How Obesity Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction

a photo of an obese man sitting on a bed

Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability to achieve and to maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. It is believed that 12 million men between the ages of 40 and 79 have issues with ED. Many factors can cause erectile dysfunction, but there is one consistently strong link between obesity and ED. Let’s understand how obesity can cause erectile dysfunction.

Some Convincing Statistics About Obesity And ED

If you have doubts about this premise, let’s start with some convincing statistics.
  • A fourteen year long study completed in 2019 concluded that obesity by itself can be a risk for ED.
  • Another study found 79% of men with erectile dysfunction are obese. Eight million men with ED are diabetic and obese.
  • Obesity may increase the risk of ED by 30 to 90% as compared with normal weight men.
  • Those with ED have a greater waist size than those without ED.
Now that you are aware of some facts about obesity and ED, let’s find out why this is so.

Some Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction

An erection happens when blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and hormones work together. Erectile dysfunction occurs when any of these functions are disrupted, and obesity affects many of them.


When someone is obese, there is a high level of inflammation in the body. This causes problems in the endocrine system (hormones), and the endothelial layer which is the lining of the blood vessels. With excess inflammation blood vessels can have difficulty opening up for better flow if there is an issue. Instead, they constrict.

Excess Fat

Excess levels of fat cause an issue with blood flow as well leading to blood vessel blockage.


With obesity comes cardiovascular problems like cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels which impact blood flow to the organs like the penis.

Low Testosterone

Obese men have a lower level of this important hormone for sexual function. Side effects of low T are low libido, depression, and decreased energy. It can affect both the ability and desire for sexual activity.

Some Final Thoughts

As a side note, it seems men with ED may be predisposed to having coronary artery disease later in life causing heart attack and stroke.

Obviously, make it a priority to lose weight to help with ED, but whatever your main motivation, seeing your doctor will help with both issues and give you the occasion to confront your overall health.


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