High blood pressure and erectile dysfunction often go hand in hand due to vascular damage that restricts blood flow and makes it difficult to maintain an erection.

Over time, high blood pressure, or hypertension, can damage the circulatory system and contribute to health issues. One condition it is connected with is erectile dysfunction (ED).

This article examines the link between hypertension and ED, treatments, and more.

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High blood pressure can cause ED, and ED may be an early warning sign of hypertension.

A person’s blood pressure affects the way blood flows throughout the body. Erectile function relies on a healthy blood flow to the penis, so problems with a person’s cardiovascular health can affect erections.

Over time, hypertension can damage blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels may leak, narrow, or rupture. This limits healthy blood flow throughout the body. This damage may affect a person’s ability to get or maintain an erection.

High blood pressure may also create a state of oxidative stress and low grade inflammation that further contributes to ED.

A 2020 review found that, among a large number of patients with high risk hypertension, 71% of people displayed signs of ED.

Some high blood pressure medications may contribute to ED, particularly early generation beta-blockers, thiazide diuretics, and aldosterone antagonists.

Doctors do not recommend some blood pressure medications for those who have ED. These include:

The exact cause of hypertension is unknown, but several factors, conditions, and lifestyle aspects may increase the chances of developing this condition.

These may include:

Most people can manage high blood pressure through lifestyle measures and medication.

A person with high blood pressure can discuss an appropriate diet and exercise regimen with a doctor.

A person can also take medication for ED, but they should talk with a doctor first. This is because some ED medications may not suit those with high blood pressure.

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Learn more about treating high blood pressure:

Many people do not know they live with high blood pressure. Experiencing regular erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign.

A person should speak with a doctor if they notice persistent problems with their erectile function.

A person with ED may:

  • be able to get an erection sometimes, but not every time they desire sex
  • be able to get an erection, but it does not last long enough for sex
  • be unable to get an erection at all

Blood pressure tests and blood flow imaging can help determine if high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction are linked.

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Learn more about treating ED:

Doctors diagnose ED by assessing symptoms and experiences that include frequency of ED, psychological state, stress factors, and lifestyle.

Blood pressure screening is a part of ED testing. Doctors may use diagnostic imaging to evaluate how much blood flows to the penis.

If they detect high blood pressure, follow-up monitoring can determine if the condition is chronic or if the results were a one-time occurrence.

High blood pressure can be managed but not cured, and some of the damage it causes to the cardiovascular system may be irreversible.

If high blood pressure is the cause of ED, some treatments can help a person achieve typical erectile function. These include some medications, devices, or surgeries.

Treating underlying hypertension may help recover some sexual function.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about ED and high blood pressure.

Does lowering your blood pressure help erectile dysfunction?

As high blood pressure can be a cause of erectile dysfunction, having a healthy blood pressure will prevent ED from happening.

However, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels over time, and this damage may be irreversible. If ED results from damaged blood vessels, treating high blood pressure may not restore erectile function.

In this case, a person may require complex surgery to repair the damaged vessels.

Can hypertension erectile dysfunction be reversed?

Managing diet and lifestyle to reduce high blood pressure may help a person improve erectile function.

A person can do this by:

  • quitting smoking
  • limiting alcohol
  • exercising regularly
  • following a heart-healthy diet

However, if hypertension has damaged the blood vessels permanently, a person may need to discuss other treatment methods with a doctor. The damage may be irreversible.

How common is ED with high blood pressure?

A 2020 review that studied a large group of people with hypertension found that 71% had ED.

However, researchers do not know how many hypertensive people in the general public have ED.

Erectile dysfunction can result from high blood pressure.

While treating high blood pressure with medication and lifestyle changes may improve erectile dysfunction, some damage from chronic hypertension may be irreversible.

Doctors do not recommend some high blood pressure medications for use with ED, but primary erectile dysfunction medications are often safe.