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Can Kidney Problems Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

UPGUYS > Blog > Sex > Can Kidney Problems Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on March 14, 2022

Nearly 50% of Canadian men have erectile dysfunction, most of them usually make Viagra purchases from Canada. What that means is that male sexual dysfunction is a lot more common than you might initially think!

Now, what's interesting is that a good number of those men also have kidney disease. In fact, between 1.3 and 2.9 million men in Canada suffer from kidney disease. 

So, can kidney problems cause erectile dysfunction? Let's find out in this helpful guide!

Table of Contents

In this article, we will talk about the following:

  1. How Are Erectile Dysfunction and Kidney Disease Connected?
  2. Can Kidney Problems Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
  3. Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Kidney Disease
  4. Can You Take ED Meds If You Are Taking Kidney Disease Medications?
  5. Do Kidney Disease Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
  6. How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Kidney Disease
  7. FAQ
  8. Final Words

How Are Erectile Dysfunction and Kidney Disease Connected? 

Erectile dysfunction and kidney disease are connected due to how kidney disease affects the blood vessels. Many times, kidney failure in men leads to narrowed blood vessels in every part of the body. 

Those narrowed blood vessels can also be found in the vessels that supply the penis. What that means is that there's less blood flowing to the penis, making it hard for men to get an erection.  

Kidney disease can also affect other aspects of men's sexual health. As a result, kidney disease can actually lead to different types of male sexual dysfunction, including: 

  1. Low libido
  2. Difficulty getting and maintaining an erection
  3. Ejaculation issues
  4. Male sex hormone imbalances

Can Kidney Problems Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Kidney problems can cause erectile dysfunction because of the effect that kidney problems have on the blood supply. Since you need healthy blood flow to the penis for an erection, this can lead to erectile dysfunction. Let's take a look at a few ways kidney problems affect erectile dysfunction. 

Narrowed Blood Vessels

In order to make the penis hard, extra blood enters the penis. Then, the blood vessels restrict and prevent the blood from leaving the penis again.

As mentioned earlier, kidney disease patients have narrow blood vessels, making getting enough blood in the penis challenging. Erectile dysfunction due to aging also occurs thanks to this phenomenon.

Leaky Blood Vessels

Many men with kidney failure also have leaky blood vessels. That means blood leaks out of the penis, and the man loses his erection. Even if a man can get hard, he may not be able to maintain his erection.

Hormone Imbalances

Hormones control many body functions, mainly sexual functions. Men with kidney failure sometimes have too much or too little of a hormone. Both these types of imbalances can lead to difficulty controlling an erection. 

In particular, kidney failure often causes the testicles to produce less testosterone. This can, in turn, lead to sexual dysfunction. 

Nerve Damage

When a person has kidney failure, they may suffer from nerve damage. Their nerves then stop working correctly, leading to issues in helping a man get an erection.


Men with kidney failure often struggle with excessive tiredness. Tiredness then affects sexual performance and can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Psychological Issues

Many men with kidney failure also struggle with psychological problems thanks to the many stressors they have to deal with. Issues such as depression and anxiety can lower libido and make it tough for men to get an erection.

Men may also feel anxiety about worrying that they won't be able to get an erection, which can worsen the problem. 

Relationship Problems

When your partner has ED, it can also affect you. The stress that comes with one individual in the relationship having a disease can lead to arguments, resentment, and tension between the couple. The increased pressure and decreased self-confidence can cause sexual dysfunction.

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Kidney Disease

If you struggle with impotence and think that kidney disease might be to blame, there are a few symptoms to look out for. Here are a few common symptoms of kidney disease that could indicate that's what's causing your ED problems: 

  1. Fatigue and weakness
  2. Changes in urination
  3. Chest pain
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Nausea
  7. Vomiting
  8. Headaches
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Insomnia and sleep issues
  11. Muscle twitches and cramps
  12. Metallic taste in the mouth
  13. Persistent itching
  14. Decreased mental sharpness

If you have any of these symptoms, as well as erectile dysfunction, it might be time to talk to a doctor. They will be able to run tests to see if kidney failure is what's causing your ED issues. 

Can You Take ED Meds If You Are Taking Kidney Disease Medications?

If you have kidney disease and are also suffering from erectile dysfunction, don't panic. You can take several medications that will allow you to have a normal life, even if you have kidney medications. 

The first and safest step is to speak to your general practitioner. They will usually be able to recommend medications that are safe for individuals who have kidney disease. 

Do Kidney Disease Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

While most medications don't cause erectile dysfunction on their own, there are some kidney disease medications that can contribute to sexual problems. The medicines that are usually to blame are blood pressure tablets called beta-blockers. 

A few examples of beta-blockers that can cause impotence include: 

  1. Atenolol
  2. Propanolol
  3. Metoprolol
  4. Bisoprolol

These aren't the only kidney disease medications that can cause erectile dysfunction. Anti-hypertensive drugs can also cause these issues. A few other examples of medications that lead to ED include: 

  1. Diuretics
  2. Agonists for α-2 adrenergic receptors
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants
  4. Metoclopramide
  5. Cimetidine

Avoiding these types of medications for kidney disease can help you avoid running into issues with impotence. Ask your doctor about the possibility of switching medicines if you're taking one of these meds. 

How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Kidney Disease

If you have kidney disease that's causing erectile dysfunction, several treatment options are available to you. These are great ways for you to treat erectile dysfunction without causing more complications to your chronic kidney disease. 

The most common treatment for men with chronic kidney disease who suffer from ED is phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. These drugs, often called PDE5Is, are highly effective. 

Another treatment that some men may benefit from is testosterone replacement therapy. Sometimes this therapy is provided on its own, and other times it's provided to supplement the use of PDE5Is. It's especially effective for those who struggle with hypogonadism. 

Sometimes a kidney transplant may be the treatment needed to restore erectile dysfunction. However, sometimes renal transplants can actually worsen the issue, so this isn't always the right choice. 

Finally, sometimes men can tackle erectile dysfunction issues by taking simple supplements. This is an excellent option for those who want to get rid of erectile dysfunction without interfering with other kidney disease treatments. 


Do you still have a few lingering questions about kidney disease and erectile dysfunction? We've got answers. Here are a few commonly asked questions (and answers) about kidney disease and erectile dysfunction.

Does Kidney Disease Cause Low Libido?

It's not uncommon for individuals with kidney disease to suffer from low libido. This is usually due to the hormone imbalances caused by kidney disease, although medications can also be to blame. 

Can Kidney Disease Cause Low Testosterone?

Some men with late-stage renal disease also suffer from low testosterone levels. This can lead to other issues with sexual health and male reproduction.

Is ED a Common Symptom of Kidney Disease?

Yes. Since kidney disease affects the nerves, blood vessels, and hormones, it can lead to erectile and sexual dysfunction in men. 

Key Takeaway

So, can kidney problems cause erectile dysfunction? The answer is sometimes. There are varying reasons why men might struggle with erectile dysfunction, and kidney disease is certainly one of them. 

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.