Does drinking water improve erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction can be affected by many factors, including hydration levels. Dehydration can reduce blood volume and affect mood, so a person may find that drinking water can help with maintaining an erection.

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is when a man has difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. An estimated 30 million men experience ED at some point. A wide range of factors can influence ED.

In this article, we look at the relationship between hydration and both ED and sex drive, how you can tell if you are dehydrated, and other causes of erectile dysfunction.

Is dehydration linked to ED?

Being dehydrated may cause a number of physiological changes, such as temporary ED.

It is possible for a person's hydration levels to influence temporary ED. A lack of sufficient body water can affect a person physiologically and mentally.

Several elements are needed for a man to achieve and maintain an erection. A breakdown in one or more of these steps means he may not be able to achieve an erection that is firm enough for sex. The process includes:

•sexual arousal, or the messages sent to the brain that stimulate blood flow to the penis

•increased blood flow into two chambers in the penis called the corpus cavernosum that leads to the penis swelling and becoming erect

•when a man achieves ejaculation, the blood leaves the chambers, and the erection goes away

When a man is dehydrated, he does not have as much blood volume in his body as when he is properly hydrated. Therefore, his blood vessels become constricted, as there is not enough blood to keep them tense. This impairs blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis.

Little research has looked at whether dehydration directly causes erectile dysfunction, so further studies are needed.

When a person is dehydrated, their body releases greater amounts of the enzyme angiotensin I, which leads to the blood vessels constricting.

The presence of angiotensin II, which the body makes from angiotensin I, has been associated with sexual dysfunction in animal studies, although more research is needed into how this affects humans.

In addition to the physical effects of dehydration that impact penile erection, mood is also associated with dehydration.

A small scale 2011 study found that mild dehydration was associated with impaired memory, tension, and anxiety in men.

A person's mental state can have a profound effect on their sex drive and ED. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, stress, anxiety, depression, and nervousness can all contribute to ED. Therefore, it is possible that the mood changes associated with dehydration could lead to ED.

Can women get prostate cancer?

While women do not have prostates, they do have a series of glands and ducts at the front of the vagina called the Skene glands, which are sometimes referred to as the female prostate.

Researchers have discovered that the Skene glands share some of the same properties as the male prostate, which is located between the bladder and the penis. For example, both the prostate and the Skene glands contain prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA phosphatase (PSAP), which are enzymes that can indicate the health of the prostate in males.

The discovery that these glands have similarities has led to the use of the term "female prostate."

So, in a sense, females do have prostates, and female prostate cancer is technically possible. It is, however, extremely rare.

What does the female prostate do?

Research into the female prostate is still relatively new, so doctors are not sure of everything the female prostate does. But some research indicates that the Skene glands play an important part in the female urinary system and genitals.

However, the use of more advanced imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), has given researchers a better understanding of how the female prostate works.

Symptoms of female prostate cancer

Female prostate cancer may be difficult to diagnose.

Doctors may find it difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of female prostate cancer because it is so rare.

Another problem is that many of the symptoms of female prostate cancer, such as pain, itching, loss of weight or appetite, and anemia due to bleeding, are also signs of other more common diseases.

For example, a doctor might diagnose blood in urine as a symptom of a urinary tract infection, kidney infection, or kidney stone, rather than female prostate cancer.

Other symptoms include:
•pressure behind the pubic bone
•pain during urination
•pain during sex
•menstrual cycle irregularities
•difficulty urinating
•frequent urination

However, these symptoms may also signify other noncancerous conditions related to the female prostate.

Can you roll back the clock on your heart?

If you’re a middle-aged couch potato, are you destined for heart failure in your golden years? Not if you get off that sofa and do something – now.

A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s Journal Circulation found that even previously sedentary but otherwise healthy people could improve their heart health with high-intensity exercise.

“The message here is to get moving,” says Dr. Hetal Gandhi, a cardiologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “Just because you haven’t exercised much in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now.”

A sedentary lifestyle is one of five major risk factors (along with hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity) for cardiovascular disease, Dr. Gandhi says, adding that reducing these risk factors decreases the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Regular physical exercise can have a significant benefit on cardiovascular health by lowering high blood pressure, reducing weight, decreasing bad (LDL) cholesterol, increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and lowering stress. Regular aerobic exercise, such as cycling, brisk walking or swimming, can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by more than 50 percent by allowing the muscles to better process glycogen, a fuel for energy, Dr. Gandhi notes.

“Patients with newly diagnosed heart disease who participate in exercise programs report an earlier return to work and improvements in quality of life, such as more self-confidence, lower stress, less anxiety and, most importantly, it reduces the death rate by 20 to 25 percent,” he says.

For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for a total of 150 minutes, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week for a total of 75 minutes.

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