Depression and erectile dysfunction

A psychological concern like depression can lead to psychogenic erectile dysfunction (ED) in males. Depression is a common yet serious mental illness that impacts the way you feel, respond, and think. It interferes with sexual feelings and arousal, which affects the sexual function.  

What causes depression?

Depression is a serious mental illness that influences the psyche. It negatively impacts the way you generally feel, think, or act. It is a common mental health concern that is treatable. It can cause feelings of sadness, negative emotions, and grief. Due to such heavy emotions, the person may lose interest in everything. 

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a disorder in males that is related to sexual health. It is characterized by erection difficulties. The person with this sexual condition fails to get or sustain erections. The erection difficulties stem from a lack of adequate blood flow to the penile.

The reason for the hindrance of blood supply to the penile is because of some physiological or psychological problems, or sometimes both. Physical health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc., come under physiological causes. Whereas psychological factors like stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Interfere with arousal and affect erection function.

How does depression lead to erectile dysfunction?

Individuals with depression may struggle to experience sexual satisfaction. Depression can affect the sexual function in following ways:

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction:

Depressed individuals may struggle to get or maintain erections. This can happen because of psychological reasons. Depression causes chemical imbalances in the brain. The brain has a vital role in healthy erection function.   

After some sexual stimulation, the person becomes sexually aroused. The brain sends signals to the nerves in the penile to indicate sexual arousal. In response to brain signals, the penile nerves increase the release of a chemical known as nitric oxide (NO), in the walls of the penile blood vessels.

NO causes vasodilation, which boosts the flow of blood to the penile. The blood then gets trapped inside the arteries, thereby promoting harder erections. However, in case of depressed people, the brain fails to indicate it to the penile about arousal.

Lack of proper signal transmission affects their ability to get and sustain firmer erections. The chemical imbalances in the brain happening because of depression interferes with arousal and intimacy.

Decreases the sex drive or libido:

The sex drive or libido is the desire for sex. The higher the sex drive, the better will be the interest in sexual intimacy. Since, depression triggers feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, etc., the person’s inclination towards intimate activities dwindles.

Their sex drive decreases, and they may avoid becoming intimate. Even if they try to have sex, the negative emotions and feelings may occupy their minds and interfere with sexual function.

Changes the sexual response:

The person with depression may experience sudden mood changes. Sometimes they feel good and other times they are in a miserable condition. These mood changes affect their sex life. This happens because of chemical imbalances in the brain, which are induced by depressing feelings and emotions.  

They might even lose their erections during sexual activity. This can contribute to frustration and sexual distress.

Causes fatigue:

Fatigue is characterized by feelings of low energy and extreme tiredness. Those having depression commonly suffer from feelings of low energy. They may lack the desire to become intimate. They might not even get sexually aroused even after sexual stimulation.

Such individuals may avoid getting intimate and consider sexual interaction as a tiresome activity that requires too much stamina and energy. Depression might leave them completely exhausted both physically as well as mentally.

Depression and erectile dysfunction

Given below are some effective ways to prevent the worsening of erectile dysfunction symptoms during depression:


Exercising daily benefits your physical and mental health. Your mind and body become refreshed when you move and sweat. Daily physical activity helps manage depressive thoughts and boosts circulation throughout the body, which ensures optimal health and hence healthy sexual function.

Quit smoke:

Some men might releive their depression symptoms with smoking. But it might relieve the symptoms temporarily. The feelings will return after some time. This can worsen the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, as smoking affects vascular health and function.


Talk to your partner or someone you trust. This will provide an outlet for negative thoughts and low feelings. You can also take therapy sessions.

Seek professional help:

You can consult a mental healthcare professional. They can prescribe you some antidepressants to subside the depressive thoughts and feelings.  

Use ED medicines: Medicines like Filagra oral jelly cherry flavor can alleviate erection difficulties and the flavor refreshes your mood. 

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