According to some researchers, men who smoke are about twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction, compared to men who never smoke. Chain smokers are at an even higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction independent of age and comorbidities. Smoking hampers the proper blood circulation to all areas of the body, including the genitals, making it difficult to achieve an erection.
As per the claims, smoking worsens erectile function through vascular mechanisms and it results due to the depletion of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful substance that relaxes the smooth muscles in the penile, overcomes blockages in the blood vessels, and instigates proper blood flow to the penile for promoting an erection.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, experience poor quality of erections. Impotence is characterized by repeated failures in achieving or maintaining the natural erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. It is a result of poor blood flow to the penile tissue that impedes the natural erections even after attaining a state of complete sexual arousal after adequate stimulation.
Enzymatic activity in the walls of the blood vessels presents in the penile cause hindrance in the process of blood transmission. Phosphodiesterase type-5 is an enzyme found primarily in the smooth muscle cells of the corpus cavernosum which is a penile tissue. The PDE5 enzymes inhibit the synthesis of cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP) enzymes that are responsible for carrying out various functions in the penile blood vessels including vasodilation, managing contraction, and regulating an abundant flow of blood throughout the penile tissues. Thus, these PDE5 enzymes hamper the blood flow by causing blockages in the passages which stop the blood supply to the penile chambers.
Factors including injuries, drug abuse, tobacco, drinking excessive alcohol, or medicinal side effects can affect the proper blood flow towards the penile and damage the blood vessels, causing erection failure. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Some physical conditions responsible can be obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, etc. Various psychological reasons may include stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, guilt, etc.
How Smoking Leads To Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is often a result of inadequate blood supply to the penile that can be a result of damaged blood vessels. Undeniably, the chemicals released in the bloodstream after cigarette smoking injures the lining or walls of the blood vessels and affect their normal function. These chemicals can also harm major organs including heart, brain, kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body.
Smoking Cigarettes can adversely impact erectile health as the harmful effects of chemicals present in cigarette impair and narrow the penile blood vessels and cause erection failure. An erection is triggered when the arteries or blood vessels in the penile expand after receiving nerve signals in the penile. The nerves respond to the sexual stimuli signals sent by the brain. Even if the nervous system is in optimal condition, an erection might not be induced if the blood vessels are affected due to smoking.
Abstain From Smoking And Improve Erectile Dysfunction
It is never too late to quit smoking. However, this decision does not come without challenges. Most men will certainly experience craving and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine is a highly-addictive chemical present in cigarettes, which is responsible for altering the mind and triggering a number of chemical reactions that create temporary feelings of pleasure and concentration.
Quitting smoking would certainly improve health and lessen the risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other illnesses therefore, it is necessary to stop smoking. There are treatment options available for symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that can be beneficial for keeping the harmful effects of smoking at bay and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Create A Quit-Smoking Plan
- Set a conscious intention to and be firm about your decision. Choose a date and stick to it.
- Remove or throw away all cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays from your home, office, and car. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
- You may ask your doctor to prescribe some medications that can aid you in the process of overcoming nicotine cravings.
- Engage yourself in some mind diverting activities. Implement some fun strategies to distract your mind.
- Seek the support from friends, family members, and co-workers. Let them know that you have decided to quit smoking.
- Try meditating. Do some breathing exercises.
- Keep plenty of low calorie snacks handy.
- Constantly remind yourself of the benefits of not smoking, including improved sexual function as well as overall well-being.
Chances are, you might initially experience some withdrawal symptoms, but these usually last for less than a couple of weeks.
Effective Smoking Cessation Aids
There are some amazing things available out there that can help you quit smoking, they are as follows:
- Nicotine Gums
For best results, make sure you opt for the right dose. Use one piece of gum every 1-2 hours for the first 6 weeks of your quit attempt. It is best to use at least 9 pieces of gum per day for the first week. Do not exceed 24 pieces of gum per day.
- Nicotine Patches
Start on the right dose as it depends upon how much you currently smoke. These are typically worn for 24 hours. Put the patch on clean, dry, hair-free skin on the upper body. Wash your hands properly after applying the patch. To avoid the irritation, put the patch on a different area of your upper body each day.
- Nicotine Lozenges
These tablets are available in several flavors, brands, and varieties. Start on the right dosage and these are usually indicated for a use period of 8 weeks.
- Nicotine Nasal Spray
These are available only by prescription. The spray gets nicotine readily absorbed in the bloodstream. You have to spray it only once in each nostril once or twice an hour.
- Nicotine Inhaler
Also available by prescription, these cartridges mimic the hand-to-mouth routine of cigarette smoking. The nicotine thus released from the inhaler gets absorbed in the mouth.
- Non-nicotine Drugs
Bupropion (Zyban) is the only FDA-approved drug since 1985. It does not contain nicotine. You have to start taking these a week or two before your quit date.
Note that, it is necessary to seek a guidance of your doctor before buying any of these. Do not try experimenting as negligence can have consequences on health. These remedies are available in different dosages. Your doctor would examine your condition and recommend an appropriate dosage.
How Long Does It Take To Improve Impotence After Quitting Smoking?
As per the research, men who quit smoking could experience stronger and reliable erections. It is still unclear how long after quitting smoking erectile dysfunction will improve, but one study suggest, 50% of the men with erectile difficulties who quit smoking reported improvements in their erectile function at 6 months.
To conclude, research also suggests that within 2 to 12 weeks of quitting smoking, the blood circulation in the blood vessels of the penile improve, which ultimately eliminates the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.