Smoking And Erectile Dysfunction In Men
World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released statistical data according to which tobacco smoking kills nearly 6 million smokers worldwide, making it the worst epidemic of all times. About 1.2 billion active smokers exist worldwide out of which more than 80% are in developing and under developed countries. According to different clinical and research studies, chronic active smoking not only affects a person’s physical, sexual and mental health but also psycho- social health as well.
How Cigarette Smoking Aggravates The Risk Of Developing Erectile Dysfunction?
A tobacco smoke has more than 4000 toxic chemicals which can develop or promote cancer and can cause degradation of cell components and natural proteins due to stimulation of free radicals or reactive oxygen species production. Here is how chronic cigarette smoking leads to erectile dysfunction and other sexual disorders in males:
- Study reported in the European Urology Focus (1) suggested that the primary pathophysiological mechanism through which smoking causes erectile dysfunction is endothelial damage caused by oxidative stress or free radicals.
- Cigarette smoking aggravates the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (especially atherosclerosis and cardiac damage) due to inflammation caused by cigarette smoke and other hazardous chemicals. Concurrently, the blood flow to the genitals is also affected, which may present as erectile dysfunction.
- Cigarette smoking leads to respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, chronic smokers cough and decreased lung capacity. All these factors directly affects the physical stamina and capacity to perform energy demanding activities such as sexual intercourse.
According to a study conducted by Huang and associates (5), the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in males (between 40 to 70 years of age) is 52%.
Other health issues: Other than above mentioned problems, smoking can lead to numerous health problems such as, respiratory deficit, cardiovascular dysfunction, smoking makes bones weak and brittle leading to early onset of osteoporosis. Furthermore it can cause erectile dysfunction and high risk of developing various forms of cancer.
Regain Your Health And Looks By Quitting Smoking
When you quit smoking your aesthetic appearance improves because the amount of toxins in body reduces and blood circulation is improved. However, quitting is not easy at all. According to a statistical report, only 4-7% chain smokers become successful in quitting smoking without any smoke cessation therapy program.
According to a study reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (4), there is a positive dose-response relationship between the quantity and duration of cigarette smoking and severity of erectile dysfunction. A smoking history of 10-pack years is significant to cause ED in otherwise healthy male. Here are some tips on how to quit smoking effectively:
- Set reliable expectations: It is not possible to quit at once. Number of cigarettes should be reduced slowly in order to avoid the withdrawal effects.
- Smoke cessation aid: Quitting smoking can be made easier with different smoke cessation aids such as nicotine replacement options like nicotine patches and gums. They help in reducing the physical and psychological dependence on smoking. Non-nicotine options like Bupropion and Varenicline can also aid in smoke cessation. Other options include acupuncture and hypnosis. Along with these therapies, counseling and support groups are also found to be effective.
- Avoid triggers: It is a common observation that mostly people start it for fun or to look cool and it mostly happens when your gathering is of smokers. On the other hand, some people smoke to run away from stress, anxiety, anger and depressive thoughts. One should always look for healthy options instead of smoking. Caffeinated drinks and alcohols are also smoke triggers.
- Fight nicotine craving: Besides nicotine replacement therapies there are other options as well to fight with nicotine cravings. Physical activities such as yoga, swimming and breathing exercises can help a lot. Moreover, take naps to avoid mood swings, drink lots of fluid and eat healthy food and brush teeth frequently.
1. Verze, P., Margreiter, M., Esposito, K., Montorsi, P., & Mulhall, J. (2015). The Link Between Cigarette Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review. European Urology Focus, 1(1), 39-46.
2. Wu, C., Zhang, H., Gao, Y., Tan, A., Yang, X., Lu, Z., … & Mo, Z. (2012). The association of smoke and erectile dysfunction: results from the Fangchenggang Area Male Health and Examination Survey (FAMHES). Journal of andrology, 33(1), 59-65.
3. Kovac, J. R., Labbate, C., Ramasamy, R., Tang, D., & Lipshultz, L. I. (2015). Effects of cigarette on erectile dysfunction. Andrologia, 47(10), 1087-1092.
4. Cao, S., Gan, Y., Dong, X., Liu, J., & Lu, Z. (2014). Association of Quantity and Duration of Smoking with Erectile Dysfunction: A Dose–Response Meta‐Analysis. The journal of sexual medicine, 11(10), 2376-2384.
5. Huang, Y. C., Chin, C. C., Chen, C. S., Shindel, A. W., Ho, D. R., Lin, C. S., & Shi, C. S. (2015). Chronic Cigarette Impairs Erectile Function through Increased Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis, Decreased nNOS, Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Contents in a Rat Model. PloS one, 10(10), e0140728.