Can Being Overweight Affect A Man's Sex Drive?

Erectile dysfunction occurs when a man is unable to maintain or achieve an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction has several causes, most of which are diseases that directly affect vascular function, such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

Obese men are more likely to have these diseases and experience erectile dysfunction. Being slightly overweight, carrying around just a few extra pounds, will most likely not cause erectile dysfunction, but being overweight can pave the way to obesity.

Obesity--excess body fat and a Body Mass Index (Weight in pounds multiplied by 703, then divide by your height squared in inches) over 30--can cause significant health problems and directly contributes to erectile dysfunction.

How Obesity Affects the Body

From a metabolic standpoint, obesity contributes to diabetes by affecting the way the body processes sugar. Additionally, obese people tend to have high cholesterol and are more prone to hypertension and heart disease.

From a quality-of-life standpoint, obesity contributes to sleep disturbances, snoring and, in severe cases, sleep apnea(sleep disorder), all of which can lead to daytime fatigue and depression.

Obese people may also experience excessive sweating, overheating and frequent rashes in the folds of the skin.

Excess weight also puts strain on the joints and may lead to knee, ankle and back pain. Obesity also increases the risk of some cancers, gall bladder disease and stroke.

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How Obesity Affects Erectile Dysfunction

Obesity can directly affect erectile dysfunction by lowering testosterone levels. Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men, and it plays an important role in both libido (sexual desire) and sexual function. Indirectly, obesity contributes to other diseases, such as hypertension, that are known factors in erectile dysfunction.

The penis needs a sufficient supply of blood in order to become erect. Once engorged with blood, the vessels need to close in order to maintain the erection. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease all contribute to erectile dysfunction by adversely damaging and compress blood vessels  affecting the way blood flows in and out of the penis.

It is possible to reverse the effects of obesity and obesity-related diseases with diet, exercise and, in some cases, drug intervention. Obese men with health issues should consult with their physicians before attempting any diet, exercise or weight-loss program.

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