What everyone should know about high blood pressure and your partner's sex life
You probably already know high blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, but did you also know it can be a cause of sexual problems. Hypertension can lead to erectile dysfunction, lower libidos and less interest in sex for both men and women. But it doesn’t have to.
Sure, sometimes Kayla and Brandon disagreed about what color to paint the walls or what groceries were “essential,” but the two of them had never had problems getting it on in bed. Oh, they definitely knew each other very well.But recently Brandon had some troubles keeping it up. At first, Kayla just thought it was her and that he needed some kind of a change to what they usually did, but later Brandon admitted that as of late, he just couldn’t seem to maintain an erection, and that it took way too much effort to go long. It wasn’t that he wasn’t aroused; his body just wasn’t keeping up.Before their relationship started sour, Brandon went to his doctor to see if he could figure out what was going on. What he heard surprised him — the erectile dysfunction was actually a symptom of prehypertension, a slightly raised blood pressure, which could eventually lead to a much more serious cardiac event like a heart attack.
High blood pressure can hurt your sex life
Maybe Kayla and Brandon’s case doesn’t seem like what goes on with you and your significant other, but it very well could. Everyone has a blood pressure and everyone needs to keep their blood pressures at a normal range in order to stay healthy.Most people know that high blood pressure is not a good thing. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) overworks your body’s heart and other organs. The high blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular problems and can significantly increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.But just like in the case of Kayla and Brandon, blood pressure can also impact your sex life as well.
How does hypertension impact sex?
Remember that hypertension is something that can affect every organ in your body. Hypertension affects the flow of blood, which is something our entire body needs—from our brains to our hands to our gallbladders. Therefore the effects of hypertension can be seen all throughout our bodies.Over time, high blood pressure can damage the lining of blood vessels and can cause the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Specifically relevant for sexy time, hypertension can restrict adequate flow to the pelvic region and affect the sex lives of both men and women.
High blood pressure impacts sex both men and women
Keeping it up gets harder when your blood pressure is up. In men, it’s probably more obvious. An erection happens because the penis becomes engorged with blood and so an effective blood flow is needed to get hard.With high blood pressure, getting and maintaining an effective blood flow that is sufficient for an erection isn’t guaranteed, and in fact, is a lot harder to do physically.This is what happened in the case of Brandon. Even though he didn’t have full on hypertension, he had a slightly elevated blood pressure, which still affected him in a larger way than just his long-term health.Women don’t have to keep up erections, but high blood pressure still can affect the female sex experience.For one, women do still have erectile tissue, particularly in the breast and pubic areas—these are still tissues that need extra blood flow! Without this blood flow, women are less sensitive in these regions, which end up in a less enjoyable experience and more “numb” experience during sex.Additionally, ineffective blood flow means that hormones aren’t being distributed effectively throughout the body. Both women and men can have overall lower libidos and less interest in sex.In other words, high blood pressure can be a disaster in bed.So what can you do about this?
Better blood flow = better sex
Although our bodies are very capable of keeping things at a balance, we also need to make conscious efforts for our own health.So what can you do to make sure you maintain a healthy blood pressure and get back to your desired sex life?To prevent or control high blood pressure, we recommend the standard things that you hear health experts say for many things: eating nutritious foods, using less salt, adding regular exercise to your schedule, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, keeping tabs on tobacco use, limiting alcohol consumption, among other things.This may seem like a lot to manage at a glance, however, just focus on one step at a time. If it is more exercise you want to start with, park your car further away from the front door at work so you have to walk a little more every day. Or go out on a walk to make your phone calls. If you need to eat better, try low-fat meat and chicken for lunch. Just keep it simple and don't try to do it all at once.Actually the first simple step to managing your blood pressure is to start tracking it! Get an inexpensive blood pressure cuff at CVS or on Amazon. Download the free Hello Heart app (iOS, Android) from the iTunes Store and Google Play. Start recording your daily blood pressure. Just the simple act of daily recording can have a very beneficial effect.It's not your fault that you have high blood pressure or prehypertension. But there is a lot you can do to take charge of your own health and work to keep your special time special.