Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common condition especially among men above the age of 40. Currently there are about 30 million men suffering from ED in the United States. About 10% of all men will suffer from mild and moderate ED at some point in their lifetime.
It’s pretty normal to occasionally have trouble getting an erection but if it happens often then this could be ED. Poor blood flow is the reason why most men cannot hold an erection for long. There are many physical as well as psychological causes of poor blood flow.
How exactly does blood flow affect an erection?
When you’re sexually stimulated your brain sends a signal to your central nervous system to increase blood flow to your penis. Once blood starts flowing, your penis muscles relax and allow the blood to enter. The pressure from the increased blood flow then causes your penis to become firm and erect.
If this blood flow is disrupted, it will not enter the penis and there will be no pressure to make your penis firm and erect. Continued poor blood flow can then result in ED. blood flow can be interrupted by conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or as a result of a surgery done on your prostate, colon or bladder.
ED can also be caused by:
- Drug or alcohol consumption
- Obesity or being overweight
- Damage to the nerves near your penis
- Low testosterone
Caffeine As a Remedy to ED
It’s not often that caffeine is poised as a remedy. Various studies have been done to find out if caffeine indeed helps with ED. One recent study published in PLOS ONE found that by drinking approximately 170-375 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day, men are less likely to report ED incidents. This is equivalent to taking 2-3 cups of coffee every day.
The study was conducted in April 2015 by The University of Texas Health Science Center researchers. The study involved 3724 men all aged 20 years and above.
Caffeine is a stimulant found in foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. 55.4% of the participants reported drinking coffee, 58.5% soda, 20.6% tea, and 3.1% energy and sport drinks.
According to the researchers, caffeine has similar properties as Viagra. Caffeine helps the arteries in your penis to relax increasing your blood flow. This is key to a firm and long lasting erection.
From the study results, obese and overweight as well as those with high blood pressure, also showed lower rates of ED in participants who consumed caffeine.
Unfortunately there was no indication that higher caffeine helps ED patients suffering from diabetes.
Need for Further Research
The researchers admit that the study was not conclusive on caffeine helping to combat ED and should therefore not be encouraged as a cure. They call for more research. However, for improved erectile function, men suffering from ED should consider adding caffeine to their diet but still go for alternative treatment options already approved.
Men having ED issues should see a doctor to find out the underlying cause of the condition for better treatment and management.
Source: Role of Caffeine Intake on Erectile Dysfunction in US Men: Results from NHANES 2001-2004. PLOS ONE, 2015