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Man drinking a glass of water.

Does Dehydration Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Water is vital to your health, including your sexual health.

Dehydration is dangerous. Under a hot sun, you can lose up to 1.5 quarts of water an hour, which can lead to dizziness, rapid heart beat, rapid breathing, fatigue, and worse. And whether you realize it or not, it can also have an impact on your sexual health. Read on to learn about how dehydration is linked to erectile dysfunction (ED).

The Facts on Dehydration

Humans generally need between 2.5 and 3.5 liters of water per day, depending on their size and activity level.

Depending on what you eat, you get between 25% to 35% of your water from food, with vegetables and fruit being the most hydrating.

As we age, hydration becomes more difficult as we begin to lose a sense of thirst, though the cause is not clear. The simplest way to track your hydration level is by examining the color of your urine. The clearer it is, the more hydrated you are.

  • Clear urine: You’re hydrated.
  • Pale yellow or straw-colored: You’re likely okay.
  • Extremely dark yellow or orange-colored urine: This is concerning. Contact a doctor immediately.

Dehydration and Erectile Dysfunction

Man drinking from a water bottle outside.

There’s yet to be any direct link found between dehydration and specific sexual health symptoms. However, dehydration can be an aggravating factor in a number of diseases directly linked to sexual health concerns, such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

Hypertension: Your blood pressure is directly related to the amount of water in your body. The less water your body has to work with, the harder your body has to work to deliver blood. When the body is dehydrated, it takes more work to do its job, including secreting vasopressin, which narrows the blood vessels and makes it easier to pump blood. However, this can also reduce blood flow to the penis, and may either aggravate or indirectly cause ED symptoms.

Heart Disease: The harder the heart has to work to pump blood, the more heart disease patients should be concerned. While the possible risks of dehydration on heart disease remain unclear, putting any unnecessary strain on the cardiovascular system should be avoided.

Diabetes: High blood sugar can limit the production of nitric oxide in the body, which helps men achieve erections. Dehydration is a particular problem for diabetics, and evidence is mounting that it can cause blood sugar problems.

Hydration as a Lifestyle Modification

Men with ED have likely heard from their healthcare providers about the importance of making lifestyle changes to improve their health and ED symptoms. Don’t forget to make a proper hydration regimen one of them.

  • Carry water with you throughout the day. Need an incentive? Buy a water bottle that you like to motivate you.
  • Alternate other beverages with water. Have a coffee or soft drink? Alternate these drinks with a glass of water in between.
  • Make sure to carry water with you when engaging in physical activity.
  • Eat your water too. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables to your diet, since they contain a lot of water.

Incorporating enough water but still struggling with ED? Check out eDrugstore.com for prescription medications like Viagra.

Dan is a long-time freelance writer focusing on technology, science, health, and medicine, with a lifelong interest in physics, biology, and medicine. His work has taken a particular focus on scientific studies "beyond the headlines," reading the study to more closely examine the results.