Sickness and Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Does Being Sick Cause ED?

UltraPharmRX Medical Team

UltraPharmRX Medical Team


Over 30 million adult men in the United States have erectile dysfunction (ED) across all demographics and backgrounds.

ED can vary in severity just like other sexual health issues, with some men finding it impossible to get an erection when it’s time for sex, while others might just have a hard time keeping it erect for the entire duration of their sexual activities.

ED can take a toll on your sex life, relationships, and mental health – untreated, severe ED can cause disorders like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.


How does being sick lead to ED?


In many cases, illness can lead to erectile dysfunction since erections rely on a series of complex processes involving your cardiovascular, nervous, and endocrine systems.

Being sick can interfere with any number of processes involved in sexual arousal or getting and/or keeping an erection.

The endocrine system manages your body’s hormone production, including those involved in reproduction, sperm production, growth, and metabolism.

One of the key hormones the endocrine system produces is testosterone, which regulates your body’s libidinal impulses – or your interest in sex.

While the link between testosterone and ED isn’t fully cut and dried yet, research generally supports the claim that low testosterone is linked to sexual dysfunctions like ED.

On the other hand, the nervous system is responsible for transmitting biochemical messages throughout your body, including the brain and the penis – which are central to your sexual function and arousal.

After all, erections usually begin with activity in your nervous system, which promotes increased blood flow to your penis.

Lastly, your cardiovascular system is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood and nutrients to your organs, muscles, and cells, all of which are responsible for producing and maintaining an erection. 


Getting ED medication has never been easier

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Erections begin with a functional sex drive coupled with a degree of sexual stimulation you receives from the billions of nerves scattered throughout your body, including your penis. 

This leads to enhanced blood flow throughout the body and the penis, which leads to the latter being engorged with blood, leading to an erection during sexual activity. 

Erections require an endocrine, nervous, and cardiovascular system running at full speed.

And when diseases affect these systems, they can disrupt libido, nerve response, and blood flow – leading to problems obtaining or maintaining an erection.

Other diseases can cause symptoms that reduce your interest in sex by making you feel uncomfortable or “in the zone.”

Flu symptoms, for instance, can cause body aches, fatigue, fever, and nasal congestion, all of which can take you away from the mental state you need to be in to engage in sex.

Illnesses that can exacerbate your usual stress and anxiety can worsen your ED symptoms.

All of these factors play a role in your physical, mental, and overall health and well-being – including sexual health.


Does COVID-19 cause ED?


Over the height of the pandemic, studies in men with COVID-19 showed an increased risk of contracting sexual and erectile dysfunction. A 2022 study using data from 260,000 men with COVID-19 showed that men developed an increased likelihood of having ED after their illness.

It is unknown how or why COVID-19 increases ED risk, but it is thought that the latter is linked to the long-term effects of COVID-19 on circulatory health and function, given the harm it causes to blood vessels.

Talk to your doctor if you’ve recently fallen ill with COVID-19 and have noticeable symptoms related to erectile dysfunction.


What chronic illnesses can cause ED?


Some chronic diseases are linked to ED, such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension. They affect the circulatory and nervous systems, which play an integral role in erectile and sexual function.

Diseases known to cause ED include:


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Atherosclerosis (blockages or buildup of plaque in the arteries)
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Chronic renal disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Peyronie’s disease (a disease causing scarring in the penis)


These diseases require ongoing treatment. If you suffer from one of the listed diseases, consider talking to your doctor about your symptoms and what you can do with the ED it might come with.


How to treat disease-induced ED


The good thing about ED is that it’s treatable in most cases by implementing lifestyle changes or using oral prescription ED drugs.

Here are some treatment options you can talk to your doctor about.


Treating your underlying illness first


If you’ve just started feeling symptoms of ED since coming down with the sickness, it’s advisable to recover from said underlying disease before treating your ED.

It’s perfectly normal to run into some erection difficulties every now and then, and erection troubles when you’re dealing with upper respiratory tract infections or allergies don’t automatically mean you have textbook ED.

Therefore, before making drastic lifestyle changes or using ED drugs, focus on treating your underlying illness and making a full recovery from it. Talk to your doctor to determine the best way to treat your illness or make a full recovery.

You just might find your sex drive and erections work their way back to normalcy once you start feeling healthy again.


Try taking prescription ED drugs


If you find yourself struggling with ED symptoms even after having made a full recovery, ask your doctor about taking ED drugs like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), or avanafil (Stendra) to treat your symptoms and boost your sexual performance.

These drugs are called PDE5 inhibitors, which boost blood circulation to the soft tissue within your penis, helping you get erect and stay erect when sexually aroused.

ED medicines enjoy a sterling safety and effectiveness record for most men. However, some may cause mild side effects and interactions with drugs used to treat underlying chronic illnesses. Consult your doctor if you’re taking any drugs before going on an ED pill.`


Getting ED medication has never been easier

Connect with a US-licensed healthcare provider for a FREE evaluation!


Make some simple lifestyle changes


Several personal habits and lifestyle factors can impact health and cause you to develop ED.

To keep your health in order and erectile dysfunction in check, we suggest you try the following simple lifestyle changes and erection-promoting habits:


  • Try engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. A leisurely walk or bike ride around the neighborhood will suffice.
  • Try to lose weight if you’re bordering on being overweight or obese. 
  • Quit smoking and refrain from alcohol. Nicotine affects cardiovascular health, while alcohol is a known erection-killing substance.
  • Get your testosterone levels assessed. Low T can cause low libido, which may affect erectile performance.
  • Opt for a more balanced, heart-healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Avoid high-fat, high-sodium foods that can lead to cardiovascular problems down the line.


The final word on being sick and ED


Illness can affect your body in various ways, including your erectile function and interest (or lack thereof) in sex.

You might find it harder to produce and keep an erection when you’re sick. It’s normal, as is feeling tired, uncomfortable, or disinterested in sex. These feelings often subside as you make a full recovery.

If your ED symptoms persist even after fully recovering from your illness, consult your doctor about taking oral ED medication.

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Receive Expert Quality Care
from your phone or computer,
with UltraPharmRX

  • 100% U.S. Licensed Medical Provider
  • U.S. Licensed Pharmacy
  • Discreet Shipping
  • Monthly Refills
  • No Waiting Rooms, No Appointments
  • Text Messaging Based Consultation *