Have you ever woken up to a sudden sharp pain in your joints? Does the affected joint—whether it’s your toes, knees, or shoulders—feel tender and warm to the touch?
If you said yes to both questions, you could be having a gout episode.
Gout is a chronic disease that occurs when crystallized deposits of uric acid build up in your joints. It’s often exacerbated when you eat food with high purine content—namely peas, seafood, and beers.
On its own, gout can debilitate you and make you feel a great deal of pain for several days. However, did you know that this condition is also a marker for sexual health problems like erectile dysfunction?
It’s true: extensive medical research has proven that gout and erectile dysfunction have a strong association, and it’s not uncommon for gout patients to develop ED later down the line.
Let’s uncover the connection between gout and ED, and what gout treatment and ED treatment plans are available to help you recover from both conditions.
An Overview of Gout
Gout is a prevalent inflammatory condition, with over 3% of adult Americans having this disease. It’s a rheumatic disease that’s characterized by elevated uric acid levels in the blood, causing joint pain, tenderness, and redness.
The presence of uric acid in the blood is often a marker of underlying chronic kidney disease. Built-up uric acid can crystallize and trigger an immune response, causing symptomatic flare-ups that cause pain for up to 10 days.
Over time, untreated gout can lead to chronic joint damage and deformities. This is because repeated flare-ups can chip away the bone and cartilage, causing it to diminish in function.
Moreover, gout can also lead to the formation of tophi and kidney stones. The former is a small chalky lump that can be visible from the skin, while the latter refers to crystals that form in the kidneys that can block the passage of urine, causing discomfort in mild cases and pain in severe ones.
An Overview of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition marked by persistent difficulty to achieve or maintain an erection for sex.
Developing erectile dysfunction is a phenomenon many men will eventually deal with as they get older. In one study, it’s been reported that men aged 60 and older have a 4.6% higher risk each year to develop symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
That said, it’s common for chronic health conditions and CVD risk factors like high blood pressure and blood flow problems to accelerate the progression of this disease.
Despite this condition’s worldwide prevalence, it’s not something men should sweep under the rug. There are a slew of treatment plans men could consider to treat this disease and deal with the common risk factors that may cause it.
The Connection: Gout and Erectile Dysfunction
Gout and ED are connected in more ways than one.
To sum it up, these are the connections where gout and ED crossover:
- Cardiovascular risk factors
One 2021 study has reported that there has been overwhelming evidence that suggested that patients with gout face an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The primary connecting variable for this is the presence of the inflammatory marker interleukin-1, which is present in both gout patients and people with coronary artery disease.
Besides these mutual risk factors, another connecting point between ED and gout is its impact on the vascular system.
Gout can cause endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation in the blood vessels, and vascular disease. This can be an added risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
Furthermore, the first-line treatment of gout includes anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids. While curing gout can mitigate symptoms of gout, these medications are also notorious for causing erectile dysfunction.
In other words, men with gout and without ED can further develop ED as a result of these medications.
And while minor compared to the rest, the study also mentioned that low vitamin D levels and stress could explain a link between ED and gout.
How to Treat Gout
If you want to minimize the frequency and intensity of your flare-ups, there are some treatment plans you can consider.
- NSAIDs: These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain caused by gout.
- Dietary restrictions: Eating less purine-rich food and alcohol can slow down the development of uric acid levels in the bloodstream.
- Uric acid medications: Taking xanthine oxidase inhibitors and uricosuric agents can lead to a lower level of uric acid over time.
- Alcohol abstinence: Alcohol can increase the risk of gout, so reducing your intake of alcohol (and drinking alternative drinks instead) can help prevent subsequent increased risk.
In addition, applying ice in the affected area can relieve you from pain caused by gout. Be sure to talk with a doctor if symptoms persist.
How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction
All males with gout can develop erectile dysfunction over time. If you face symptoms of reduced erectile quality, consider undergoing these treatments:
- ED therapy: A medically-prescribed treatment plan that utilizes topical gels, creams, and injections to reverse ED.
- RestoreWave therapy: A therapy that uses a probe to break plaque in a non-invasive fashion in the erectile tissue.
- Penile prosthesis surgery: A metal rod will get inserted into the penis to help induce erections.
- Vacuum erectile device: A vacuum or a penis pump that goes over the penis to help men maintain erections.
Besides these clinical treatments, it’s also vital to maintain positive lifestyle habits to maintain your health. A few health tips include exercising regularly, sleeping at least 7 hours a night, and managing your stressors effectively.
Get the Best ED Treatment at Orlando’s Best Medical Facility for Men’s Health
Gout is a common condition that can induce endothelial dysfunction and cause a great deal of pain in the joints. It’s also a risk predictor for erectile dysfunction.
While episodes can come and go, leaving it unchecked can cause grave vascular damage over time.
Looking to improve your physical health? Contact us at Premier Men’s Medical Center in Orlando today, your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.