When you get an erection and sustain it for long enough to complete a sexual act, your body and brain have to accomplish a number of complex processes. If one step fails, your erection does, too.
Healthy erections are a sign of a healthy body. If you have erectile dysfunction (ED), Alex Lesani, MD, a caring and skilled urologist, determines all the factors involved. One of the most common factors that could prevent you from achieving erections when you want them is being overweight or obese. Here’s why.
Excess fat throws off your hormones
The strength and longevity of your erections is partly controlled by the hormone testosterone (T). When you have plenty of T, your erections are strong, firm, and long-lasting. That’s why you had no trouble getting erections when you were going through puberty; your body was flooded with T.
If you gain weight that’s stored as fat, however, your T levels start to drop. In addition, the fatty tissue you carry on your body starts to produce more of a hormone you don’t want, which is estrogen. Although you need some estrogen, when the ratio of estrogen to T is too high, your erections flag.
Fat makes it hard to put on muscle, too
You may have read that building muscle mass can maintain or even increase your T levels. But if you’re overweight or obese, that estrogen-rich fatty tissue makes it hard for your body to gain muscle mass.
In addition, excess fat slows down your metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight. In contrast, once you do lose excess fat and build up your muscles, your metabolism speeds up, which makes burning fat easier and faster. Your T levels increase, and so do your erections.
Obesity affects your circulation
As if the excess estrogen that comes with fatty tissue weren’t bad enough, obesity affects another aspect of your erection cycle, too. Being obese stresses your heart and your circulatory system. To get and hold an erection, your blood vessels must be strong.
During an erection, the erectile tissue in your penis becomes flooded with blood. The blood vessels then prevent the blood from exiting the penis until your sexual act is completed.
However, if your heart and blood vessels are weak, you may not be able to achieve an erection in the first place. And if you do get one, it may not last long.
Losing weight improves more than ED
The good news is that once you make the lifestyle changes you need to safely and permanently lose unhealthy, excess weight, your erections improve and so do many other aspects of your health. Switching to a whole-foods, fresh diet and adding plenty of exercise to your daily regimen brings you benefits such as:
- Reduced risk for heart attack or stroke
- Reduced risk for diabetes
- Improved blood glucose levels
- Reduced risk for arthritis
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight also gives you a confidence boost, which may make it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy erection, too. Dr. Lesani works with you to help you adopt the habits that improve your overall health and your erections, such as:
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol use
- Limit unhealthy fats and processed foods
- Add in more fresh vegetables, fruits, and high-quality protein
- Develop a sustainable exercise regimen
As you’re working toward a fitter body and stronger erections, the doctor may also prescribe medications that help alleviate ED. If these measures don’t work for you, he may recommend surgery, such as implanting an inflatable penis prosthesis.
Get help with your weight and improve your ED by contacting us today. Call our helpful and knowledgeable team at 702-470-2579, or book online.