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Your body’s second-largest organ, the liver, is essential for survival. As food passes through your digestive system, the liver separates nutrients from waste in a process called metabolism.
It also produces bile, an alkaline fluid that removes toxins from your body. The liver also filters toxins and other harmful substances from your blood, maintaining the proper balance of chemical levels in your body.
While the liver performs many critical functions, it is also vulnerable to damage from a variety of causes, including viral infections, alcohol abuse, and—most notably—sexual dysfunction.
When the liver is damaged, it can lead to abdominal pain, swelling, itchy skin, nausea, and the production of darker urine color. In severe cases, it may lead to a condition called liver cirrhosis.
To add to that, around 1 in 10 Americans face some form of liver disease, ranging from chronic viral liver disease to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Impaired liver function can influence the index of erectile function and affect your health state. This makes treating it important to improve quality of life.
Let us delve deeper into liver health and its connection to sexual dysfunction.
Common Liver Diseases
Your liver may experience a slew of health problems that can lead to adverse health effects.
Some of the common liver diseases are:
- Hepatitis A: Caused by eating or drinking something with traces of fecal matter
- Hepatitis B: Usually due to exposure to infected example; for example, unprotected sex
- Hepatitis C: A Hepatitis C virus infection can cause liver inflammation
- Autoimmune hepatitis: The body’s cells attack the liver instead of pathogens and viruses
- Various cancers: Liver cancer, bile duct cancer, and liver cell adenoma all affect the liver
- Inheritable conditions: Hemochromatosis, Hyperoxaluria, and Wilson’s disease
You may face an increased risk of liver health problems like a chronic liver disease if you are obese, diabetic, or have cardiovascular disease. Additionally, those who frequently drink alcohol or use drugs face higher prevalence and risk factors compared to non-drinkers.
Untreated liver disease may lead to damaged liver tissues and, eventually, end-stage liver disease. In severe cases, orthotopic liver transplantation may be advised for people with chronic advanced liver disease. It’s best to consult your doctor if you suffer from any symptoms of liver disease.
Typical Conditions Found in Liver Diseases and Sexual Dysfunction
Can liver problems cause erectile dysfunction? Yes, it can.
Erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism have both been linked to men’s impaired liver function over time. In fact,about two‐thirds of male patients with cirrhosis develop some form of erectile dysfunction.
One leading cause of sexual impairment due to liver problems is damage to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This impairs the normal production of luteinizing hormones in the body, causing impairment in various sexual processes, such as decreased adrenal efficiency and a lower self-reported score in the international index of erectile function.
On top of that, there is also a strong association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and impaired erectile function, including erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, and infertility.
In one study, 45.8% of the investigated patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were affected by ED.
It has also been observed that alcohol abuse impacts hormone levels. Alcohol can scar liver tissue and lead to the development of various hormonal imbalances, including decreased testosterone levels.
This can cause a domino effect of potential health conditions, including:
- Decreased libido
Liver diseases and cirrhosis-related sexual dysfunction are prominent conditions, but it’s often underestimated, ignored, or overlooked. Getting in touch with a sexual health doctor is essential to improving your sexual functioning.
How Liver Problems Affect Sexual Function
Liver problems and sexual function are heavily linked. A study shows that erectile dysfunction tends to increase in relation to the severity of liver disease. Cirrhosis is directly related to this process as it irreversibly scars liver tissue.
One study shows that ED is more common in people with hepatitis C-induced liver cirrhosis than in those with chronic hepatitis B infection. This is related to scarring of liver tissue.
According to one published study, worsening ED caused by advanced chronic liver disease may be due to lower testosterone levels.
Moreover, patients with liver dysfunction retain excess sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and less albumin, which results in decreased free testosterone levels. Low testosterone can cause sexual and physical risk factors like reduced sex drive and obesity in your body.
The medications you take to treat liver disease may also come with side effects that can affect health-related quality in males. The opposite is also true.
Keeping Your Liver Healthy
One of the best ways to avoid being one of many liver transplant patients and to be free from sexual dysfunction and liver problems is by taking proactive steps to take care of your body. While your liver has regenerative properties, it can’t sustain prolonged damage over time.
Some of the best ways to keep your liver healthy include the following:
Limiting Alcohol Consumption
Limiting your alcohol consumption can reduce scarring of your liver, preventing cirrhosis and its consequences. Not only that, but it also improves your lifestyle and keeps you energetic throughout the day.
If you add some exercise and a healthy diet, you can further improve your body’s general health state.
Preventing Hepatitis A, B, and C
Getting vaccinated against hepatitis can help your body fight off pathogens that may lead to undesirable consequences. Vaccines at birth are now standard for viral diseases such as hepatitis A and B, but if you’re not immunized, it’s important to get one right away.
In addition, practicing safe sex and having good hygiene practices are other safeguards to prevent contracting this disease.
Reviewing your Medication
Certain drugs and medications, along with alcohol, can damage your liver.
One of the main reasons why drug trials are stopped is due to their effect on the liver. Speak to your doctor to know whether your current medications are effective.
St. Louis’ Top Male Health Clinic Can Help Men to Improve Their Overall Sexual Health
If your liver is in a bad state, it may lead to sexual health complications, including erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, and liver failure.
Keeping your liver safe won’t always guarantee excellent sexual health, but it does reduce your chances of sexual dysfunction.
Speaking out about your sexual dysfunction can be challenging. If you need medical help, there are health centers with a wide range of experts that can help personally diagnose and evaluate your condition.
Working with experienced medical professionals like those at St. Louis male clinic Paramount Men’s Medical Center for a proper clinical evaluation leads to better outcomes for men with ED, PE, Low-T, and other sexual concerns. Give our team a call today to schedule your appointment.