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Alcohol misuse – heavy drinking ruined my sex life

Can alcohol abuse really cause erectile dysfunction? The answer is yes. The evidence from studies carried out in different countries across the globe is overwhelming: there is a clear and definite correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and erectile dysfunction. But what men worldwide are not so clear on is why heavy drinking can harm their sexual performance.

“There are, in fact, numerous interrelated reasons why erectile dysfunction commonly occurs through regularly misusing alcohol” Thomas* explains. “Knowing what I know now (post-rehab), I would never have misused alcohol so flagrantly.”

You are what you eat (and drink!)

Men whose regular alcohol consumption level is high, may also maintain a poor diet. Lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet consisting of processed foods and sugary snacks is bad for the heart. As erectile dysfunction is all about blood flow, neglecting your heart can lead to problems.

Erectile dysfunction – is it all in the mind?

As the heart plays such a central role in sexual performance, erectile dysfunction isn’t all in the mind. However, if blood flow to the brain is interrupted, then the parts of the brain that influence sexual response and physiological reactions to stimuli will not function as they should, almost inevitably resulting in erection problems.

“When I was offered a prestigious job I was thrilled,” says Thomas. “I fitted in well at work and made new friends. What I didn’t bargain on was the after-hours drinking culture that sort of came with the job. When I first joined the company, I was a moderate drinker, at the most. But by the end of my first year, I was seriously abusing alcohol. It is a miracle I even made it into work most days, to be quite honest.”

So where does erectile dysfunction come into all this?

How soon after moving from being a moderate drinker to an alcoholic did Thomas begin to notice alcohol’s detrimental effect on his sexual performance?

“Very quickly” Thomas explains. “Also, my job had quite a ‘macho’ environment. To even raise the subject of erectile dysfunction and alcohol worries with anyone at work was unthinkable. Although – with so many of the team drinking every night like there was no tomorrow – I am certain that I was not the only person in the office struggling with what is an intensely personal issue.”

What to do if erectile dysfunction is ruining your relationship

If you abuse alcohol, and are concerned about your drinking’s impact on sexual function, the smartest thing you can do is to stop drinking altogether. The best way to do that is to seek professional help for alcoholism. In the meantime, there are a number of steps that you can take:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Strive to sustain a good work/life balance
  • Try to avoid stress (at work and at home)
  • Don’t let anyone tell you that erectile dysfunction is “to be expected, as you age”. This is not always true
  • And finally – reduce your alcohol intake and get help now

*All names have been changed.

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