Smoking is known to be a significant health concern around the world. Yet, millions of men and women continue to smoke cigarettes. You probably know that smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, and pregnancy complications. But did you know that smoking could also lead to erectile dysfunction?
A recent study suggests that men should quit smoking if they want bigger, quicker erections. Men who completed a smoking cessation program achieved maximum arousal five times faster than men who smoked. The researchers also found that non-smokers had thicker, more rigid erections. These findings were published in the British Journal of Urology International.
Sixty-five sexually active adult male smokers participated in the study. Each participant enrolled in an eight-week smoking cessation program that involved nicotine patches and counseling. The men were brought in for erectile testing on three separate occasions: at the beginning of the study, halfway through the program, and one month after the study ended. The researchers used a device called a penile plethysmograph to measure the circumference and firmness of the penis.
By the end of the study, thirty-one percent of the men had quit smoking. This group of men had larger erections and reached maximum arousal more quickly when compared to men who still smoked. The improvements only occurred in men who weren’t currently using nicotine patches. These results indicate that nicotine itself may contribute to erectile dysfunction symptoms.
Twenty percent of the participants had erection problems at the beginning of the study. By the end of the study, seventy-five percent in that group no longer experienced erectile dysfunction. Despite the positive changes, most of the men did not rate their sexual function much differently. The researchers believe that it can take time for men to notice changes in arousal, sexual function, and penile strength.
This study is not the first to find a link between smoking and sexual health. Doctors already know that smoking can damage blood vessels and hinder proper blood flow. This can result in erectile dysfunction due to decreased blood flow to the penis. Other studies have shown that improvements in cardiovascular health can help combat erection problems. Men with erectile dysfunction can benefit from lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure, losing weight, eating a health diet, and exercising.
The good news is that doctors can use this information to help men quit smoking. Many men don’t know that smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. Anti-smoking campaigns tend to focus on other health concerns like cancer and heart disease. But long-term negative health consequences may not be enough to motivate some male smokers. The promise of immediate sexual health improvements could provide the incentive they need to quit for good.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but help is available. If you’re a male smoker with erection problems, talk to you doctor about starting a smoking cessation program. If you quit now, it will benefit nearly every aspect of your health and help you perform better in the bedroom.