HomeHealth A-ZHigh Blood Pressure and Sex: How to overcome these challenges?

High Blood Pressure and Sex: How to overcome these challenges?

High blood pressure can have a significant impact on your life, especially your sex life. Although if you have high blood pressure, indulging in sexual activities will not affect your life, but it can affect your overall satisfaction with sex. 

There has been a connection between high blood pressure and sexual problems in men. In women, high blood pressure effects on sexual activity has not been studied enough. 

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a medical condition that occurs when the blood pressure against your arteries’ walls is higher than usual. If your heart pumps more blood and your arteries are narrower, your blood pressure will be higher. It may cause several health problems like stroke or heart diseases.

Challenges faced during sexual activity – Men

Over a period, high blood pressure causes damage to the lining of the arteries. It makes them narrower, which limits the blood flow. As a result, the amount of blood that reaches the penis is less.

Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual problem men may face. It is because the decreased flow of blood to the penis makes it difficult for them to achieve and maintain erections. High blood pressure can also cause problems with ejaculation. It may also reduce sex drive. 

Sometimes, high blood pressure medications cause these problems. 

Even a single incident of erectile dysfunction can cause fear and anxiety in men. It may lead them to believe they will never be able to satisfy their partners. Sometimes, men avoid having sex because of these problems, affecting their relationships with their partners.

High blood pressure and erectile dysfunction medications

A combination of erectile dysfunction drugs such as vardenafil, tadalafil, or sildenafil, and high blood pressure medication is usually safe. But taking these drugs without a prescription can be dangerous. You may consult with a doctor and let him/her decide which drugs will work best for you. 

High blood pressure medications that cause side effects

Some of the high blood pressure medications cause side effects in men. One of the most common side effects is erectile dysfunction. These medications include:

  • Diuretics: Diuretics, also known as water pills, may decrease the flow of blood to the penis that can make it tough to have an erection. It can also reduce the amount of  zinc in the body  required for the production of testosterone.
  • Beta-blockers: Medications, such as propranolol, are commonly related to sexual problems. 

Take these medications as prescribed to reduce its side effects. If you continue to see the side effects, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you alternate medications with lesser side effects.

Challenges faced during sexual activity – Women

There isn’t enough data available on how high blood pressure affects a woman’s sex life. But experts believe that high blood pressure may cause sexual problems in women as well.

High blood pressure reduces the amount of blood that flows to the vagina. In some women, this leads to vaginal dryness, difficulty getting aroused, or problems with orgasm. 

Women can also experience anxiety issues because of sexual dysfunction. 

If you are facing issues in your sexual life and activities, you must consult a doctor. Discussing these issues with a doctor can help you understand the problem better and find a solution to it.

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Medications for high blood pressure that cause lesser side effects

If you  experience sexual side effects from your high blood pressure medicines, you can ask your doctor for alternate medications. Some high blood pressure medicines that cause fewer side effects are:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

Medications such as captopril, lisinopril, and benazepril relax the blood vessels. They also block the production of a chemical that narrows blood vessels. 

  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

These medications block the action of the chemical that narrows blood vessels. ARBs include medicines such as Losartan and Candesartan. 

  • Calcium channel blockers

Medications such as Diltiazem and Amlodipine relax the blood vessels’ muscles and slow down the heart rate. 

Your doctor will be able to prescribe the right medications if you are frank with them about your sexual problems. If you are taking medications or supplements for other health-related problems, share that with your doctor as well. Sometimes, a combination of certain supplements and medications contributes to sexual problems. 

High blood pressure, heart attacks, and sex

Heart attacks can occur at any point in your life. Some people suffer from heart attacks during sexual activities. But the chances of this happening are low. Sexual activities raise your blood pressure, but only about as much as climbing up a flight of stairs. 

According to the American Journal of Cardiology, sexual activities cause less than 1 percent of heart attacks. Within two hours of sexual activities, the odds of suffering a heart attack are one in 50,000. 

If you have any concerns regarding your high blood pressure and suffering a heart attack during sex, consult with a doctor. He/she may be able to give you a solution to your sexual problems.

Healthy lifestyle choices

By keeping healthy lifestyle choices, you can keep your blood pressure in check. It may help improve your sex life as well and solve your overall sexual problems. You can include these healthy choices in your lifestyle:

  • Eating healthy and nutritious food
  • Reducing the salt content in your food
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes

Talk with your partner.

An honest and open conversation with your partner can do wonders for your sex life. Discuss what type of sexual activities you like to indulge in with your partner. Explore more ways to be physically intimate such as massages or warm soaks. Try and initiate sex when you and your partner are both in the mood. It will help with satisfaction from sex. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does high blood pressure affect a man sexually?

In some men, high blood pressure decreases the amount of blood flow to the penis – making it difficult for them to achieve and maintain an erection. High blood pressure may also cause problems with ejaculation and reduce sexual desire.

If you experience any of these sexual problems, consult with a doctor before taking any medications or drugs.

Is it harmful to take erectile dysfunction drugs with high blood pressure medications?

It is usually safe to take erectile dysfunction drugs with high blood pressure medications. But a consultation with a doctor first is recommended. He/She may be able to help you decide which drugs and medicines are the best for you.

Do high blood pressure medications affect the sperms?

Along with causing erectile dysfunction and decreased libido, high blood pressure medications may affect the ability of the sperms to fertilize eggs.

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Verified By Dr Paresh Kumar Jena
Senior Consultant - General Medicine & Rheumatologist, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar

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