Can caffeine help you in the bedroom? Specifically, can caffeine help with erectile dysfunction?
Although it would be great if a cup of coffee were an easy fix for erectile dysfunction, it’s not that simple. Caffeine has some health benefits, and it can boost your mood and energy levels. But it’s not a cure-all for erectile dysfunction.
Erectile Dysfunction Basics
Every man has occasional problems getting or keeping an erection. But when it happens regularly, you may have erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is a common problem for men. About 30 million men in the U.S. suffer from ED. Although it becomes more common as men get older, it’s not a normal part of aging.
Typical treatment for ED includes:
- Lifestyle changes (losing weight, exercising, eating healthier).
- Oral medication such as Viagra and Cialis.
- Penile implants.
- Testosterone therapy.
- Vacuum devices.
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What Causes ED?
ED can have several causes. It may have psychological roots, like stress or relationship problems. In that case, therapy or couples counseling is a good option for treatment.
More often, ED has a physical cause. It often goes hand-in-hand with heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If the blood flow to the penis gets restricted, a man may have trouble getting or keeping an erection.
How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine is a substance that appears naturally in tea and coffee. It’s also in energy drinks and many sodas. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, triggering a burst of energy and alertness.
Nearly 90% of all Americans consume some form of caffeine every day. About 70% of that comes from coffee.
Does Coffee Benefit Men With ED?
Caffeine opens up blood vessels in the body, which may improve blood flow. Caffeine may also help relax smooth muscle tissue in the penis. In theory, that might make it easier to get and keep an erection.
A 2015 study looked at the connection between caffeine and ED in more than 3,700 men. The men who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee daily had a slightly lower rate of ED than non-coffee drinkers.
However, the same authors did a much larger study (of more than 21,000 men) in 2017. This time, they found no link between drinking coffee and ED. So, while coffee has many benefits, curing ED isn’t one of them.
Is Coffee Good for You?
Even though coffee may not directly affect ED, drinking a few cups a day may still be good for you. And your overall health is an important factor in your sexual and reproductive health.
Coffee contains vitamins and minerals (i.e. riboflavin, magnesium) that help the body function. It also has antioxidants that help protect against diseases like cancer.
Moderate amounts of coffee (up to 3 cups per day) may even lower your risk of diabetes and depression. Both are risk factors for ED.
Coffee can also boost your metabolic (fat burning) rate, which may help you lose weight. Being overweight is another major risk factor for ED.
Side Effects of Coffee in Males
A few cups of coffee per day can produce beneficial results. But drinking too much coffee may cause problems. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others.
Signs that you’re drinking too much coffee include:
- Heart palpitations.
- Jittery feelings.
- Rapid or racing heartbeat.
- Sleep disruptions.
- Temporarily high blood pressure.
If you feel your coffee habit is causing health problems, discuss your caffeine intake with your doctor.
Will Energy Drinks Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
In recent years, energy drinks have become popular, especially with young men. Some contain large amounts of caffeine and other legal stimulants. You should consume them with caution.
Long-term consumption of energy drinks, especially in large quantities, may lead to:
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
The risk of heart problems is higher when you combine energy drinks with alcohol. But there’s no evidence that energy drinks cause ED.
Your doctor is the best person to ask about ED and the effects of caffeine on your health.
National Institutes of Health, Role of Caffeine Intake on Erectile Dysfunction in U.S. Men, Link
American Journal of Epidemiology, Coffee Intake and Incidence of Erectile Dysfunction, Link
International Society for Sexual Medicine, Can increasing caffeine intake help with erectile dysfunction (ED)? Link
MDlinx, Does caffeine have an effect on your sex life? Link
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, What is Erectile Dysfunction? Link
National Institutes of Health, Long-term consumption of energy drinks induces biochemical and ultrastructural alterations in the heart muscle, Link
National Library of Medicine, Coffee and Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Link
National Institutes of Health, Antioxidant and Antiradical Activity of Coffee, Link
Wiley Online Library, Coffee, Tea, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression, Link
National Library of Medicine, Changes in Caffeine Intake and Long-Term Weight Change in Men and Women, Link
Urology Care Foundation, What Is Erectile Dysfunction ? Link
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