Can diuretics cause erectile dysfunction?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Diuretics work to lower your blood pressure by causing the body to eliminate excess fluid. By doing so, the actual volume of blood is decreased, which leads to a decrease in your blood pressure. Studies suggest that there is a high prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men taking diuretics for blood pressure, especially in the first few years of treatment. What is interesting is that after several years, the amount of men reporting ED who weren't taking diuretics almost matched those men who were taking diuretics. This suggests that the diuretic itself is not directly causing the ED, but the lowered blood volume is uncovering another existing problem with the blood vessels needed for an erection. These medications also lower zinc levels, which leads to a decrease in testosterone production and negatively affects sexual desire and performance. An example of diuretics are the thiazides.

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