Research has shown that men who smoke are 60% more likely to experience erection problems such as impotence, which is why smoking is considered to one of the prime lifestyle causes of impotence. Not only is smoking a singular cause of impotence, but it can also amplify the effects of some of the other causes of impotence such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and certain medications. Doctors will usually recommend that a man make lifestyle adjustments, such as giving up smoking, when they first experience erection difficulties.
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Simply put, smoking causes impotence because it limits penile blood supply. This happens because of how smoking affects blood vessels. Adequate blood supply and blood pressure in the penis is vital for normal erections.
The nicotine that is contained in cigarettes can cause blood vessels and penile tissues to spasm and narrow by stimulating receptors in the brain. Nicotine therefore has an effect on the way in which blood is able to circulate around the penile tissues, this in particular affects how effectively blood pressure is able to rise to reach a point where an erection is sufficient for sex, without the risk of blood pressure falling.
In addition to this, smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is the medical term used for a condition where arteries start to harden as a result of a build-up of plaque and fatty deposits in artery walls, often leading to serious circulatory problems.
Research has shown that the severity of impotence experienced by a man is related to how heavy a smoker he is. This means that there is a chance of sexual health improving by giving up smoking. However, it can be difficult to reverse the effects of atherosclerosis if the condition has already had substantial time to spread.