted, as there is not enough blood to keep them tense. This impairs blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis.
When a person is dehydrated, their body releases greater amounts of the enzyme angiotensin I, which causes the blood vessels to constrict.
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The presence of angiotensin II, which the body makes from angiotensin I, has been linked with sexual dysfunction in animal studies.
Symptoms of Dehydration
A person’s fluid needs may vary based on their body size, physical activity level, and exposure to warm temperatures.
When a person is mildly dehydrated, they may experience symptoms that include:
- dry mouth
- dark urine
Drinking enough water can help a person feel better on several levels, including sexual performance. A person should drink enough water, so that their urine is clear in color, and they do not feel thirsty.
If a person does not drink water or other fluids when they start having signs of dehydration, they may progress to severe dehydration. This can turn into a medical emergency.
Symptoms of Severe Dehydration include:
- low blood pressure
- having an intense sense of thirst
- lack of sweating even in warm climates
- producing little to no urine
- a fast heart rate
Taking certain medications is also associated with ED. These include blood pressure-lowering medicines, antidepressants, and medications for pain.