Why is stress management important to treat erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Stress often hits below the belt. To have an erection, both your body and your mind have to work together to create an erection. If your mind is otherwise occupied with worry, sadness, or anxiety -over everything from a recent job loss, money worries, relationship woes, even previous erectile dysfunction (ED) problems - your body can't perform by itself. Stress management techniques, whether it's meditation, regular exercise, or skills you learn in therapy, can help save your sex life.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) usually has a physical cause – a health condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or an endocrine (hormonal) disorder, or the medications that treat them. But in some cases a man’s difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection may be due to psychological factors. Stress is one of them.

Stress triggers a “fight or flight” response that affects every system in your body. For instance, stress causes a burst of adrenaline to be released into the blood stream that causes blood vessels to constrict (become narrower). When this happens there isn’t enough blood flow to the penis for an erection. Stress also contributes to high blood pressure, and some medications that lower blood pressure can cause ED.

Stress can also lead to anxiety and depression, which can diminish sexual desire and can cause erectile dysfunction. Many medications that treat anxiety and depression can also cause ED.

Stress management can teach you how to relax, so you can get in the mood for sex and can focus on your and your partner’s pleasure. If you think stress is interfering with your sex life, ask your doctor to recommend stress management techniques and resources. 

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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.