Can Weight Loss Treat ED?

June 04, 2021
4 mins

Roughly 50% of men over the age of 40 experience erectile dysfunction. 

At the same time, the obesity rate for men in American is a little over 40%. Several million men fall into both categories, and that's no coincidence.

There's a significant connection between the two conditions. Being overweight or obese is a critical risk factor for the development of erectile dysfunction. 

The most popular – and effective – way to treat erectile dysfunction is with prescription ED medications, but these won't cure underlying issues or prevent ED from happening again.

For significantly overweight guys, there's a good chance that weight loss can treat erectile dysfunction.

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What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the difficulty or inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. 

While there's no single, definitive cause of erectile dysfunction, there are many risk factors that increase the chances of it happening. Some of them are physical conditions and some are psychological – such as stress, depression, and anxiety. 

It’s normal to occasionally experience erectile dysfunction, but when it becomes more common or a regular occurrence, it may be time to talk to a doctor. 

Erectile dysfunction is most commonly associated with aging, and while older men are at a higher risk, it’s possible for young men to experience ED too. 

Some estimates suggest that the prevalence of ED is 10% for every decade of life; i.e. 30% of guys in their 30s will experience ED, and 60% of men in their 60s.

Since there's no singular cure for erectile dysfunction, you can only treat the symptoms and work to reduce risk factors or underlying conditions. 

For a long term solution, the best course is to identify and treat the root cause of your erectile dysfunction. 

What Does Weight Have to Do with Erectile Dysfunction?

No surprise, carrying extra weight around can have several negative effects on your overall health. 

Whether someone is overweight or not is typically measured through their body mass index or BMI. This numerical measurement of body composition or body fat is based on the height and weight of adults.

The optimal range is between an 18.5 and a 24.9 according to health experts. BMIs higher than 25 indicate an overweight composite and any number over 30 indicates obesity. 

Men with a BMI between 25 and 30 are one and a half times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than men with a BMI that’s in range for healthy men. Men with a BMI over 30 are three times as likely to develop ED.  

In addition, being overweight puts you at greater risk for developing the following conditions, all of which are known to contribute to ED:

Type 2 diabetes

Carrying around extra weight can lead to increased insulin resistance, and for this reason, obesity is considered a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Due to the nerve damage that often occurs as a result of diabetes, it's also considered a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction. In fact, men with type 2 diabetes are between two and three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. 

Within five to 10 years of the diagnosis, almost half of all diabetic men develop erectile dysfunction.  

Cardiovascular conditions

The more weight that the body carries, the more stress on the cardiovascular system. The heart works much harder in men dealing with obesity in order to pump blood to the extremities, and obese individuals require more blood to supply oxygen and essential nutrients throughout the body. 

Obese individuals also typically have higher cholesterol and atherogenesis, making blood flow even more difficult. 

All of these issues combine, leading to a dramatic increase in blood pressure – which is also a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction. 

Since erections require a strong and consistent flow of blood to the penis, anything that negatively impacts the cardiovascular system negatively impacts erections.  

Oxidative stress

Obesity is known to result in chronic oxidative stress throughout the body as well, a result of an imbalance of free radicals. 

These unstable atoms contribute to tremendous harm to cells, tissues, and muscles in the body, including those located in the penis. 

Additionally, this stress can reduce the production and availability of nitric oxide – a critical chemical messenger that helps to relax the smooth muscles in the penis and expand blood vessels. This allows the erection process to happen. 

How to Safely Lose Weight

Losing weight can substantially reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, but it may take some time before the results are enough to make a difference. 

A healthy body can enhance blood flow throughout the body – including to the genitals. Weight loss can also increase self-confidence, which can have a positive effect on sexual performance

Losing weight can be a journey, especially for those who are obese. Some things a physician may recommend:

  • Eat a balanced diet: This includes whole foods, lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and some whole grains. For many men, it may also mean fewer carbohydrates. Try to avoid sugars, starches, sodium, and processed foods as much as possible.   

  • Exercise regularly:  Take care not to overdo it at first, as going from a sedentary lifestyle to frequent and vigorous exercise can result in injuries. Work your way up to a mix of weightlifting and cardio (anaerobic exercise and aerobic alike). Start with 75 minutes of exercise a week and improve to 150 and more as your stamina and strength increase. 

  • Drink more water: Water can help to get you the feeling of being full and lower the amount of food you're eating. Caffeine, in moderation, is known to boost metabolism and may help in curbing the appetite. 

  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is heavily tied to weight gain as sleeping disorders typically result in lower metabolism and overeating. Increasing exercise should help you to get deeper and more rewarding sleep.

  • GLP-1 medications: Medications such as Wegovy, Zepbound, Mounjaro, and more have had positive effects in treating weight loss – and comorbidities tha typically come with being overweight. By curbing hunger and canceling out food noise, these medications have helped men lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss isn’t just about looking better – it’s about feeling healthy and being a more confident version of yourself.

How Rex MD Can Help

Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to prevent erectile dysfunction from occurring and for treating ED.

But, when it comes to treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, prescription ED medications are the most effective immediate approach – and they work for the majority of men.

Rex MD helps guys access ED medications like Viagra and Cialis – so you never have to worry about not being able to get an erection. 

Just answer some questions about your experience with ED and your medical history – and if you qualify – Rex MD will prescribe you a medication suitable for you. The best part is you won’t have to leave your home, this process is completely virtual and discreet!

Get started today.

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