Nicotine consumption is generally considered to be harmful to one’s health, but did you know that it could be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction? In fact, men who consumed nicotine have a 1.5 to 2 times greater chance of developing erectile dysfunction than those that did not take in nicotine. (Note that the problem is not exacerbated only by smoking, but any nicotine intake, including from the gum)
Blood flow reduction
A major cause of erectile dysfunction is impaired blood flow to the penis, which causes a man to be unable to form and/or maintain an erection that is hard enough for successful intercourse. Studies have shown that cigarette-smoking and nicotine intake decreases blood flow to the penis as well as disrupts bodily control over blood flow to the penis. This occurs because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it causes blood vessels to narrow, which reduces blood flow. Not only can this disrupt erections, it can cause permanent blood vessel damage, making ED difficult to treat.
Nitric oxide synthesis reduction
Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that is largely responsible for producing and regulating erections in men. The chemicals and free radicals in cigarette smoke reduce nitric oxide’s synthesis, which hinders the formation and maintenance of erections.
For harder, stronger erections that are easier to form and maintain, one of the first lifestyle choices you should make is to halt your intake of nicotine. That means no cigarettes, no gum, and no patches.
Busse, Matthew (2010) The Effects of Nicotine on Erectile Dysfunction. Available from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/204832-the-effects-of-nicotine-on-erectile-dysfunction/.
Szalavitz, Maia (2011) Guys, Quitting Smoking Makes It Bigger. Really. Available from: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/15/guys-quitting-smoking-makes-it-bigger-really/.