What are the STDs that can cause erectile dysfunction?
Date: December 27th, 2022
What are the STDs that can cause erectile dysfunction?
The best gift a man can give his woman is satisfying her sexual needs by ensuring she gets a powerful orgasm. This can only be possible if you can get an erection, and it can stay for long, which is attributed to good mental, physical, and emotional health.
But sometimes, some men may not be able to get an erection, or if they do, they cannot withstand it for long. This can lead to unsatisfied sexual performance, which can be embarrassing, especially to the man, and can lead to relationship problems if not appropriately addressed.
But, the big question is, "can STDs cause erectile dysfunction?" depending on the answer, you might also want to know if there are other causes of erectile dysfunction. Before we answer this question, it is good to know about erectile dysfunction.
What is erectile dysfunction?
An erectile dysfunction, formerly known as impotent, is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for a satisfying sexual performance that interferes with a person's sexual activity and quality of life.
Having erection problems from time to time is normal in men. However, suppose you have progressive erectile dysfunction, which is abnormal in that case.
Author credit: By www.scientificanimations.com - http://www.scientificanimations.com/wiki-images/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77708934
You should check in with your doctor or urologist because sometimes having problems getting or keeping an erection is a sign of underlying issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, etc.
Erectile dysfunction may also result from anxiety and stress, though it is commonly due to low blood flow in the penis. But, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction? Read on to learn more.
How does an erection work?
You get an erection when there is high blood flow in your penis that causes it to harden, which happens when the nerves release chemicals that increase the blood flow. Your penis has spongy muscle tissues called corpus cavernosum- erection chambers, usually two.
During sexual arousal, the corpus cavernosum relaxes, allows blood flow, and traps the blood inside. This leads to blood pressure in these chambers, making the penis firm and erect.
After orgasm, the nerve signals the penis making the corpus cavernosum contract and release blood into circulation, losing the erection and making the penis flaccid.
The penis is usually soft without sexual arousal. Penis size varies with the mood and body temperature.
What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?
You can have trouble getting and keeping an erection, which is normal, but if you experience the following, you likely have erectile dysfunction.
- continuous problems with getting and keeping an erection
- Your desire for sex is reducing
- You have low self-esteem
- Always feeling embarrassed and guilty about the thought of sex
You can also experience signs and symptoms of some sexual disorders similar to erectile dysfunction. The symptoms may include:
- Longer ejaculation time
- Premature ejaculation
- Failure to have an orgasm even with sufficient stimulation
Now that you know erectile dysfunction and how it works, it is time to get the answer to this disturbing question, "can STDs cause erectile dysfunction?"
Causes of erectile dysfunction
Many factors could lead to erectile dysfunction, such as physical or psychological. While physical causes can be underlying conditions like STDs and heart disease, psychological causes are depression, stress, anxiety, etc.
To broadly answer the question, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction? Let's look at these causes in depth.
Physical causes of ED
Erectile dysfunction commonly results from physical factors ranging from underlying conditions to surgery that damages vital sex organs. Many conditions cause or worsen ED; for example, many people with obesity usually have erection problems, which is why it is important to check your weight and physical fitness.
It is also vital to check on your lifestyle, and the foods you take to reduce your chances of having ED, as eating sugary foods that can lead to diabetes or using tobacco can cause ED. Living a healthy lifestyle also means you will not contract STDs like HIV, which can suppress your immune system and increase your risks of getting ED.
So, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction? Yes, but not all.
STDs causing erectile dysfunction
Whether it is the law of nature or not, anything good usually comes with potential risks, and sex is one of them. Sex strengthens a relationship, improves health, and has many psychological benefits. On the other hand, sex can be your nightmare, especially if you practice it carelessly, as it can come with risks like STIs.
Viruses or bacteria cause sexually transmitted infections or diseases, and you can get them through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. You can get some STDs even without ejaculation, like gonorrhea, and others you can get just by skin-to-skin contact of the genitals with an infected person.
Fortunately, you can cure STIs caused by bacteria and treat and manage the symptoms of those caused by viruses since most of them are incurable. Leaving some conditions like gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia, and viral hepatitis untreated can cause ED.
These STDs infections can spread to the prostate gland- a vital organ of the reproductive system, causing inflammation and damage to this organ which can affect the flow of the blood in and out of the penis, making it hard to get and maintain an erection. This infection is known as male accessory gland infections (MAGIs).
There are various types of MAGIs; some include:
- Urethritis: an inflammation of the urethra
- Epididymitis: This is an inflammation of the epididymis- a tube that coils at the back of the testicles whose function is to store sperm. The common cause of epididymitis is bacteria causing chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Prostatitis is the prostate gland's inflammation that can result from HIV infections, urethra or bladder infection, or old age. Prostatitis can cause complications like infertility, abnormal semen, sexual dysfunction, etc.
