Most men understand that maintaining penis health is the key to a healthy sex life. With that in mind, men often take pains to keep their penis in good working order. But some aspects of penis health are dependent on other parts of the body – including the heart. Understanding how the heart affects penis function can help a man maintain his sexual wellbeing.

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The Heart and Erectile Dysfunction

As noted by, there are basically three things needed for an erection:

  • The nerves to the penis must be functioning properly.
  • The blood circulation to the penis must be adequate.
  • There must be a stimulus from the brain.[1]

Cardiovascular issues (that is, heart issues) can have an impact on the second requirement, blood circulation to the penis.

Berkeley Wellness notes that “a man’s heart is connected to his penis in more than a figurative way.”[2]  The erection depends upon a proper influx of blood to the penis, which fills the spongy tissue of the organ, allowing it to expand and harden. In order for this to occur, the heart must be able to pump the blood at a healthy rate. In addition, the penile blood vessels must be able to open up to allow for a sufficient amount of blood to come in.

When either of these aspects is not working well, it can lead to erectile dysfunction. The extent of the dysfunction depends upon the severity of problem with the heart and/or blood vessels.

When the Heart-Penis Connection Breaks Down

Cardiomyopathy (the technical term for a weak heart) happens for many reasons: some medical, some hereditary, some lifestyle-related.[3]  This may result in the chambers of the heart getting larger, which makes the heart work harder for less effect. It might also narrow the arteries that deliver blood to the heart, making the heart pump less efficiently. Sometimes the heart muscle thickens, which prevents blood from leaving the heart easily.

Problems with penile blood vessels often have to do with cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or hardening of the arteries.[4]  In each of these conditions, the blood vessels of the penis can become narrower, keeping blood from rushing in as needed.

It’s easy to see how heart issues can affect erectile dysfunction. But erectile dysfunction can sometimes be an early warning sign of heart issues as well. One study showed that 57% of men who underwent bypass surgery and 64% of those who had a heart attack had a history of erectile dysfunction. And erectile dysfunction is considered as big a risk factor for heart disease as smoking.[5]

A Two-way Street

This connection between heart health and erectile dysfunction is a two-way street. If a man suffers from regular erectile dysfunction, he should consult with a doctor to determine the cause. This may warn him of possible heart issues at an early stage.  Similarly, developing heart disease symptoms may let a man know that erectile dysfunction could be in his future, providing him with more impetus to treat the heart disease issues early and consistently.

The narrow blood vessel issues that can impact both the penis and the heart often respond to the presence of nitric oxide in the blood. Check the label of a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) to see if it contains an amino acid called L-arginine. This ingredient is part of the complex process by which nitric oxide is formed, which can in turn help open up penile blood vessels. A good crème will also help address other common penis health issues, such as dry or cracked penis skin, which requires moisturizing agents like Shea butter and vitamin E.