High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms, but the impact on your sex life may be obvious. Although sexual activity is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to your health such as a heart attack, high blood pressure can affect overall sexual satisfaction.
Blood vessel damage from high blood pressure (hypertension) reduces blood flow throughout your body. Lower blood flow to the pelvis can affect the sex lives of both men and women.
In a man, erectile dysfunction happens when there’s not enough blood flow to the penis to allow for an erection. High blood pressure damages the lining of blood vessels and causes arteries to harden and narrow (atherosclerosis), limiting blood flow. This means less blood is able to flow to the penis, and a weak erection.
Loss of libido and interest in sex
Women with high blood pressure may have lower libido and less interest in sex, especially if the condition is contributing to fatigue. If a woman’s blood flow to her vagina is reduced, it may also affect how her body responds both before and during intercourse.
With men, high blood pressure can also interfere with ejaculation and reduce sexual desire. Men and women can equally experience anxiety and relationship issues due to sexual dysfunction.
Side Effects of Hypertension medications
High blood pressure medications can cause sexual dysfunction as side effects. A good example will be diuretics which decrease the forceful blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve an erection. They can also deplete the body of zinc, which is necessary to make the sex hormone testosterone.
To reduce the risk of side effects from these medications, including sexual problems, take medications exactly as prescribed.
How can you overcome the challenges?
- Medications for erectile dysfunction such as sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) and tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis) can be safely combined with high blood pressure medications. Talk with your doctor before taking these medications.
- Be honest with your doctor. Having High Blood Pressure is already a lot to deal with, so no need for having a poor sex life. The more your doctor knows about you, the better he or she can treat your high blood pressure, and help you maintain a satisfying sex life. Be prepared to answer questions your doctor may ask, such as:
- What medications are you taking?
- Has your relationship with your sexual partner changed recently?
- Have you been feeling depressed?
- Are you facing more stress than usual?
- Do you have a steady partner? Multiple partners?
- What’s your sexual orientation? Do you have sex with men, women, or both?
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is choosing a healthy blood pressure and eventually a better sex life. Healthy lifestyle choices include:
- Not smoking or using tobacco
- Eating healthy foods
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Reducing the amount of salt in your diet
- Losing extra weight
- Exercising regularly