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Beta-Blockers and Erectile Dysfunction: What You Need to Know

In the tapestry of health conversations, there’s one thread often left unspoken due to its sensitive nature – erectile dysfunction (ED). This condition, affecting countless men globally, can be hard to discuss. The part that’s usually missed in this conversation? The problem could be in your medicine cabinet right now, a common prescription for heart issues—beta-blockers.

Your doctor probably told you that beta blockers are your ticket to better health, failing to mention how they might impact other aspects of your health. This relationship between the cardiovascular system and sexual function is as intimate as what goes on in the bedroom.

Erectile Dysfunction and Its Connection to Heart Health

Erectile dysfunction (ED), often viewed solely through the lens of the male reproductive system, is more intricately woven into our overall cardiovascular health than commonly understood. After all, the journey to achieving a healthy sexual response navigates through a complex network, where the heart and blood vessels play crucial roles.

In simple terms, an erection is a vascular event that hinges on a precise physiological process. Blood vessels leading to the penis must expand to accommodate an influx of blood, while those carrying blood away must constrict, effectively trapping the blood in place. Unfortunately, high blood pressure often interrupts this process.

Over time, hypertension damages the delicate inner lining of blood vessels. This damage to the endothelium sets off a cascade of events leading to atherosclerosis—a condition where plaque builds up within the arteries. Plaque narrows the passageways, impeding blood flow around the body, including to the penis.

Compounding this issue is that high blood pressure is often associated with lower production of nitric oxide, a vital substance in achieving an erection. Nitric oxide induces relaxation in the penis muscles, facilitating blood vessel dilation and increased blood flow. A dip in nitric oxide levels could hence contribute to ED.

In essence, the conversation around erectile dysfunction extends beyond sexual health—it’s a mirror reflecting our cardiovascular wellness. High blood pressure, and its bedfellow inflammation, can disrupt the harmony required for sexual function. Aligning our lifestyle choices with the “Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well” motto is an effective strategy not only against high blood pressure and heart disease, but also in managing, and potentially even preventing, ED.

The Impact of Beta Blockers on Sexual Health

As discussed earlier, erections are vascular events relying heavily on adequate blood flow. Blood flow to the penis, a crucial element for an erection, hinges on a careful balance maintained by the nervous system. It juggles signals that kickstart an erection with those that bring it back to a relaxed state. Beta-blockers, however, have the potential to upset this equilibrium.

Research reveals that these medications put a lid on the effects of adrenaline, a hormone that takes center stage in our body’s “fight or flight” response. Reigning in adrenaline can ease a rapid heartbeat and deflate high blood pressure. Still, it may also inadvertently block some pivotal signals that ignite the sequence of events leading to an erection.

Moreover, during an erection, blood pressure and heart rate increase to deliver adequate blood flow to the penis. When these vital components are artificially suppressed, the body may not have enough blood flow to have or maintain an erection.

Beta-blockers also contribute to sexual dysfunction in indirect ways. For example, research shows that many men taking beta-blockers report feeling more fatigued, less physically energetic, or even slightly depressed. These side effects can lower libido and contribute to ED.

Unsurprisingly, research has placed less focus on female sexual dysfunction compared to men. Yet, it’s clear from the studies that have been done that high blood pressure and beta blockers don’t discriminate—they significantly influence sexual function in women as well.

Do other blood pressure medications also cause ED?

Beta-blockers aren’t the only blood pressure medications that can shake things up in the bedroom. Diuretics, or “water pills” also play a part in erectile dysfunction.

Diuretics help control blood pressure by nudging the kidneys to send more salt and water on their way out of the body. Unfortunately, they also decrease blood flow to the penis, turning the seemingly simple task of achieving an erection into a significant challenge. Moreover, diuretics drain the body’s supply of essential minerals, zinc included. Zinc is a key player in producing testosterone, the hormone that gets the ball rolling in male sexual arousal.

Beyond beta-blockers and diuretics, other blood pressure medications like calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors also may impede sexual function. Unfortunately, any drugs that alter blood pressure can negatively affect sexual health.

What’s the solution to sexual dysfunction?

For many men grappling with impotence caused by beta blockers, the common route is a prescription for additional medications, like sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra) or tadalafil (you might recognize it as Cialis). These drugs can turn things around in the sexual function department but don’t come without significant risks.

Moreover, this approach can become a pharmaceutical cascade – treating one health issue with a drug that causes a side effect, which is then managed with another drug, potentially leading to additional side effects. This cycle continues, leading us further away from the root cause of the problem. The solution to high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction often lies not in another prescription but in returning to our fundamentals: “Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well.”

Lowering inflammation, the common factor linking high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction should be the priority. Adopting an organic diet rich in vegetables, nuts, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, and wild seafood is a great start. Removing toxins from the home, ensuring adequate exposure to sunshine for a healthy dose of Vitamin D, getting sufficient sleep, and moving more to improve circulation are all part of this process.

Boosting nitric oxide naturally also presents an effective strategy for managing erectile dysfunction. Nitric oxide plays a critical role in the erectile process, as it relaxes blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow into the penis. Interestingly, sunlight can help enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body.

Moreover, certain foods and supplements, like organic beetroot powder and the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline, can also elevate nitric oxide levels. In fact, our Heart Beet and Vessel Support supplements are rich in these beneficial ingredients. So why not enjoy a serving of these in your favorite healthy beverage while basking in the sun?

It’s equally important to reduce stress, which triggers inflammation and can raise blood pressure. Mind-body practices such as meditation, yoga, or even simply spending time in nature can help. Lastly, consider getting chiropractic care. While often associated with back pain relief, chiropractic adjustments can help the body function optimally, lower stress levels, and improve sexual well-being.

Next Steps

Are you feeling challenged by sexual dysfunction, dealing with high blood pressure, or adjusting to life on beta blockers? Know this: you’re not navigating these waters by yourself. But remember, tackling these issues isn’t about a quick fix but a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

We invite you to reach out for a complimentary 20-minute call with an NHD health coach. Our team can provide guidance and support as you make the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce inflammation and improve your cardiovascular and sexual health.

In order to live well, one must eat well.

Get the Natural Heart Doctor approved Diet and discover how to eat for your 100 Year Heart.

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Discover how we can help you achieve your 100 Year Heart.

About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.