Avoiding erectile dysfunction is clearly a priority for most men and maintaining good penis health is one way to help. However, sometimes there are physical issues which can contribute to erectile dysfunction which may seem to be somewhat far removed from the penis. That’s because the body is a complex, interrelated system, and so a problem in one area of the body can have ramifications in another part. That’s the case with gallstones, which have been found to be associated with a higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
What are gallstone?
Also called gallbladder stones, gallstones are made up of digestive fluid that has become hardened and solidified. The digestive fluid in this case is bile, which the gallbladder produces as its contribution to helping breakdown food and drink which a person consumes. Normally, the bile flows along from the gallbladder to the small intestine, but sometimes it hardens into gallstones.
What causes it to stop being normal bile and instead become gallstones? Doctors are not exactly sure, but it seems to occur when the body produces either too much cholesterol or too much bilibrubin. (Bilirubin is created by the liver to help break down red blood cells.) It also seems that sometimes the gallbladder doesn’t rid itself of enough bile; if too much bile stays in the gallbladder, it can also contribute to forming gallstones.
Often gallstones can be very small land therefore may cause no symptoms. However, when they are larger, they may get stuck in a duct, and this can be quite painful. Common symptoms in this case include sudden and intense pain in the upper right part and/or the center of the abdomen and between the shoulder blades or shoulder. Nausea and vomiting often also occur. In serious cases, the skin and eyes may become yellow, and a high fever (sometimes accompanied by chills) may develop.
The erectile dysfunction connection
Clearly, gallstones are no fun – but why should they contribute to erectile dysfunction? According to an article in the American Journal of Men’s Health which looked at over 9000 men with gallstones and over 9000 without, and found that the rate of erectile dysfunction was about 50% higher in the gallstone group.
More study is needed to determine exactly why there is a link, but one of the theories put forward is that gallstones create oxidative stress, which may lead to impaired blood flow in the penis; open and adequate blood flow is necessary and crucial for proper erectile function.
Preventing gallstones is in a man’s best interest. Since they are associated with obesity, maintaining a healthy weight is the best route to take. Men who are overweight should avoid programs which bring about rapid weight loss, as this can raise the risk for developing gallstones. Maintaining regular meals is also a good way to prevent the issue; skipping meals or fasting also raises the risk of gallstones.
Many gallstones resolve naturally. Treatment for those that don’t may include oral medications to help break up the gallstones, but this can take a long time. In some cases, removing the gallbladder may be necessary.
Gallstones’ impact in erectile dysfunction is still being studied. In the meantime, men are advised to take steps to prevent them and to maintain good penis health. Regular use of a first class penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can help with the latter. Take time to see what is in any potential crème selections. The best should include a wide range of vitamins, including A, B5, C, D and E; their tropical application via a crème helps them target the penis more effectively. The crème should also include a potent antioxidant, such as alpha lipoic acid, to help fight oxidative stress on delicate penile skin.