Fact Check: Does only cholesterol plaque cause erectile dysfunction?

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Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Quick Take

A social media post claims that no amount of pills can help with erectile dysfunction as it is unrelated to stress, fatigue, psychological reasons or low testosterone levels and is caused by a buildup of a sticky cholesterol plaque. We fact-checked and found this claim to be Mostly False.

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The Claim

A Facebook post claims that there is only one cause of erectile dysfunction, i.e., sticky cholesterol plaque that clogs the blood flow to the penis. It is unrelated to stress, fatigue, psychological reasons or low testosterone levels. It further states that it is not a normal part of aging.   

Erectile dysfunction claim

Fact Check

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction or ED is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It is a common male sexual problem that can affect men of all ages, but it is more common in older men. It is frequently described as an ongoing issue that lasts at least six months. However, the exact time frame might vary.

andrologist and microsurgeon
Dr Rupin Shah

Dr Rupin Shah, consultant Andrologist and Microsurgeon, clarifies that it’s not a label, a diagnosis or a stigma. He adds how somebody who has no problem otherwise, can also have ED. Dr Shah explains, “We need to start by understanding that it’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about, and neither does it necessarily mean that there is something wrong. A problem with erection, which is what it is, could happen in any young person, just because he was anxious or tense or misinformed or was trying to impress a new partner so could have ED due to performance anxiety.”

Does only cholesterol plaque cause erectile dysfunction?

No. ED can be caused by a variety of factors and even though cholesterol plaque can be a factor, it can’t be the only one factor. 

Cholesterol plaque can cause ED by narrowing or blocking the arteries that supply blood to the penis. This can reduce blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to get or keep an erection. The condition is called as Arteriogenic ED or arterial ED when atherosclerosis (buildup of cholesterol plaque in arteries) causes a blockage in one more of the arteries that supply blood to the penis.

However, it is important to note that not all men with cholesterol plaque will develop ED. Conversely, not all men with ED have cholesterol plaque.

Andrologist and urologist
Dr Raman Tanwar

Dr Raman Tanwar, Andrologist and Urologist at Urocentre, Jyoti Hospital, Gurugram, says,  “It is a complex problem as it arises from the faulty interplay of the mind, the nerves, the arteries, the corporal sponge, the veins, and the influence of hormones. It can be both physiological or organic as well as psychological,”

The factors which may cause ED can be medical, psychological, or lifestyle-related. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, and drug use can lead to this condition. Additionally, certain medical conditions, like cardiovascular risks, could restrict blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. Moreover, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease can interfere with the nerve signals needed for normal sexual function. Hormonal imbalances, particularly low testosterone levels, can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Additionally, some medications, like antidepressants, antihypertensives, and antipsychotics, may cause ED as a side effect. Lastly, nutritional insufficiency, such as Vitamin D deficiency can also increase the risk of ED by promoting endothelial dysfunction.

Also, Dr Shah comments on this by stating, “It could happen in middle-aged men who again don’t have a real problem, but they’re stressed out, have work-related tension, work pressure, and come home very tired. It could happen in older men who have actual physical problems because of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and smoking, all of which compromise the blood flow. ” 

Another important factor which puts the male at an increased risk of ED is obesity. It causes insulin insensitivity in the body which leads to high blood glucose levels. Over a period of time, high glucose levels cause damage to blood vessels that carry blood to the penis. It can also cause damage to the nerves that innervate the penis. It sometimes leads to abnormal testosterone levels which can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, stress can be a cause of psychological erectile dysfunction. Factors involved in an erection include blood vessels, the nervous system, muscles, and emotions. Chronic stress can affect the way the brain signals the physical response of the body. At the time of erection, the penis gets an extra flow of blood. When a person is stressed, the flow of blood gets interrupted.

Psychiatrist, clinical sexologist
Dr. Anita Shyam

Boston-based Dr Anita Shyam, Psychiatrist, Clinical Sexologist, and Sex and Intimacy Coach, often meets patients who come to her after having met other doctors and have long-term ED “Stress plays a major role in an individual’s relations causing a lot of relationship problems that go on to cause a lot of sexual problems.” 

If you are experiencing ED, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you identify the underlying cause of your ED and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Dr. Shikha Shiromani
Dr. Shikha Shiromani
A dental surgeon by education and medical writer by profession, Shikha is responsible for research and fact-check.

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Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

More in

Questions
Fact Check
Interviews
Stories
Videos
Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Is only cholesterol plaque responsible for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not solely caused by cholesterol plaque. While cholesterol plaque can narrow arteries and reduce blood flow to the penis (Arteriogenic ED), ED has multiple causes. It can result from various factors like lifestyle choices, medical conditions, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and obesity. Psychological factors, including chronic stress, can also contribute. ED is complex, and treatment should address its underlying cause, making a doctor's consultation essential.

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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