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Weight and Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Want another good reason to drop a few extra pounds? Studies suggest there are links between being overweight and having erectile dysfunction (ED). So not only can getting in shape make you feel more attractive and improve your health -- it could also improve your love life. Here's how.

Testosterone and Sex Drive

It’s unclear at what level a lack of testosterone in the bloodstream may affect ED. But it is clear that this hormone helps to boost the sex drive.

Obesity has been shown to lower testosterone in men. An increase of 4 inches in waist size led to a 75% chance of having low testosterone levels.

Most men who have ED should, and likely will, have their testosterone checked. Ask your doctor to test your testosterone level if he hasn't suggested it, especially if you're overweight. If it’s low, medication or losing weight can help boost your desire to have sex.

Vascular Health

ED can be an early warning system for circulatory problems and heart disease, both of which are linked to extra weight. The reason: An erection requires extra blood to be sent to the penis and kept there during sex. If something blocks that blood from getting or staying where it needs to be, you won’t get or maintain an erection.

Plaque clogging the arteries that supply blood to the penis is often the cause. If you have ED, talk to your doctor about having your cholesterol checked. Also ask your doctor if you need a stress test to look for possible heart disease.


Medications that help you lose weight, along with those that treat conditions caused by extra weight (from high blood pressure to aches and pains), can also cause ED. These include high blood pressure medicines, diuretics, heartburn treatments, and painkillers. Ask your doctor if any of your medicines might cause erection problems.

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