Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and maintain an erection. This complex process involves the endocrine, nervous, and cardiovascular systems and is influenced by psychological and lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use. Being sick affects your bodily functions and your psychological motivation for sex. So, illnesses can cause ED.
Many times, when you are sick, you feel exhausted. You may have muscle aches. You may have nasal congestion, cough, and chest congestion, which causes fatigue and difficulty breathing. It makes sense that being sick can cause temporary ED. The question is, how temporary is it?
An erection occurs when blood flows into the penis and becomes trapped in spaces known as the corpora cavernosa. Pressure builds as blood fills these chambers, causing the penis to stiffen. Although this process appears simple, it requires the ability to respond to sexual stimulation, maintain adequate blood flow into the penis, and have nerves that can respond appropriately to chemical signals in the body. A breakdown in the psychological response, blood flow, nerve transmission, or brain communication can all cause ED.
As mentioned, erectile function is complex, and the process begins in the brain. Low libido, depression, performance anxiety, stress, and relationship problems can all contribute to ED. Your body is under stress when you are sick, and fatigue will put a damper on your libido.
Having a normal blood pressure and healthy blood vessel function is essential to getting and maintaining an erection. Illness causes inflammation, which can affect blood vessel function. Blood vessels entering the penis are small and may be more affected than larger vessels. In fact, ED is an early indicator of cardiovascular disease. If your ED is persistent, talk to your doctor to see if you need an evaluation of your cardiovascular health.1
Certain illnesses and medical conditions can contribute to ED, including:
In addition to these physical causes, psychological factors can contribute to ED, including stress, anxiety, and depression.4
Medications can also cause ED. For example, many people take antihistamines to dry up a runny nose when they have cold or flu symptoms. Antihistamine use can cause temporary ED.
Several infections can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). These include:
If you are experiencing ED and are concerned about an infection, it’s important to contact your doctor. They can help diagnose the cause of your ED and recommend appropriate treatment options.
There are many potential causes of temporary erectile dysfunction (ED). Treating these conditions may resolve ED symptoms.
Causes of temporary ED may include:
There are several treatments available for ED, including:
ED is almost always treatable, depending on the underlying cause. If you are sick and you have temporary ED work on getting better first. Take it easy for a few days and recover from your illness. If your ED symptoms persist, contact your doctor or the medical professionals at Invigor Medical to learn more about your treatment options.
Looking for treatment plans for sexual health? See how Invigor Medical can help today!
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
1. Ostfeld RJ, Allen KE, Aspry K, et al. Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction: The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle. The American Journal of Medicine. 2021;134(3):310-316. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.09.033
2. Pascual M, de Batlle J, Barbé F, et al. Erectile dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea patients: A randomized trial on the effects of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). PLoS One. 2018;13(8):e0201930. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201930
3. Yassin AA, Saad F. Testosterone and erectile dysfunction. J Androl. Nov-Dec 2008;29(6):593-604. doi:10.2164/jandrol.107.004630
4. Seidman SN, Roose SP. The relationship between depression and erectile dysfunction. Curr Psychiatry Rep. Jun 2000;2(3):201-5. doi:10.1007/s11920-996-0008-0
5. Huang CC, Chan WL, Chen YC, et al. Herpes simplex virus infection and erectile dysfunction: a nationwide population-based study. Andrology. Mar 2013;1(2):240-4. doi:10.1111/j.2047-2927.2012.00037.x
6. Blans MC, Visseren FL, Banga JD, et al. Infection induced inflammation is associated with erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes. Eur J Clin Invest. Jul 2006;36(7):497-502. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2362.2006.01653.x
7. Kirmaz C, Aydemir O, Bayrak P, Yuksel H, Ozenturk O, Degirmenci S. Sexual dysfunction in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. Dec 2005;95(6):525-9. doi:10.1016/s1081-1206(10)61013-7