Some days you just wake up feeling absolutely exhausted. Getting up in the morning becomes excruciatingly difficult, your body fails to cooperate with you, and you’re stifling a never-ending stream of colds.
You might also experience a scratchy throat, digestive problems, and a fever. You drag yourself to work and hope that you can make it through the day without passing out from fatigue. But deep inside you know that all you want to do is go home, curl up in bed, and sleep the sickness away.
Eventually, your body starts to recover slowly but surely. Your energy levels start to pick up and you no longer feel like you’re about to keel over from exhaustion. But even after you’re feeling better, there’s one symptom that just won’t go away: erectile dysfunction (ED).
It’s common for men to experience ED after they’ve been sick. In fact, research suggests that some types of illnesses like the ever-looming COVID-19 can lead to ED. But why does this happen?
Let’s look at the ways being sick can lead to erectile dysfunction, the causes and symptoms of ED, and what you can do to treat it.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
To understand why ED tends to manifest after a sickness spell, it would be beneficial to first understand what it is and the mechanisms that underlie it.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual health problem that affects millions of men across the globe. In the US alone, it affects over 50% of people over the age of 40. It’s marked by a notable inability to achieve or keep the male genitalia in an erect state suitable for sexual intercourse.
For a healthy erection to occur, two things have to take place:
- Upon sexual stimulation, the brain signals nerves to transport blood to the penis.
- The erectile tissues absorb the blood, while the blood vessels simultaneously constrict preventing leakage.
If there are problems in either of these mechanisms, an erection may not be able to form. There are many potential reasons as to why this may occur, but regardless of their origins, they’re all considered a form of erectile dysfunction.
What Causes ED?
ED can be mild to severe as it varies on a case-to-case basis. The causes of ED are multifactorial since achieving an erection in the first place requires a complex interaction between various bodily systems. In particular, the brain, adrenal glands, nervous system, heart, and blood vessels all play a key role in erection formation.
In addition, poor overall health can also be a risk factor for worsening reproductive health.
Some examples of diseases that can directly or indirectly lead to ED include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Prostate cancer or inflammation
This list is not exhaustive. If you are suffering from a medical condition and want to get proper medical attention from a doctor, get in touch with a local ED doctor in Jacksonville to reverse erectile dysfunction.
What Happens When You Get Sick?
The first symptom that usually occurs when you get sick is that your body temperature goes up. Blood vessels dilate and distribute more blood away from lower-priority regions of the body and into the affected area. The higher temperature speeds up cellular activity and produces interferon, helping your body fight off illnesses at a faster rate.
The higher body temperature also makes it difficult for bacteria and viruses to thrive, aiding the immune system in its attempt to quash these foreign invaders.
In addition, cortisol levels rise in the body during periods of illness. This is because cortisol is released in response to stress, and being sick can be quite stressful for the body. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, which is why stressed people tend to get sick more often.
When the sickness is over, organs and blood vessels may return to their original state and function. But there’s no guarantee that everything will go back to exactly the way it was before. In some cases, the changes brought about by an illness can be permanent, particularly if the underlying cause is a chronic condition.
ED and Sickness: The Connection
Now that we know the causes of ED and what happens to the body when you get sick, it’s easier to understand how the two are connected.
If you’ve been ill for an extended period, your body has likely undergone some internal deterioration that damages your organs. This damage can be severe to the point that it induces a change in your erectile function. These changes can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of your illness.
For example, a viral infection could cause permanent damage to the muscles lining up your blood vessels. This adds strain when pumping blood to the erectile organs. In some cases, patients may experience a complete absence of an erection because of an insufficient blood supply.
Additionally, cortisol levels and ED are also inextricably linked. If your body is not relaxed and has too much cortisol flowing in your bloodstream, it’ll be harder to be in the mood to sustain an erection.
Treatment Plans for ED
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to treat erectile dysfunction, whether you’ve got it after a nasty bout of sickness or developed it because of an underlying health condition.
Here are some medical treatments for ED:
- Erectile dysfunction therapy: This therapy uses a combination of topical gels, creams, and oral medication to restore erectile function in a clinical setting
- Penile pumps: This is a vacuum device used to help men achieve an erection
- Acoustic wave therapy: A wand-like device is used to break plaque forming in blood vessels surrounding the erectile tissue, thereby increasing blood flow to the penis.
- Lifestyle improvements: You can play a more active part in managing ED by eating a better diet, exercising more often, focusing on your mental health, and managing stress.
Contact a doctor to schedule an appointment to find the most suitable ED treatment plan.
Contact Jacksonville’s Leading Men’s Clinic for an ED Diagnosis and Treatment
Being sick is frustrating to deal enough with, but developing sexual problems after can be the worst.
If you’re struggling with erectile difficulties, don’t lose hope. You can live an active sex life again by consulting with a doctor to help you in treating erectile dysfunction.
The medical professionals at Jacksonville’s Prime Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.