ZocdocAnswersDoes smoking cause impotence?

Question

Does smoking cause impotence?

I am a guy and I am scared of impotence but I just can't stop smoking.

Answer

One of the most underestimated causes of impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, is actually cigarette smoking. Ironically, even though cigarette smoking long has the projected aura of coolness or sexiness, in reality it is anything but. We know that cigarette smoking contributes to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque) that hardens arteries. Nitric oxide production is important in maintaining healthy blood vessels. It signals the inside of the blood vessels to increase blood flow to organs to keep the blood vessels plaque-free. Smoking interferes with nitric oxide, causing the blood vessels to narrow, or constrict, decreasing blood flow to the penis (and other organs), and over time prevents the blood vessels in the penis from being able to engorge with blood to produce an erection. Obviously, the greater the length of time spent smoking, the greater the damage to the biological systems that cause impotence and the more difficult it is to treat it. Of course, smoking is a difficult habit to kick but perhaps you should consider a smoking cessation program and its benefit will have on your sex life and general health. It is good idea to consult a primary care doctor for more information or management of erectile dysfunction should you suspect you are developing it.

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