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Erectile dysfunction is more commonly known as impotence. It is the inability to get an erection long-lasting enough, or firm enough, for penetrative sexual intercourse.
Men with high blood pressure can sometimes experience erectile dysfunction but, for many of them, it can be treated effectively.
Does high blood pressure cause erectile dysfunction (impotence)?
A common cause of erectile dysfunction (impotence) is damage to the lining of the arteries to the penis, so that they fail to open up and let the blood in to strengthen an erection.
Blood pressure can damage your arteries by causing them to become thicker, or even to burst. This can restrict blood flow to your penis, which may then cause erectile dysfunction.
Some blood pressure medicines can also cause erectile dysfunction. Thiazide diuretics and beta-blockers are most likely to cause problems, but this is not a common effect of these medicines and will not happen to everyone. If you are taking either of these medicines and are worried about erectile dysfunction, your GP may be able to change your medicines.
How is erectile dysfunction treated?
If erectile dysfunction (impotence) is caused by high blood pressure, then lowering blood pressure through medicines and lifestyle changes should treat the problem effectively.
If the problem is caused by blood pressure medicines, your doctor may be able to change your dose or change you to a different medicine. Do not stop taking your medicines without speaking to your doctor first.
If problems with erectile dysfunction continue, there are treatments available to deal with it directly. Speak to your doctor about what options may be right for you.
Don't be embarassed to ask for help
It is normal to feel embarassed about erectile dysfunction but sex is a normal part of life. Your doctor or nurse will be able to speak to you in confidence about any concerns you may have.