- Orchitis is the inflammation of the testicles, which mostly results from mumps virus and sometimes untreated epididymitis.
Let's look at the STDs that can cause damage to the prostate gland and lead to erectile dysfunction.
The answer to the question, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction, yes, they can, and chlamydia is one of the STDs.
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infections which affects the genitals, and the chlamydia trachomatis bacterium causes it. The condition is curable using antibiotic treatments.
But, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the urethra- a tube carrying sperm out of the body then spread to the prostate gland and cause infection leading to prostatitis, which can cause infertility like erectile dysfunction.
Chlamydia spreads through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Still, it can spread without ejaculating, according to the CDC. It can affect both men and women but is common in the sexually active group.
Prostate inflammation is quite common, and according to American Urological Association, 2.2% to 13.8% of men experience chronic prostate inflammation. Research also shows that one-third to half of the men having prostatitis have erectile dysfunction.
Chlamydia usually shows no symptoms, making it one of the common STIs as it rapidly spreads without knowing either partner. However, sometimes it shows symptoms, and they may include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Painful testicles
- Unusual penile discharge
Chlamydia can cause ED, but that doesn't mean any person with ED has chlamydia because there are causes of ED. I hope we've answered the disturbing question; can STDs cause erectile dysfunction?
If you have trouble with your erection, you should discuss it with your doctor, who can advise you on better treatments.
First, your doctor will diagnose you by looking at your health history and asking about your sex health. They can then take a urine or swab sample and test for the bacteria, and if they confirm, they can prescribe the best treatment methods.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection, and antibiotics are the most effective way of treating it. Your doctor may prescribe doxycycline, which you should take twice a week, or its alternative, like azithromycin or levofloxacin, which you should take once per day for a week.
When you are under chlamydia medications, you should not practice sex for one week. You must also notify your partner about your conditions and tell them to go for diagnosis and treatment.
If your ED was due to chlamydia infection, then treating chlamydia means you solve the ED problem.
To prevent chlamydia which subsequently prevents erectile dysfunction, abstain or have a monogamous and honest relationship. And if this is hard, ensure you correctly and consistently use protection when having sex- condoms for anal and vaginal sex and dental dams for oral sex.
This is the second most sexually transmitted bacterial infection after chlamydia, and its primary cause is the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. You can transmit gonorrhea through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. This bacterium majorly infects the urethra in men but can also infect the mouth, eyes, throat, and rectum.
The bacteria causing gonorrhea infection can spread to the prostate gland through the urethra, causing inflammation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis can interfere with the blood flow in and out of the penis, causing difficulties in getting or maintaining an erection during sex.
Gonorrhea can cause symptoms but not at the early stages of infection. Therefore, you can spread this infection in its early stages without knowing if you don't regularly go for gonorrhea screening.
Gonorrhea affects both men and women, and their symptoms vary. In this article, we'll only look at symptoms of gonorrhea in men that may cause ED, and they include:
- Painful urination
- Painful bowel movement
- Rectal bleeding
- Testicular swelling and pain
- Unusual penile discharge
If you don't treat gonorrhea, it can cause inflammation of the epididymis and prostate gland and scarring of the urethra that can cause infertility conditions like ED. This answers the question; can STDs cause erectile dysfunction?
Gonorrhea does not only cause infertility in men but also women. If a woman does not treat gonorrhea, the bacteria infection can spread to the ovary, uterus, and fallopian tubes, causing inflammation and leading to pelvic inflammatory disease.
Before treatment, your doctor will run tests to ascertain the bacteria causing the infection. They can run a urine or swab test, and they will proceed with treatment if the bacteria are present.
The most effective gonorrhea treatment is antibiotics because it is a bacterial infection. Your doctor can give you a dose of an oral antibiotic, a seven-day dose, or a single shot of ceftriaxone. If the gonorrhea was the cause of ED, then treating it will also mean treating ED.
To prevent ED resulting from gonorrhea, you should prevent gonorrhea in the first place. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection; the best way to prevent it is to abstain from sex or be in a monogamous and honest relationship.
But if you can't abstain and have multiple sexual partners, ensure you correctly use protection whenever you are having sex. You should also ensure you regularly go for gonorrhea and general STD testing.
Human immunodeficiency virus
HIV is a virus causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This virus is transmitted through body fluids like semen and vaginal fluids, and blood. HIV suppresses the body's immune system, making it susceptible to any infection, including prostatitis.
HIV is transmitted through sex, but you can also get it through blood transfusion. It is a viral infection with no cure; therefore, you can only manage it by taking medication that helps strengthen body immunity.
You now understand how HIV can cause ED, and you have the answer to the question, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction?
