Genetics And Erectile Dysfunction: Can Men Be Predisposed To Impotence?

UPGUYS > Blog > ED Treatment > Genetics and Erectile Dysfunction: Can Men Be Predisposed to Impotence?

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team Published on August 08, 2022

Did you know that diagnosing rare inherited diseases can cost $20,000? It can also take nearly five to seven years before receiving a diagnosis. Have you ever wondered if genetics and erectile dysfunction are connected?

There are many avenues in which genetics plays a role in erectile dysfunction, including your predisposition to heart disease or obesity. While most men may feel self-conscious over their lack of erections, finding the primary cause could save their life. 

For example, diagnosing high blood pressure early-on could save you from a stroke later.

Are you still interested? At UPGUYS, we have compiled a complete guide to reviewing how genetics impacts erectile dysfunction and what you can start doing about it today, so keep reading on for more information!

In this article, we talk about the following:


What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a male disorder involving erections. Or rather, the lack thereof. It is an inability to maintain an erection or the inability to achieve an erection for penetrative sex. 

As you can imagine, this can drastically affect your relationship with partners or spouses and hinder confidence in the bedroom.

Arguably, one of the most dangerous effects of erectile dysfunction symptoms is that it could indicate more significant health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity.

Unlike many opinions flourishing on the internet, erectile dysfunction can also affect any male once they have reached sexual maturity. While the risks tend to increase with age, young men in their 20s and 30s may occasionally suffer through bouts of erectile dysfunction. 

At what point is erectile dysfunction a problem? If you have had an off night in the bedroom and are suddenly worried, don't turn to your fellow internet friends. While some medical professionals and experts may vary in their definitive percentages, it is time to call your doctor if you notice reduced or non-existent erections more than 25% of the time.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

ED causes are a bit convoluted since many speculate whether it is all psychologically based.

Younger men are primarily at risk for mental health illnesses, stress, or other issues that carry over to their sexual health. However, physical and psychological causes can still occur in any group, and here are some of the most common:

  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal disorders

One of the primary reasons why men develop difficulties with erections is poor blood flow. This can come from two problems:

  • Blocked arteries 
  • Poor blood flow

Atherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque on your arterial walls, limits blood to your penis. On the other hand, conditions like hypertension can damage arteries and worsen blood flow. The corpus cavernosum are chambers in your penis filled with blood vessels. 

These are not large blood vessels compared to other arteries but are important to erection quality. When erections happen, muscles relax, and blood vessels expand, allowing more blood flow to the area. 

Genetics and Erectile Dysfunction

Genetics and erectile dysfunction are tied in three different ways: medical conditions, genetic variants, and hormonal imbalances. Several medical conditions exist that can predispose you to erection problems, like:

  • Heart disease
  • Renal failure
  • Diabetes

There are several medical journals and studies that highlight the importance of genetic testing for vascular or lipid disorders. While not directly linked to erectile dysfunction, it can increase one's risk. Renal failure and diabetes fall into similar categories. 

Even type 2 diabetes has some ties to genetics. Currently, there are approximately 13 genes that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some experts predict that it has stronger genetic ties than type 1 diabetes. 

Next, there are genetic variants specific to erection problems. Research is more limited in this field compared to heart disease and diabetes. 

The most recent studies are pulled from around 2018. The study found that a specific genetic variant labelled SIM1 could be one of the root causes of erection difficulties. Participants involved in the study did not have differences in BMI, indicating other risk factors. 

These studies are mainly in their infancy. There is still a growing need for more research-driven evidence on genetic variants and testing for erectile dysfunction. 

Hormonal Imbalances

Lastly, there are some genetic ties to hormonal imbalances. Low testosterone levels can result in difficulties with penetrative sex.

Testosterone does play a role in erection quality. It helps with erectile function timing, leading to longer-lasting results

Researchers have found that there are genetic variants that cause low testosterone. In males, it can affect upwards of 40% after 50 years old. There are nearly 141 genetic loci that can be risk factors for lower testosterone and is an integral part of your erections. 

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Now that you know more about how genetics plays a role in erectile dysfunction, let's dive into effective ED treatments. There are plenty of advertisements for invasive measures for erectile dysfunction treatments, such as a penile implant. Treatment for ED could be something as simple as seeing a therapist for your relationship. 

If you have added stress on your plate or deal with depression, this might be the most helpful. However, it is crucial that you always talk to a qualified medical professional first about your symptoms. They can rule out other medical diagnoses.

What about natural remedies or supplements? These could indirectly help in some instances.

Studies found that up to 600 mg of CBD reduced feelings of stress or worry. In return, this could improve performance-based hardships. The primary treatment remains medications.

PDE5 inhibitors are prescription medications designed to improve blood flow to penile tissues. You may better know it by Viagra or the little blue pill. Yet, several others have similar effectiveness, such as:

In some cases, you may be able to combine PDE5 inhibitors with heart medication. It is essential you talk to your provider first about any previous heart attacks or current medication use. 

Is Genetic Testing Helpful for Erectile Dysfunction?

There are several genetic tests for cardiac disease and other conditions. These can be useful for narrowing down your erectile dysfunction causes. 

However, they aren't always necessary; the next step would be male infertility.

Sometimes, infertility tests can also tell you more about your erection problems. While variants specific to erectile dysfunction have been identified, finding accurate and reliable tests remains the next research phase. 

When Should You Worry?

Ultimately, when you start noticing erection problems, you should always have your health checked. High blood pressure is more common in seniors and can often go undetected. 

Seeking support early on can protect your overall health, including sexual performance. Problems with ejaculation could also be a sign you should talk to your health provider, such as:

While they are technically different erectile dysfunction disorders, they can coincide. As a good rule of thumb, contact your provider if you notice sudden changes in your sexual health or have a decreased libido

Future of Genetics and Erectile Dysfunction

Routine genetic or DNA testing is only performed in limited instances and specialties. Infertility, cancer, and cardiac diseases drive a lot of the current tests. Less commonplace variant testing like erectile dysfunction lag behind. 

Yet, the future of genetic testing is bright. Hybrid genetic testing models and approaches are increasing in popularity versus commercial systems. There are still several hurdles to overcome, including costs and logistics. 

Many people are often unaware of how beneficial genetics can be toward developing individualized care plans. For now, you will likely find the most prevalent testing for cardiac, diabetes, and obesity variants. 

These shouldn't be neglected since they are important for overall health. Next, you can always follow up with your physician regarding testing specific to erectile dysfunction. 

Improving Your Sexual Health

Genetics and erectile dysfunction have a long and intertwined history. Problems with erections can be one of the first indicators of a medical condition. It can also highlight mental health illnesses, helping you take the first step toward seeking help. 

Genetic variants for erectile dysfunction are in the beginning phases of research. There are promising results thus far, and future studies may suggest how you can start getting tested. 

For now, at UPGUYS, we are here to supply you with all you need to know regarding men's health. Check out the rest of UPGUYS blog for more information!


Disclaimer
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.