We are all fully aware that stress is not good for our overall health. One of the most common underlying symptoms from chronic stress that you may be unaware of is erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is extremely common for men as they age. In fact, 1 in 4 men suffer from side effects related to ED that range from premature ejaculation to inability to maintain an erection.
One of the most typical reports from people who suffer from ED is that they are under a lot of stress. It makes sense. Life is full of stressors. Whether it be work, family, friends, or bills, there are always an insurmountable number of factors requiring your attention throughout the day. No wonder everyone is under a blanket of stress.
One way for men to cope with stress is to have an ejaculation. However, that becomes increasingly difficult as ED becomes more common. From there, ED and stress become co-dependent. Sex, which used to be a fun activity is now tainted by the stress of underperforming. This brings on more cases of ED, which then triggers more stress.
Here are 4 ways that stress is robbing you in the bedroom:
- Depletes Testosterone
Erections are like breathing. They are autonomous functions that male bodies create. Erections are controlled by two sections of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
Prior to sex, men get sexually aroused.
This triggers a variety of chemical changes throughout the body. First impulse is tension. Your body tenses up as the sexual desire hits the roof. Engaging in sex triggers a stress response, which results in the creation of a hormone called cortisol.
This hormone works as our body’s “fight-or-flight” response. Cortisol is sent out by your body to calm the system down. However, when there is too much cortisol being produced, it does more harm than good for the body.
When the cortisol production gets out of control, the parasympathetic system performs their duty. The responsibility of the parasympathetic system is to convey to the body to not feel stressed. Especially when it comes to sex, it reminds the sympathetic system that this sort of passion is a pleasurable act. This calms your body down, allowing an erection to take place.
If you suffer from ED, this is not the end result. Instead, the cortisol will outnumber the hormones being sent out by the parasympathetic system. When this happens, the cortisol’s flight instinct prevails, ending in a lack of an erection.
Chronic stress does a number on testosterone levels due to the high concentration of cortisol in the body. Cortisol facilitates the production of estrogen. In turn, males with high cortisol levels suffer from lower levels of testosterone.
- Causes a Gut
As a side effect of creating an abundance of estrogen is that the body distributes fat differently than those who tend to have more testosterone. That is why studies have found a direct link between those under high stress and increased weight in the gut area.
If the gut area is clogged with excess weight, the area beneath is going to pay the consequences. This area is the penis. That is why those with higher levels of fat have a harder time achieving an erection.
- Unclear Pathways in the Penis
As veins get clogged up by fat, blood is unable to flow throughout the body. This includes vital areas like the brain and penis. If the brain is not getting any messages to create testosterone, then it won’t release any into the system. On the other hand, if blood and oxygen isn’t getting into the penis, an erection cannot take place.
- High Levels of Noradrenaline
As we mentioned, when the body is under stress, it creates chemicals to help ease its worries. One is cortisol. Another is a neurotransmitter that goes by the name, noadrenaline (or norepinephrine). This an excitatory molecule. However, just an overactive child can be under immense amounts of stress, the same goes for excitatory molecules.
To achieve an erection, the gas nitric oxide needs to guide blood into the corpus cavernous inside in the male reproductive system. Recent studies have published that samples of blood extracted from the cavernous of young men contain low levels of noradrenaline. This confirms that the neurotransmitter can do harm to the reproductive system.
How to Reduce Stress
Stress is inevitable, which means ED may seem inevitable too. It’s not the actual battles of stress and ED that you need to worry about. It’s how you go about handling them.
ED may be embarrassing, but focus on the stress aspect first. Instead of buying pumps and pills, make a few changes to help your system cope with stress better. Try these three tips out for size:
- Catch Your Z’s
No one will deny that lack of sleep and stress go hand-in-hand. Just like when you have a cold, getting sleep is imperative to a full-functioning immune system. During our sleeping hours, our body repairs itself. That’s because our body is expending the least amount of energy possible during shut-eye. Our cells are free to work as strong and hard as needed to repair tissues and clean out dead cell debris.
When we are missing out on sleep, our immune system is too. It’s busy staying awake and fighting off everything that we come into counter with. This weakens the immune system and allows for inflammations to sprout up within the body. Inflammations are the precursor to many illnesses including ED and cancer.
Also, be sure to not use any tablets, smartphones, televisions, and computers at least an hour before bedtime. Our biological clock in the pineal gland gets thrown off by close proximity LED lights during a time of the day that should be dark. In turn, it doesn’t produce melatonin, the hormone necessary to regulate our sleep.
- Eat Better Foods
If your clogged arteries are causing ED, you need to look at what you are eating. What causes artery walls to thicken is a lifetime of foods containing artificial dyes, refined sugars, and high levels of cholesterol.
Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and fish will provide your body with the nutrients possible to flush out your arteries. Staying clear of processed foods and red meats will likely decrease your chances of contracting ED.
- Practice Mindfulness
Taking care of the body starts with taking care of the head. Just like you catch sleep to strengthen the body, you use meditation to strengthen the mind. Partaking in mindful practices such as meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, or going for walks in nature drastically drops stress levels.
As printed in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),
“After reviewing 18,753 citations, we included 47 trials with 3,513 participants. Mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety, depression, and pain.”
Meditation takes some getting used to. It is easy to get frustrated when you are beginning. Human minds tend to wander and become bored. So, ease yourself in the practice. Start on day one with a couple of minutes. Do it until you can’t. Then try again the next day. With time, you will naturally do more meditating and won’t even realize the time difference.
If you are having trouble getting into the swing of things, turn to a search engine. There are free guided meditations for all levels that come in many different timed intervals. It is easy to customize your guided meditation experience.