To understand how high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction, you must first understand how an erection works. Getting an erection is a tricky process.
Damage to blood vessels due to high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) reduces blood flow throughout the body. Reduced blood flow to the pelvis can affect the sex life of both men and women.
In men, the effect of high blood pressure on sexual function is more physically evident than in women. Erectile dysfunction occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the penis for an erection.
This could be a sign that a doctor needs to check for high blood pressure and other problems.
Anatomy of an Erection
In the penis’ shaft, there are two side-by-side chambers of spongy tissue called the corpora cavernosa. They’re mainly responsible for erections. Just below them is another part called the corpus spongiosum. The urethra, which carries semen and urine, passes through its center.
The corpora cavernosa are made up of small arteries and veins, smooth muscle fibers, and voids. The cameras are wrapped in a thin cloth.
When you get an erection, signs from the brain or nerve endings in the penis make the smooth muscles of the chambers relax and the arteries to dilate or open wider. This allows the rush of blood to fill the empty spaces.
The blood flow pressure causes the lining of tissue around the chambers to press on the veins that normally drain blood from the penis. This traps blood in the penis. As more blood rushes in, the penis expands and becomes stiff, and you have an erection.
When the arousal stops, the smooth muscles contract again, relieving pressure from the veins and allowing blood to flow back out of the penis. The penis then returns to a flaccid state.
High Blood Pressure and Other Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
High blood pressure is the leading cause of erection problems. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that about 49% of men aged 40 to 79 with high blood pressure had erectile dysfunction.
Another report of men with high blood pressure, issued in the Journal of Urology, discovered that 68% of them had some degree of erectile dysfunction. For 45% of men, this was considered severe.
High blood pressure prevents the arteries that carry blood to the penis from expanding correctly. It also causes the soft muscles of the penis to lose their ability to relax. As a result, not just blood flows into the penis to induce an erection.