Erectile Dysfunction

How Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction are Related?

Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction

Social taboo is an indispensable phenomenon when it comes to sexual problems. Millions of men are suffering from various sexual problems across the globe, and yet only a few of them turn up for a correct diagnosis and avail the right treatment. 

What is Erectile Dysfunction? 

Erectile Dysfunction or ED, is one sexual problem, where men frequently or routinely have difficulty in achieving or/and maintaining an erection that is firm enough for sex.

How does Erectile Dysfunction occur?

On being sexually stimulated, a male body releases chemicals that cause blood to flow into the soft muscles or tissues in the penis. The blood pressure firms the penis and it erects for intercourse or sexual pleasure. Once the ejaculation is done, the blood flows back into the man’s circulatory system, and the erection subsides. Hence, limited or inadequate blood flow to the penis may be a big hurdle in the way of successful intercourse or ejaculation or optimum sexual pleasure. 

Prominent factors for reducing blood flow to the Penis

  • Atherosclerosis or blockage of the arteries 
  • Heart disease 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking various tobacco products
  • Nerve damage around the genital area 
  • Cancer treatments 
  • Mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

How does Smoking cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Smoking can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Men who smoke are about twice as likely to develop ED as nonsmokers. 

Smoking hampers circulation to all areas of the body, including the genitals, making it tougher to get and keep an erection. 

Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products can damage the circulatory system, making it harder for blood to reach the penis and create an erection. 

Smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict significantly. This reduces the blood’s ability to move around the body, including into the penis.

Tobacco smoke contains at least 250 harmful chemicals, and at least 69 of them are carcinogenic in nature. Hence it increases a person’s chances of developing health conditions that can cause ED, like the ones mentioned below:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure

How long after quitting does Erectile Dysfunction improve?

Quitting smoking does reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction in men to a considerable extent. However, doctors are not sure as to how quickly quitting smoking can be effective in improving the symptoms of ED. While many men do see a difference in five to six months’ time; a lot of other factors are required to be considered, as mentioned below: 

  • For how long has the person been smoking 
  • How much they smoked regularly (number of cigarettes smoked fully and on a shared basis)
  • The frequency at which they smoked regularly
  • Whether they are already suffering from any other health condition, like heart disease, diabetes, and so on

However, it is quite possible that some smokers with severe ED may never again regain their normal erectile functioning, even after quitting their smoking habit. They may require medication and other treatments for ED.

Does chewing gum help stop Smoking?

One should try to have some kind of munchies in order to resist tobacco cravings. Chewing sugarless gum or hard candy might be helpful for that matter, or one might also go for healthier options like raw dry fruits, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. 

However, chewing gum containing nicotine should be strictly avoided in this matter. Remember, you need to quit tobacco altogether. Alternating a cigarette with chewing gum would not really help you in any way; if it contains harmful tobacco ingredients or nicotine. 

What to do when you have the urge to smoke again?

There might be some withdrawal symptoms, but they might just last for less than two weeks. Also, there will also be some difficult urges that one will successfully deal with; in case he follows the tips mentioned below:

  • Remind yourself that your health cannot afford it anymore, and distract yourself.
  • Bring some changes to your daily routines and avoid people or situations who/that make you want to smoke.
  • Do some sort of relaxing activities in order to reduce stress.
  • Do regular exercises. 
  • Make yourself spend more time in no-smoking zones.
  • Keep plenty of low-calorie snacks handy so that you may munch them whenever feeling the urge to smoke 
  • Remind yourself of the benefits of no smoking, including improved sexual life.
  • If needed, ask for help from family, friends, and co-workers.

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