Opioids have been in the news in recent months, largely due to an increasing concern about abuse of these drugs and the health crisis that is forming as a result of that abuse. There are many reasons to be concerned about improper use of opioids, and penis health might be one of those reasons. Some research suggests that use of opioids may cause issues with obtaining or maintaining an erect penis.
Many people have heard of opioids, but what are they exactly? The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines opioids as a class of drugs that interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. This class of drug is infamous because it includes the illegal drug heroin. It also includes a synthetic opioid called fentanyl, which is used to refer pain but which is also a “street drug” under names like Apache, Jackpot, and China White. There are many other opioid pain relievers, like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone.
Opioids used for pain relief serve a very important medical function: enabling patients enduring extremely painful procedures or conditions to cope with pain. Unfortunately, even some of the prescription opioids have in recent years become abused. Combined with the presence of heroin and the fentanyl derivatives, opioid addiction has expanded dangerously. More than 90 Americans die every day from abuse of opioids in their various forms.
Erect penis problems
There exists the possibility that opioid use – even when prescribed and used in an appropriate manner – may have an impact on a man's erect penis function.
A recent study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine reviewed ten studies that looked at opioid use and erectile dysfunction in men. The ten studies involved a total of more than 8,000 men (average age of 41.6 years). The studies looked at men who were receiving opioid management, and compared them to controls that received placebos.
After analyzing the results from all ten trials, the authors determined that men who use opioids have a 96% greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Not only that, but the risk was even greater among younger men. (Men may typically develop some erect penis issues as they age; younger opioid users were much likelier to develop them earlier than the typical population.)
Some studies found that opioids lower testosterone levels, which may be a reason why erectile dysfunction may develop. Other theories (yet to be tested in men using opioids) are that depression may play a role, or that opioids could negatively decrease nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is needed to help penile blood vessels expand and accommodate the greater influx of blood that creates erections.
While this study presents some interesting ideas, it points to the need for more studies designed specifically to address erect penis issues and opioids and which can look more closely into possible causes and effects.
In the meanime, if a man is prescribed opioids, he may want to report any erectile dysfunction issues he experiences to his doctor and discuss possible options. (And any man who is abusing opioids is strongly encouraged to seek help from a medical professional immediately; such abuse can be fatal.)
Opioids and their possible effect on an erect penis are just one factor to consider when protecting penis health. Daily use of a top drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is an excellent way to help maintain that overall health. Definitely seek out a crème with L-arginine, an amino acid which boosts nitric oxide production, thereby helping penile blood vessels expand as needed. It also helps if the crème contains vitamin D, the “miracle vitamin” that the body needs to help maintain its health, especially during cold winter months.