Does Low Testosterone Cause ED?

Testosterone is commonly brought up when diagnosing erectile dysfunction, and not without reason - testosterone is one of the factors that influences male sex drive and the ability to maintain an erection. However, the importance of testosterone as it pertains to erectile dysfunction is often overstated.

How Testosterone Affects Erections

Contrary to popular belief, low testosterone is rarely the root cause of erectile dysfunction. There are very few men who have ED that is caused by low testosterone and no other health problems.

A much bigger driver of problems related to achieving and maintaining an erection is blood flow. When the tiny blood vessels that carry blood to the penis can no longer dilate, not enough blood can be supplied to create a firm erection. The health of these arteries is independent of testosterone levels and damage to them is mainly caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Low testosterone is often linked to these underlying health conditions that cause blood flow problems. Experts believe that blood flow causes the bulk of erectile dysfunction, but low testosterone contributes on top of this, increasing the severity of symptoms.

Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy A Good Option?

Research shows that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can improve sex drive and satisfaction with sex for many men. However, there is no clear consensus on the long-term risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy. Current trials on TRT are still ongoing, so results are far from being conclusive.

Given that testosterone levels are most often not the root cause of erectile dysfunction, it is not advisable to pursue TRT with the intention of completely curing ED symptoms. Additionally, one should be critical when being recommended TRT as a first-line defense for ED. Talk with your doctor to see if your testosterone levels are low and whether TRT is a good option for you.

If you are interested in pursuing other treatment options for ED, learn about the main options such as prescription pills, injections, or prosthetic devices.

For a natural and noninvasive alternative, learn about the services we provide at Multnomah Medical.

1. Medscape: "Testosterone Added to Standard Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction," "Testosterone and Erection Physiology."
2. "Treatment for Erection Problems."
3. University of California, San Francisco: "Erectile Dysfunction (ED)."
4. Urology Care Foundation: "Low Testosterone (Hypogonadism)."

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