What are other physical causes of erectile dysfunction?
After knowing the answer to the question, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction? You may be curious about other physical factors and conditions that can cause ED. They include:
Just like most conditions, the risks of developing ED increases with age, and though this condition can affect anybody, it is common in older people. According to experts, about 2 to 12 percent of men above 40 years experience some symptoms of ED, and more than half of men above their seventies experience ED.
Cardiovascular diseases are conditions that majorly affect the blood vessels and interfere with their functionality. Cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and high cholesterol account for about 70% of the physical causes of ED.
The function of the blood vessels is to transport blood to the rest of the body's organs and tissues, like the heart, penis, and brain. When the blood vessels are affected and damaged by these conditions, they restrict blood from these vital body organs.
When this happens, the penis, which relies on the high blood to erect, will not, thus causing ED. So, in addition to the question, can STDs cause erectile dysfunction? You now also know that cardiovascular diseases can also cause ED.
Another common condition that causes ED is diabetes. More than 50% of ED cases are due to diabetes. One of the major health complications diabetic men have is erectile dysfunction, and the chances of experiencing ED due to diabetes is the longevity of the condition; the longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances of developing ED.
Though you cannot completely reverse the ED due to diabetes, you can make it better by controlling your blood sugar which you can do by your sugar intake. So, working on your lifestyle if you have diabetes can help manage ED and increase your sex performance.
Tobacco use, such as smoking, affects our health in many ways, such as causing dry mouth and discoloring teeth, and it can also cause erectile dysfunction. Smoking tobacco significantly reduces blood supply in the body, including the penis' blood vessels. With low blood supply in the penis, you can have problems getting and maintaining an erection leading to ED.
Fortunately, you can reverse the ED from smoking by quitting smoking.
Sedimentary lifestyle and obesity
It is not hearsay that being overweight is not good for your health; it is indeed alarming. What makes being overweight even worse is that it makes your body convert testosterone into estrogen- very embarrassing.
A sedimentary lifestyle is a lifestyle with little or no exercise and eating junk and unhealthy food, which can make you obese if you are not already one. Obesity can cause a reduction of blood supply to the blood vessels in the penis, and when there is low blood pressure, you will have problems achieving an erection.
Fortunately, you can get rid of being overweight by exercising and minding the type of food you take. You can consult your doctor on the best dieting and exercise plan to incorporate to ensure you achieve the desired body, which will, in turn, solve ED problems.
This also includes checking on your sexual health to avoid contracting STDS, which can cause ED.
Prostate cancer and inflammation
The function of the prostate gland is to produce fluid that transports sperms, and it is, therefore, no surprise if any damage to it can cause ED. Having benign prostatitis does not always cause ED, but the medicines used to treat it can.
Prostate inflammations resulting from STDs and prostate cancer are severe and can make you have difficulties getting an erection.
Side effects of medications
In an attempt to treat a disease, some medication can affect your hormones and blood circulation, which leads to ED or increase your chances of developing ED. High blood pressure medications and medication to increase urine flow are some examples of medications associated with ED. Others include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Prostate cancer drugs
- Anti-seizure medications
- Chemotherapy medications
- Parkinson's disease medications
If you experience ED after starting to take some of these medications, then you should not worry because it will come to pass but if it persists, then consult your doctor, who may prescribe a different medication.
Having a lower than the required normal level in your body can cause many health problems, including low sex drive, insomnia, hair loss, and erectile dysfunction. The severity of these conditions worsens with the decline of testosterone levels.
Fortunately, you can bring your testosterone level back to normal with medications and eliminate erection dysfunction.
From the question, can STDs cause erection dysfunction? You learned about all the possible physical causes of ED and now dive into psychological causes.
Psychological causes of ED
Your brain plays a vital role in your sex life. It triggers things that can lead to an erection, and when it is disturbed, it cannot work correctly to achieve this. Many things can interfere with your brain's functionality concerning sexual life, and they include:
- Mental conditions
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of sexual failure
Prevention of erection dysfunction
After answering the question, can STDs cause erection dysfunction and looking at other causes of ED, you realize that ED is mostly due to an unhealthy lifestyle, meaning if we live a healthy life, we can prevent and manage existing ED. Below are some of the ways you can prevent erection dysfunction:
- Learn stress-managing techniques
- Manage conditions like diabetes and heart disease by working closely with your doctor
- Quit smoking
- Stop or reduce your alcohol intake
- Regularly go for medical screening tests
- If you have mental concerns, depression, and anxiety, look for a professional and get help
- Avoid careless sexual activities that put you at risk of getting STDs that cause ED.
Erectile dysfunction is common in men over 70 but can affect any age. An unhealthy lifestyle mainly causes ED, and changing your lifestyle can reduce your chances of developing ED.