At this point, we all should be acutely aware of the impacts high blood pressure can have on our lives.
For decades men have been warned of the potential health disasters caused by hypertension, including the risk of a heart attack or stroke, aneurysms, or even dementia caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.
However, one additional complication that isn’t necessarily as widely known is erectile dysfunction.
That’s right, hypertension can also manifest itself in the bedroom. There is actually a close relationship between high blood pressure and ED—so close in fact, that the latter can be one of the first signs of the former. Men with high blood pressure are actually up to twice as likely to experience ED as those without.
The reason why is simple human biology; erections require easy blood flow. Hypertension doesn’t allow the walls of your arteries to relax as they should, preventing the required amount of blood flow to achieve and maintain a firm erection.
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end there. Certain medications to treat hypertension have also been linked to ED. In fact, medications could be the culprit behind as much as 25% of ED cases.
So, does this mean you have to choose between your health and maintaining an active sex life? Not at all. Only certain drugs meant to lower your blood pressure have shown strong ties to bouts of ED, and regardless of whether your ED stems from hypertension itself—or your recommended prescription—there are treatment options available.
Which Blood Pressure Medications Do Not Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
First, let’s be clear about which potential medications have shown no, or very little evidence of being associated with erectile dysfunction.
1. ACE Inhibitors
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are popular medications used to help lower blood pressure levels. In essence, they block the creation of the angiotensin II enzyme. Some of the most popular of this category are:
Angiotensin II receptor blockers are not the same thing as ACE inhibitors. Rather than decreasing the enzyme, these blockers prevent the receptors from processing it and raising blood pressure. Some of the more common examples of ARBs include:
3. Calcium Channel Blockers
These drugs are self-explanatory in nature, and block calcium from reaching the muscle cells of our arteries, thus allowing them to relax and open. Popular Calcium Channel Blockers consist of:
Which Blood Pressure Medications Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
On the other hand, there is research to suggest that other commonly-prescribed hypertension medications can cause ED.
There are two main culprits here, and if your physician recommends either one as treatment for your high blood pressure, plan on having a more in-depth conversation about any concerns you have over resulting ED.
The first group of medications are Beta blockers. These tend to be recommended when other previous medications haven’t done enough to lower your blood pressure to the desired level. Beta blockers do as their name suggests, and attach themselves to beta receptors throughout the body, resulting in your heart pumping a decreased amount of blood through your body.
As can be assumed from our brief science refresher above, less available blood makes achieving an erection more difficult.
With the lone exception of nebivolol, the following Beta blockers have been linked to increased instances of ED in men:
The second group of culprits are Diuretics. These work to decrease the amounts of sodium and water in our bodies, resulting in lower blood pressure. Though generally both safe and effective, Diuretics do carry well documented side effects—including erectile dysfunction. The most popular of this class of drugs is Hydrochlorothiazide.
It’s important to note however that the jury is still somewhat out on whether Beta blockers and Diuretics directly cause ED, or whether the resulting ED is largely psychological. It’s possible that the onset of new medications can have us preoccupied with our health, or even expectant of the side effects that we were cautioned about.
In any case, men should always consult with their doctors both before being prescribed any medication, and after they experience side effects of any sort. When it comes to ED, a medical professional may be able to swap out the offending treatment with a different one.
Men should also be aware of alternative treatments for ED, including new innovative technology like acoustic wave therapy and testosterone therapy. Finally, incorporating more healthy habits into our normal routines will go a long way toward achieving an overall state of wellness and fighting ED and other sexual dysfunctions.
Consult The Sexual Health Experts in St. Louis for an ED Consultation
We believe you can have great sex again, and are available to advise men of any age on how they can improve their lives and relationships. Contact us today to book your consultation.