That smoking is bad for your health and can eventually kill you shouldn’t be news to you. It also hurts your wallet and is a nuisance to people around you. All of that should be reason enough to abandon this bad habit.
If you are worrying about your ability to get and maintain erections or if you already have noticed such difficulties, there’s yet another reason to consider quitting smoking. Research in recent decades has demonstrated again and again that long-term smokers are more likely to get erectile dysfunction (ED) than non-smokers. This is particularly true if you are a man in his 40s or older.
Smoking adversely affects cardiovascular health. It doesn’t matter whether you smoke cigarettes or vape or apply nicotine patches. It’s the nicotine that does most of the cardiovascular damage, as it causes blood vessels to repeatedly contract or narrow leading to permanent damage and blood flow irregularities. The more you smoke, the greater the damage. AEven smoking 1-4 cigarettes per day may have a negative impact on your health. In fact, your chances of developing ED, heart disease and other cardiovascular issues (not to mention lung cancer) significantly increases with any smoking.
In regards to ED, what happens is that once blood vessels in the penis are worn out, they can no longer accomodate blood in sufficient quantities. Your erection’s stiffness and duration critically depends on how much blood can be trapped inside penile veins and for how long. Damaged blood vessels no longer live up to their job and your penis doesn’t get as hard as you’d like.
By the way, long-term smoking can also damage the quantity and genetic quality of your sperm cells. If you still plan on having kids, that’s yet another reason to throw away your cigarettes or vapes.
That depends on how old you are and for how long you’ve been smoking or vaping. At least, if you give up tobacco now, the damage won’t get worse. You can then explore other lifestyle changes, such as exercise and healthy eating, to prevent ED or improve erectile function. A doctor can help you figure out what lifestyle changes may be of benefit.
Studies suggest If you are younger than 50 and experienced ED problems, there’s a greater than 50% chance that your erectile functioning will improve after you quit smoking. However, the older you are, the longer this recovery takes. For men aged 50 and older, there even can be an initial worsening of their ED right after they give up smoking. If that happens to you, it’s important to remain patient; it may take up to a year or longer before you notice any improvements.
The bad news is that this is that in cases of severe ED caused by vascular damage, stopping smoking may not yield any improvement. The blood vessels in this case are permanently damaged and will not recover.
In the case of such permanent physical damage, only medications may be able to improve erectile function. Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) are popular choices and have helped many men. They are oral medications which increase blood flow to the penis and thereby help you to get and keep erections. Depending on the drug, 50-80% of users notice some improvement. Of course, these drugs only increase the blood flow; you still need to be sexually aroused in order for your brain to trigger the erection.
Each medication acts differently in terms of strength, duration of action and potential side effects. Talk to a doctor to learn more about medical help for ED, and which drug may work best for you.
Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 12/06/21
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