Can metabolic syndrome cause erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

It sure can. Metabolic syndrome is a rather clunky term for a really common condition that can shorten your life. Before it does that, it can shorten your sex life by causing erectile dysfunction (ED). Metabolic syndrome is a combo of several risk factors for heart disease and diabetes that come together to be even more powerful. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, even through your total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels may be normal! Metabolic syndrome happens to men if you have three or more of these conditions:

- A waist that’s larger than 40 inches

- Triglycerides (blood fats) over 150 mg/dL

- “Good” HDL cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL

- Blood pressure over 130/87 mm Hg

- Fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dL

So, you are probably thinking: “What does this have to do with ED?” It’s all about your arteries. Along with delivering blood to your heart, the arteries provide blood to your penis when you are sexually aroused. Metabolic syndrome can damage the inner lining of your arteries, so blood doesn’t flow so easily. The good news is that losing weight, exercising more, and eating better can not only help you get rid of your metabolic syndrome, but can lower your risk of ED, too.


Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Guys who actually have Metabolic syndrome are all too aware that the condition can cause erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get and maintain an erection during sex. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors—high blood pressure, high sugar levels, belly fat, and other warning signs—that creates a perfect storm for developing cardiovascular disease. Put all these warning signs together and chances are blood flow is poor throughout the body and especially down under. You don't have to sit there and take it, though. Talk with your doctor about ways to improve  metabolic syndrome.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.