Psoriasis and ED are connected according to recent studies. The connection is strongest in the most severe psoriasis cases. Here, you can learn more about the recent study and also about getting help for both conditions.
What the Study Says
The study was conducted to try and determine the cause of the connection between psoriasis and ED. Researchers theorized that the metabolic syndrome might be the underlying cause of both erectile dysfunction and psoriasis.
The metabolic syndrome is a disorder diagnosed when patients have three out of the five following medical conditions: high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, high blood triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol levels and excessive abdominal fat, also called central obesity. Judging from the findings in the recent study, metabolic syndrome is not the connection.
The study was conducted by interviewing and examining male patients with and without psoriasis. Erectile dysfunction was significantly more common in the psoriasis group. But neither psoriasis nor ED were more common in the men with metabolic syndrome.
So, like most scientific studies, this one answered one question but left other questions unanswered. The connection between psoriasis and ED was confirmed but no cause was found. The study did reveal that smoking and depression could be underlying causes or contributing factors, because many of the men with both conditions were smokers and/or they were depressed.
Smoking damages blood vessels throughout the body by raising blood pressure and increasing the level of free radical molecules in the bloodstream. The tiny blood vessels that nourish the penis are among the most easily damaged.
Depression can be a cause or an effect of erectile dysfunction according to a number of studies. There are several articles on this website devoted to the depression-ED connection.
The connection between psoriasis and ED could be a psychological one. Psoriasis is known to cause or contribute to depression and low quality of life. People who suffer from severe psoriasis often avoid social interaction. It may be that psoriasis causes the depression, which in turn causes the erectile dysfunction.
Another possibility is that the chronic inflammation seen in psoriasis leads to ED. In chronic inflammation, there is a higher than normal level of inflammatory molecules flowing through the bloodstream. These molecules are known to damage the blood vessels and contribute to free radical damage. Addressing the underlying inflammation could help both conditions.
The classic treatments for psoriasis are only moderately effective, which is one of the reasons the condition often leads to depression. Anyone who suffers from the condition can easily become frustrated from trying one treatment after another and seeing little or no improvement in the condition.
Several new studies have been conducted concerning the benefits of natural treatments for psoriasis. The researchers looked at many different natural options, including weight loss. Obesity is known to contribute to chronic inflammation. Weight loss reduces the “pro-inflammatory state” and helps to improve the skin condition.
Another natural option is the gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat products, such as bread. People with celiac disease have a complete intolerance to gluten that causes all kinds of health problems. In recent years, researchers have determined that many people who do not have celiac disease are “gluten sensitive”. Like obesity, gluten sensitivity increases the pro-inflammatory state. There is some evidence that a gluten-free diet is beneficial for psoriasis, probably due to the reduction of inflammation.
When it comes to dietary supplements, there are numerous studies showing that fish oil is beneficial for psoriasis. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have natural anti-inflammatory activity. Fish oil has also proven to be beneficial for erectile dysfunction in at least one study. The benefits could be due to how fish oil protects the blood vessels. It is considered a heart-healthy supplement.
In addition to fish oil, there are many natural products that may help ED by boosting testosterone levels. For example, Tribulus Terrestris is an herb that is recognized as a natural testosterone booster.
If you are in relatively good health, you might consider Viagra or one of the other medications that help improve blood flow to the penis. You could also talk to your doctor about new hormone replacement therapies for older men that help increase testosterone levels, which helps erectile dysfunction when low testosterone is a cause of the problem.
The Bottom Line on ED and Psoriasis
The connection between ED and psoriasis is still unclear. It seems likely that chronic inflammation plays a role in both conditions. The pro-inflammatory state is a generally unhealthy one that increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Reducing the inflammation in your body could improve your health in many ways.