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For men who experience erectile dysfunction, the long list of potential causes can seem almost infinite. Seemingly every other day another threat is found; and keeping track of it all can be exhausting.
Spend enough time traveling down the rabbit hole and it could quickly appear that nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives could have a negative effect in the bedroom. With that in mind, ED can be connected to any or all of the following:
- Poor Diet
- Lack of Exercise
- Heart Disease
- Relationship Woes
On the bright side, nearly all of these things (with the obvious exception of growing older) are somewhat within our control. We can adjust our diets, incorporate an exercise regimen and other healthy habits, and work on our communication with our partner through the aid of a therapist.
However, there are still other factors we can’t necessarily do anything about—especially if we aren’t even aware of their potential influence on our ED.
One of the latest concerns that has caught the attention of the discourse surrounding sexual dysfunction is Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS. Unfortunately for those keeping track at home—yes, this is yet another ailment that could be connected to ED.
How Are Restless Leg Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction Related?
First, let’s deepen our understanding of just what exactly RLS is; this will help make its supposed link to ED a bit clearer.
Like ED, there isn’t just one single identified cause behind Restless Leg Syndrome. In fact, there’s still a lot that we don’t fully understand about RLS—but we do know that it typically is a result of our brains producing less than ideal levels of dopamine.
That’s right—the chemical that gives us pleasure.
However, that isn’t quite why RLS is connected to ED. See, dopamine is also a necessary component for other functions throughout our bodies, including our:
- Heart Rates
- Blood Vessel Functions
- Muscle Movements
As you should already know from 6th-grade human sexuality, your erection relies on blood filling up the interior tissues of the penis. Insufficient or interrupted blood flow can mean ED. While this makes logical sense from a natural perspective, there’s research to back it up as well.
One particular far-reaching study of 11,000 men conducted over six years by the National Institutes of Health found that men who experienced at least five episodes of RLS over the course of a month were 50% more likely to develop ED compared to those who had no cases of RLS.
More frequent occurrences increased risk. Those who suffered from RLS more than 14 times in a month had a 66% increased chance of experiencing ED.
While there’s no definitive evidence to prove whether or not RLS actually causes ED, there’s no denying that the two conditions share one or more causes in common.
RLS Can Contribute to ED In Other Ways
If grappling with RLS wasn’t enough, there’s a secondary effect that is also likely contributing to erectile dysfunction: lack of sleep.
Think about it—if your legs are unable to relax, and they begin to twitch, burn, or are otherwise uncomfortable, your body will tend to move around in search of comfort. This can wake you up. Go through this charade a few times a night and it can easily have a detrimental effect on your ability to get the rest you need to function at your best.
Without enough sleep, your body also has less of a chance to produce the testosterone necessary to contribute to achieving and maintaining an erection. Coupled with the decrease in T production as you naturally age, one can see how this can become a slippery slope with ED awaiting you at the bottom.
How To Treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
So, what can be done to ease RLS symptoms and potentially combat erectile dysfunction? In addition to taking care of oneself both mentally and physically, there are some specific aspects you can add into your normal wellness routine that can help you mitigate RLS.
Vitamin D and iron supplements are recommended, as well as decreasing caffeine and adding more fresh foods to your dietary intake. Finally, if you tend to get your exercise in later in the day, try flipping the script and instead doing so earlier.
When it comes to bedtime specifically, consider making the below procedure a habit:
- Draw a warm bath and soak for 10-20 minutes
- Take a Magnesium supplement
- Stretch and massage your legs for 5-10 minutes
If all of the above fail to have an impact, consult with your doctor about possibly prescribing a medication like pramipexole, ropinirole, or gabapentin.
How To Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Further studies are necessary to understand the link between RLS, ED, and the role dopamine plays with both.
One positive consequence could be new and improved methods of treating erectile dysfunction. Any new discoveries would join the rapidly-growing pantheon of innovative techniques like Acoustic Wave Therapy, and deepen our understanding of adrenal fatigue, how to improve sexual performance, and modify treatments for erectile dysfunction overall.
If you are experiencing RLS, ED, or both—contact the experts in men’s health at Preferred Men’s Medical Center today.
Our team knows that you can have great sex at any age, and are always available to address any concerns you may have, and set you on the right track. Call and schedule your appointment now.