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Possible causes - Lifestyle

Lifestyle choices can play an important part in erection problems. Men who smoke, for example, can be encouraged to stop, given information and shown products related to stopping smoking. There are a variety of lifestyle changes that can be recommended, and other products and services offered by the pharmacy can be endorsed to help men make better decisions. Lifestyle choices that have been shown to contribute to EPs include: 1


Smoking can damage your blood vessels, including those to the penis, an erection requires a healthy blood flow to the penis. Nicotine causes blood vessels to contract, which can also play a part in EPs. This is a good opportunity to inform men of the products and services available within the pharmacy so they can get help to stop smoking.

Excessive alcohol consumption

Alcohol is considered a depressant in large amounts. It can hinder production of testosterone and restrict blood flow to the penis, detrimentally affecting a man’s ability to get an erection.

An unhealthy diet & obesity

Diet is important for overall health, and a poor diet and/or obesity can contribute to high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure – all of which are linked to erection problems.

Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation

A lack of sleep can lead to hormone imbalance and lowered testosterone. Certain conditions may be responsible for a man not getting enough sleep, including sleep apnea and stress. It’s important to ascertain how often men wake up not feeling rested, if it is a common occurrence, they should be referred to their doctor for further investigation.

An inactive lifestyle

As exercise can improve both heart health and circulation, it can play an important role in improving EPs. It could be valuable to explain the link between circulation and erection problems.

Recreational drug use

Many recreational drugs could be responsible for damaging blood vessels and restricting blood flow to the penis.

  1. Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Esposito K.  Lifestyle modifications and erectile dysfunction:  what can be expected?  Asian Journal of Andrology (2015) 17, 5 – 10