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Do men who have ED have a plumbing problem?
Is ED just a matter of the pipes being too clogged?
In this newsletter, I want to explore the “blood flow down there.”
And then, I want to look at the question, “Do men with ED have plumbing problems?”
In this study, researchers evaluated a bunch of older men who had various degrees of erectile dysfunction.
They used an ultrasound technique to see if their penile arteries were clogged.
And they did find some clogging.
Coronary artery calcification was more frequent in individuals with ED than in control subjects.
This is the same thing as hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.
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And this study tells us that it may be evident in the penile arteries before it’s evident in the coronary arteries.
ED predicts the presence and extent of subclinical atherosclerosis independent of traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
And in this study, they found that men with blockages in their arteries did show artery blockages in their penis:
Men displaying evidence of penile arterial disease (mild and severe arterial insufficiency) were characterized by elevated CRP levels.
This elevated C-reactive protein level is what I wanted to call to your attention.
CRP becomes high when inflammation becomes high.
So, CRP levels indicate inflammation in the body.
And it’s one of the signs of hardened arteries.
You can get a lab test for CRP or a slightly different lab test for HS CRP.
Then this test will give you an indication of the inflammation inside your body.
Men with high inflammation in the body often have penis problems, and they often get heart problems.
Finally, there is this excellent rabbit study to demonstrate the “plumbing problems” that men have who have ED.
They gave some of the rabbits a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet that led them to develop atherosclerosis.
These rabbits began experiencing erectile dysfunction.
Which indicated that atherosclerosis causes ED.
Then the researchers sacrificed the to look at their penile tissues.
And they found evidence of penile fibrosis and hardening of the arteries.
A close relationship exists between prolonged atherosclerotic occlusion of major penile arteries and the development of erection chamber dysfunction.
A key point is most of the erection problems do not come from the arteries.
Instead, they come from the changes in the erection chambers and the cells that line those erection chambers.
Alterations in corporal smooth muscle relaxation or changes in the structure and fibroelastic properties of erectile tissue.
This is an important point because you have to remember that the penis is not just a bunch of pipes.
It’s also erection chambers that lined with sensitive tissue.
These erection chambers and their sensitive tissue lining must be healthy to have a good erection.
So you see, it may not be as simple as the arteries getting clogged down there.
The plaque buildup does lead to a loss of flexibility in the arteries.
But there is also a loss of use of the erection chambers.
Together these changes are early warning signs that you have inflammation.
And that inflammation may be causing eventual heart problems, stroke, and eventually permanent erectile dysfunction.
Relation of C-reactive protein and other cardiovascular risk factors to penile vascular disease in men with erectile dysfunction
Study of Etiologic Relationship of Arterial Atherosclerosis to Corporal Veno-Occlusive Dysfunction in the Rabbit