Can STDs Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

By The Rex MD Editorial Team

March 18, 2021

Erectile dysfunction is not a new challenge for men, but great treatments are still relatively new. The inability to get an erection has been a problem for men around the world for hundreds of years, and the physiology behind getting an erection is quite complex, involving the function of many different bodily systems to work properly. That's partly why it wasn't until the late '90s that a quality, effective medication was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration – Viagra®.

A perplexing problem that's still being analyzed to this day are the possible causes of erectile dysfunction. There's good evidence to suggest that living a healthy lifestyle, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking can all decrease the likelihood of getting ED. These are commonly known ways to decrease the chances of ED, and there is continual research into other factors that could play a role in the development of erectile dysfunction. 

One cause of ED that people want to know more about are the effects of sexually transmitted infections on the development of ED. 

So, can STDs cause ED? If you're wondering which variants can cause ED, as well as how ED and STDs are treated, you're in the right place to ensure that you're doing everything in your power to limit the chances of sexual dysfunction. 

What Are STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transferred infec tions (STIs) are interchangeable terms for a group of conditions that are brought on by bacteria or viral infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact. STDs have a certain level of stigma behind them, of course, but they happen. Thankfully, these days there's nothing to be ashamed of. 

The category of sexually transmitted diseases encompasses many different infections ranging from viral to bacterial. The common theme from STD to STD is that they all affect the genitalia and are spread through sexual contact. STDs affect both men and women and are an important factor in maintaining public health. 

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic isn't the only pandemic that's occurred in the last 100 years – it's just affected us all. The HIV/AIDS pandemic caused great alarm for globally as it ravaged countries everywhere. When first discovered, HIV/AIDS was a topic that struck fear, as very little was known (including how it was transmitted) and there was no available treatment, much like the situation with COVID-19. While HIV/AIDS is nowhere near as infectious as COVID-19, it does show that public opinion of the sexual nature of the disease served to tamper its reach and scope. The transmission of HIV is still occurring and according to HIV.gov, nearly 1.2 million people in the US have HIV today.

STDs are like any other infection in the human body. If you detect and treat it early enough, you'll most likely have fewer complications. The longer you wait, the more problems you can expect to have. 

What is Erectile Dysfunction and What Causes it?

Erectile dysfunction, unlike an STD, is not infectious, and is simply the inability to get or maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction can be thought of as any other ailment that reduces the effectiveness or ability to carry out a specific function. 

An erection is an involved process that needs the brain, hormones, circulatory system, prostate, and genitals to work together simultaneously. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a disruption in any one of these systems. Having poor circulatory health, hormones imbalances, or an inflamed prostate can all cause ED. 

While these are what directly cause ED, unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead to the development of these problems and possibly the development of ED. Natural ways to prevent ED include regular exercise, healthy eating, and ensuring you're living a healthy lifestyle. 

How Can STDs Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

At this point you are most likely wondering if and how an STD can impact your ability to get an erection. The answer is that certain STDs can infect the prostate, a part of the male reproductive system, which can lead to ED. 

The prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. It effectively surrounds the urethra, located between the bladder and the penis. The positioning of the prostate plays a significant role in its function to close off the urine flow during sexual intercourse. Additionally, the prostate plays a role in the production of seminal fluid that supports sperm motility. 

STDs typically enter the body through the urethra of the penis. Because of this, it isn’t uncommon for the prostate to become infected when you have an STD. An inflamed prostate can cause pain during, before, and after sexual activity and even can create a difficulty urinating. It is widely thought that the prostatitis induced pain to the region is what is to blame for erectile dysfunction associated with an STD. 

What STDs Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?

It's important to note that not all STDs are the same and that each has its own symptoms associated with it. 

That being said, there are two main STDs that tend to cause prostatitis: chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both STDs are bacterial, which makes sense as bacteria are mobile and readily move around within a space.

If you think of the urethra as a highway, your prostate is a nice convenient rest stop for bacteria traveling along urethra highway 1. Not only is it convenient, but the prostate seminal fluid production makes it an easy target for infection. 

How Are STDs Treated?

The best way to avoid prostatitis and associated pain and sexual dysfunction is to treat it as quickly as possible. If you are in a higher risk bracket for getting an STD, you should ensure that you are getting regular STD tests. Doing so can save you money on costly treatments and ensure that you aren’t spreading STDs to any sexual partner. 

When caught early, many bacterial STDs can effectively be treated with a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics work by selectively targeting bacteria within the body and killing or inoculating them in some way. Viral concerns like HIV, however, have no cure. Antiviral medications however can effectively suppress the HIV virus to undetectable levels. 

How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

There are many treatments available for erectile dysfunction, and the type of treatment depends on the causative agent of the dysfunction. 

For the vast majority of erectile dysfunction cases, ED medications work wonders to help restore erectile function. ED medications include Viagra®, Cialis®, and Levitra®. While these medications all work by the same mechanism of action, called PDE5 inhibition, the chemical makeup of each medication differs slightly. Because of these differences, some people may find that one medication works better than another, and vice versa. 

When ED medications aren’t helpful, there are other options available. One of those options is to utilize a penis pump. A penis pump works by placing a vacuum chamber over the shaft of the penis and evacuating air from the chamber. The negative pressure induced around the penis causes blood to travel to the penis. The accumulation of blood in the shaft effectively causes an erection and, once removed, the individual can generally maintain the erection throughout sex. 

The last treatments available are surgery and injections. Injections work by providing a vasodilator directly where you need it. Surgical remedies are typically a last resort, but some men opt for them for the ability to have an erection without being tied down to a prescription. Surgery for ED typically involves the addition of an inflatable implant into the penis. A reservoir is implanted in the testicles. When healed, the implant allows the patient to get an erection whenever they please though inflating or depleting the implant using the reservoir in the scrotum.

Can Prostate Damage Be Reversed?

If you are unfortunate enough to endure prostatitis, it can be a difficult road to recovery as many different daily functions like urination can become painful. Luckily, an enlarged prostate due to infection will normally resolve itself once the infection has been treated with antibiotics. 

Conditions like Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) can also result in an enlarged prostate. In this situation BPH can be managed through medications, one of which includes Cialis®. These medications can reduce the size of the prostate and allow you to live a more normal, pain- and discomfort-free life. 

STDs can cause erectile dysfunction, particularly if they cause prostatitis. The infection itself is typically not the culprit of the ED, but rather the inflammation, pain, and discomfort experienced in the genital and prostatic region.

STDs are not the only cause of ED, and this common happening has a variety of both physical and even psychological causes. Thankfully, twenty years of patient experience have shown us that popular, standard treatment options  like Viagra®, Cialis®, and Levitra® work well for most guys dealing with ED. Rex MD offers all of these medications at competitive prices, prescribed online and with the help of a licensed physician. 

Sources

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000519.htm#:~:text=Infections%20spread%20through%20sexual%20contact,These%20include%20chlamydia%20and%20gonorrhea.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5531a1.htm

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics

https://rexmd.com/learn/penis-pumps-right-for-you

https://journals.lww.com/co-urology/Abstract/2005/11000/Sexual_dysfunction_in_the_patient_with_prostatitis.9.aspx

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/erectile-dysfunction-solutions

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370093




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Disclaimer : This article is for information only and should not be considered medical advice. Always speak with your doctor about your health and the benefits or risks of any treatment or intervention. This information should not be relied on as a substitute for professional medical advice.