Erectile Dysfunction

Is low testosterone responsible for ED?

It is common for most men to suffer from erectile dysfunction at least once in their lifetime. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and maintain a firm erection in order to have an intercourse.

Many men hold a belief that a low amount of testosterone might be the reason for their erectile dysfunction. It is true that the testosterone levels dwindle in men after the age of 50 and that is commonly the age when men start to face problems with having an erection. However, the link between ED and low testosterone is complex and not very well understood.

The most common cause of erectile dysfunction is an impaired blood flow to the penile arteries. The reduced blood flow can be attributed to a number of conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and constriction of the arteries. There are several other possibilities too, like psychological problems, medical conditions, other drug interactions and surgeries.

Lower levels of testosterone can cause loss of a sexual desire but its exact effects on erection are uncertain. Some men have normal erections in spite of having low levels of testosterone while some men face erectile problems without having any testosterone imbalance.

However lower levels of testosterone can be indirectly responsible as it may give rise to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart diseases which can cause erectile dysfunction.

If your testosterone levels are within the normal levels, then the testosterone treatment will not improve your erectile problems. You will have to take a different approach to tackle your problem. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is often helpful for men with low testosterone but it can only enhance sex drive rather than treating erectile dysfunction. TRT can help with erectile dysfunction but when it is continued with the help of PDE5 inhibitor drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. These drugs help to increase the blood flow to penis. Even if there are improvements with TRT alone, research have shown that it is only effective for a shorter period of time. TRT is helpful only to extent that it can restore the sexual desire renewing the interest in sex.

When men with low testosterone are treated with TRT, it helps to treat erectile dysfunction by treating the diseases that can cause it in the first place like reducing obesity, increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering the risk for diabetes.

However, TRT has its negative effects as well. Therefore it is advisable to think twice before the testosterone treatment. It can cause the body to retain too much fluid. The side effects of TRT are acne, enlarged prostate, shrinkage of testicles and enlarged breasts. Some other side effects include decrease in fertility, heart problems and sleep apnea.

Your doctor may start TRT on a trial basis just to confirm if it helps with your erectile problems. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also contribute to a rise in testosterone levels in addition to TRT.

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