Research shows that stomach gas does not cause erectile dysfunction (ED), but there may be a link between the two conditions.
People who experience frequent bouts of stomach gas are sometimes reluctant to have sex out of embarrassment or discomfort. Because of this, people sometimes associate stomach gas with erectile dysfunction (ED).
While stomach gas is not a cause of ED, there may be a link between ED and certain digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), that cause stomach gas.
Read on to learn more about the link between stomach gas and ED.
Stomach gas does not mean a person has ED or is at risk of developing ED. Both stomach gas and ED have many different causes and risk factors, with some overlapping.
For example, a person with chronic stomach gas may not feel well enough to have sex or feel too anxious to engage in sexual intercourse. On the other hand, someone with ED may feel anxious about their condition and develop stomach gas as a result.
There may be a link between digestive disorders, such as IBD and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and some forms of sexual dysfunction, including ED.
IBS is a collection of symptoms such as irregular bowel movements, abdominal pain, and stomach gas, whereas IBD is a collection of specific digestive disorders.
One study involving 69 men with recent IBD diagnoses found that 94% experienced at least some degree of ED. The high prevalence of ED among participants remained about the same over the 2 years of the study.
Additionally, a 2022 study found that
Why is ED more common with digestive diseases?
Researchers do not yet know why there is a connection between chronic digestive disorders and ED. However, some experts theorize the link may be due to the following:
- a serotonin imbalance common to both conditions
- an imbalance of cytokines that occurs with both conditions — cytokines are proteins that limit nitric oxide, which is necessary for an erection
- stress or anxiety often present in people with IBS can trigger the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone” known to inhibit erections
ED is the most common sexual health problem that males report to their doctor, affecting 30 million males in the United States.
ED makes it difficult to get or keep an erection firm enough for intercourse. Specific symptoms range in degree and frequency.
For example, according to the
- an ability to get an erection sometimes
- an ability to get an erection, but it may not last long enough
- a complete inability to get an erection
Doctors classify ED as either organic ED, which has physical causes, or psychogenic ED, which stems from psychological reasons such as anxiety, depression, or trauma.
Many cases of ED involve a mixture of the two forms. Regardless of the type of ED a person has, the symptoms are the same.
If either condition becomes progressively more frequent or difficult to manage, it may be time to see a doctor.
When to see a doctor for ED
When ED becomes frequent and interferes with a person’s ability to engage in sexual intercourse on a regular basis, it may be time to see a doctor.
While ED is common and not always a sign of an underlying condition, some causes of ED require medical treatment.
A doctor can help rule out underlying medical conditions and refer the person to a mental health professional if necessary.
When to see a doctor for stomach gas
It is typical for most people to pass 1–4 pints of gas per day and pass gas up to 23 times daily. If a person exceeds this or has other uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, they should consider speaking with a medical professional.
Gas and bloating may be symptoms of an underlying condition such as IBD or IBS, and treatment may help alleviate symptoms.
Stomach gas is not a sign that a person has ED. Additionally, stomach gas is not a cause or risk factor for ED.
However, researchers have found a potential link between ED and certain digestive conditions such as IBD and IBS.
This link does not mean these disorders cause ED, but evidence suggests more males with these digestive disorders have ED than those in the general population.
ED and excessive stomach gas are both highly treatable conditions. People experiencing distress due to either condition should consider consulting a doctor.