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Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction?

Man with low testosterone

Men with low testosterone are the subject of a huge wave of direct to consumer television, internet, and radio educational campaigns.  Low-T is the catchphrase used to coin a condition known in medical prose as hypogonadism.

For more information, check out our “Guide to Erectile Dysfunction“.

In short, it seems that according to the latest and greatest medical thinkers that not only women experience menopause but so do men. Officially defined as the reduction of hormone secretion or other physiological activity of the gonads (Testes or ovaries), male menopause involves a reduction in testosterone production.  Do a reduction in testosterone and erectile dysfunction go together?

Research has proven two significant facts dismissing the direct correlation between low testosterone and ED problems:

  1. Normal erectile function does not require normal testosterone levels
  2. Increasing testosterone levels does not increase frequency or strength of erection

If this is true, why do we see sexual dysfunction listed as a symptom of low testosterone (Low-T) in men?

Low testosterone and sex

Testosterone and libido

Testosterone is important for sexuality and sexual desire in both men and women.  However, what does a man do who experiences erectile dysfunction and has an increase in desire without the ability to create an erection for intercourse? It is widely known that testosterone isn’t a helpful treatment for ED, however, it is great for increasing sexual desire.

Sources support testosterone and Cialis for men who are taking testosterone replacement therapy and suffer from ED.  A penis pump is also a great option for men.  Especially if they don’t want to introduce chemicals or drugs into their bodies.

Many men who have organic impotence as the underlying cause of ED may not respond well to oral erectile dysfunction medications, thus making a penis pump an even better option for treating their erectile dysfunction with or without testosterone replacement therapy.

Are there any circumstances when testosterone replacement therapy can be a treatment for erectile dysfunction?  Testosterone replacement therapy has the potential to be a treatment for cases in which the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction is psychogenic

Testosterone replacement therapy is known to have a positive impact on men who have depression or cognitive impairment related to low testosterone.  If erectile dysfunction in men is related to either of these conditions there is some probability that testosterone replacement therapy could have a positive impact on erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms of low testosterone in men

Symptoms of low testosterone can occur when testosterone levels decline in men.  As a point of reference, the below chart demonstrates a range of what is considered normal testosterone levels at various ages.

Testosterone level chart

The following symptoms of low T are common:

What is testosterone replacement?

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a method of supplementing testosterone by the delivery of additional synthetic testosterone into the body to compensate for deficits in normal testosterone levels.   The pituitary gland and brain control the production of testosterone. So, supplementation occurs when this normal cycle of creation produces less of the hormone and administration or additional testosterone occurs.

There are many forms of testosterone supplementation, the following methods are commonly used:

There are many controversies that exist around benefits and risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy. The touted benefits include:

Can low testosterone cause ED?

At a minimum, low testosterone can reduce the ability to have enjoyable sex.  Low testosterone is often the cause of decreases in libido and if natural testosterone is reduced to significantly low levels all men will experience some decline in sex drive.

It is not unusual for other issues to be responsible for a decrease in sex drive, so it is best to work with your physician to get your testosterone levels checked before jumping to conclusions about changes in libido or sex drive are the result of low-T.  Stress, lack of sleep, and mental illness may all be related to loss of libido and sexual desire.

Testosterone and erections

The endocrine system through the normal functioning of the testes is responsible for the production of both testosterone and sperm.  Very seldom are problems in the endocrine system and testosterone production directly linked to erectile dysfunction.  Exceptions may exist, but they are rare.

This said, some men with normal testosterone levels and ED are given exogenous androgen therapy and report improvements in erectile function.  It is suspected that performance enhancement may be possible and often occurs through testosterone replacement therapy.  Typically, these men do not have organic erectile dysfunction. They are healthy and do not have a diagnosis of either moderate or severe erectile dysfunction.

 In cases of improved erections and testosterone replacement therapy, the cause of ED, if erectile dysfunction is present, is often psychogenic rather than organic.  In this respect, testosterone therapy replacement and use of PD5 inhibitors in healthy men may both improve erectile function in men that are able to achieve nocturnal erections.

Testosterone booster benefits

Natural testosterone boosters are thought to be found in foods, herbs, and certain vitamins.  If you are concerned about synthetic testosterone side effects to talk to your doctor about any of the following natural testosterone boosters:

Side effects of taking testosterone

The popularity of testosterone replacement therapy is skyrocketing.  Published studies indicate that as many as 10 million men who were taking testosterone were recently tracked and studied. Direct to consumer marketing strategies have been successful and the number of men prescribed testosterone has tripled since 2001.

Along with reported benefits, risks and negative side effects are possible with testosterone replacement therapy.  Recently the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article that attempts to create a correlation between heart attack and testosterone replacement. 

Dr. Neal Rouzier has publicly criticized the findings while other studies have found no correlations between heart attack and testosterone. While controversies abound, the following side effects should be discussed with your physician.  The following negative side effects are reported by some sources and exonerated by others: