Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

Select An Article

How Clogged Arteries Can Lead to ED

Font Size

You might think that ED (erectile dysfunction) has nothing to do with your heart. But if you have ED, it could be a sign that your arteries are clogged.

It’s all about blood flow. To get and keep an erection, blood needs to have no problem getting to your penis. If you have ED, it can mean that one or more of your blood vessels have narrowed or are blocked.

Recommended Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Could You Use a Penile Implant?

Urologist Drogo Montague, MD, is the go-to guy for penis implants. No, we’re not talking about the get-big-quick schemes clogging your spam folder. Penis implants enable men with erectile dysfunction, or ED, to get an erection. Most of the 30 million men in the United States who have ED can turn to Viagra and similar drugs. But approximately one-third of them do not respond to medications. That’s where Montague comes in. Montague directs the Center for Genitourinary Reconstruction in the Glickman...

Read the Could You Use a Penile Implant? article > >

Plaque in your arteries can make that happen. Doctors call it “atherosclerosis,” which means the hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup.

What Happens

When your heart pumps, blood goes through arteries to get to different parts of your body. To get to the penis, blood first goes through arteries in the belly and then branch off. When it's time for an erection, these arteries widen, or dilate. More blood flows into the penis, making it swell.

Erectile dysfunction often means at least some of the blood vessels on that path aren't in perfect health. Even if you don’t have a blocked artery yet, the lining of your blood vessels might not work as well as it should.

Atherosclerosis isn’t the only reason that ED can happen. See your doctor to find out what the cause is in your case.

6 Things That Make Atherosclerosis More Likely

Most men with ED have risks that make them more likely to get atherosclerosis, such as:

  1. Atherosclerosis in family members
  2. High cholesterol levels
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Diabetes
  5. Obesity

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on October 19, 2015
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

handsome midadult man
11 tips to protect your erection.
man and woman on beach
How much do you know about ED?
stress in bed
Things that can deflate erections.
senior couple hugging
How medications work.
concerned man
stress in bed
Life Cycle of a Penis
Mens Body Problem
bored man
Lamm Erections Over Life
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
senior couple hugging

WebMD Special Sections