Erectile Dysfunction Risk Factors: Alcohol Abuse and Smoking

Erectile Dysfunction Risk Factors

What is the link between potency and alcohol?

Potency is the body’s ability to perform a sexual act. This term usually refers to male sexuality. And impotence (inability to achieve and maintain erection necessary for sexual contact) is caused either by physical or psychological reasons. However, in many cases both of these factors are involved.

But “sexual weakness” can be explained by other reasons. These include:

  • excessive alcohol consumption;
  • smoking;
  • excessive physical exercise, for example, cycling;
  • recreational drugs, such as cocaine;
  • fatigue and stress;
  • abdominal surgery, for example, prostate surgery;
  • environmental factors, such as pesticides.

Many people believe that potency and alcohol are related, because the latter is an aphrodisiac. Nevertheless, regular use of alcohol reduces the level of testosterone and can actually reduce sex drive to zero.

Alcohol can cause erectile problems in men, while in women it can reduce the release of lubricant and prevent the onset of orgasm.

If you drink alcohol rarely, then it will not cause harm to health, but alcohol abuse will negatively affect erection. It can also damage the nerves in the penis, which are responsible for erection. This condition is known as “alcohol impotence“.

Another problem with potency and alcohol is that excessive libation is often accompanied by smoking, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. These factors also cause impotence.

How does alcohol affect potency?

Most men experience erectile problems from time to time. However, these unpleasant “failures” disappear on their own, unlike impotence (erectile dysfunction). Impotence has several causes, including alcohol consumption.

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How does alcohol affect potency and general health?

Alcohol is able to block nerve impulses through which the brain and body exchange “messages”. That’s why drunken people have slurred speech, emotional flashes and difficulty walking. But even a small amount of alcohol affects the nervous system, causing slower reflexes and blurred thinking.

Moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 glasses of any alcohol per day) can actually improve the health of the cardiovascular system.

Excessive use of alcohol can lead to scarring on the liver, symptoms of hypertension, an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

Canadian Family Pharmacy tried to estimate the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in a clinical sample of patients with alcohol dependence.

The researchers tried to fond out how alcohol affects potency, and they studied 100 men with “alcohol dependence syndrome”.

The results were the following:

72% of men reported one or more cases of sexual dysfunction with the most common signs:

  • premature ejaculation;
  • decreased sexual desire;
  • weak erection.

At the same time, the amount of alcohol turned out to be the most significant predictor of sexual dysfunction.

Chronic and persistent use of alcohol causes problems with potency, which decreases self-esteem and causes interpersonal problems. This, in turn, pushes the alcoholic on new binges. That’s why a person who abuses alcohol and suffers from impotence needs help not only in the form of medicines, but also advice of a psychologist and a sexologist.

How smoking affects male potency

How smoking affects male potency

Nicotine is a very potent vasoconstrictor, which affects the blood vessels in two ways:

  • As a stimulant, smoking promotes spasm, affects the arteries of the heart, lungs, eyes, internal organs, hands, legs and, of course, the genitals;
  • It damages the walls of the blood vessels, worsens their ability to relax.
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How does smoking affect potency? In simple terms, it leads to a decrease in the blood flow needed for erection and inability to prevent reverse blood flow.

Nicotine is a powerful and fast constrictor of blood vessels, but it has an immediate effect on the genital bloodstream.

Doppler ultrasound showed that deeper arteries supplying blood to the penis respond immediately to cigarette smoke.

As smoking affects potency and general health of the body, the damage caused by nicotine and certain other components of smoke increases over time to a “point of no return”.

Some of these components include:

  • nicotine;
  • carbon monoxide;
  • isoprene;
  • acetaldehyde.

Under the influence of these substances, the blood vessels can not completely relax in response to sexual stimulation.

Does smoking affect potency and quality of sperm?

In heavy smokers, the number and motility of spermatozoa decreases, in addition, smoking can damage their structure.

Canadian Family Pharmacy believes that the motility of spermatozoa decreases faster in men who smoke a lot, compared with non-smokers.

For those men who come to the examination for infertility, doctors recommend first of all to quit smoking.

However, no differences were found in the hormonal balance of smokers and non-smokers.

Does smoking affect potency? Yes, nicotine can worsen the quality of erection.

Thus, men were asked to smoke three cigarettes (with a nicotine content of 0.9 mg per cigarette) for half an hour.

And their erection worsened compared to people in the group who smoked cigarettes with nicotine content of only 0.002 mg per cigarette and with a group that did not smoke at all.

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Canadian Family Pharmacy believes that this is caused by the penetration of nicotine into the vascular system through the autonomic nervous system and a decrease in blood flow. So the answer to the question “does smoking affect potency?” is “yes, smoking worsens potency“.


Heavy smokers get plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis) more often. They prevent the normal flow of blood through the vessels, causing a variety of circulatory problems throughout the body, such as erectile dysfunction.

The researchers studied men, whose average age was 47 years. The goal was to analyze the information on smoking and the quality of sexual relations.

The results of the study were the following:

In men who daily smoked more than 20 cigarettes, the risk of impotence was 65% higher than for men who had never smoked.

  • 15% of present smokers experience erectile dysfunction;
  • Men who have previously smoked are about 30% more likely to suffer from impotence than non-smokers;
  • Among men who never smoked, only 12% had problems with erection.

Excessive smoking and impotence often go hand in hand. However, most people know that smoking seriously damages health. The effect of smoking on potency is only one of the harmful effects of nicotine consumption. But, perhaps, for someone it will be the decisive reason for quitting the bad habit.