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Alcohol and erectile disfunction

100% scientific. This article is written by Russian scientist: toxicologist Stanislav Radchenko.

The mechanism of steady erection in the state of drunkenness is connected with intracerebral action of dopamine, serotonin and opiates, being central transmitters of erection. Serotonin and dopamine action on lumbar region of spinal cord influences on delayed ejaculation.

At the present time in andrology some antidepressants are used for treatment of premature ejaculation. For example, sertralin is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor thus prolonging its action. To some extent alcohol is an agent similar in operation.

Along with its direct action, alcohol has a mediated impact on sexuality by inhibition of activity of cortex temporal lobes. In usual conditions increase of temporal lobes activity suppresses sexuality and controls other basic instincts (hunger, aggression), so when you drink alcohol you inhibit the control functions in your brain and let your instincts take over.

It is necessary to mention that one shouldn’t consider the alcohol as a way to improve erection. Eventually the impact of high doses of alcohol on sexuality changes to the opposite: it leads to deterioration of both libido and erection.

Why? It is connected with the fact that on all the levels of central nervous system there are not only serotonin receptors which stimulate erection, but also those which inhibit it. For example stimulation of serotonin receptors of 1 °C type causes erection, but stimulations of the receptors of 1A and 2A type suppress it and lead to premature ejaculation.

What does it mean? Think of receptors as buttons in your brain: you have the button that 'switches on' erection and the button that switches it off. Normally serotonin in your brain pushes the button when you need it in certain situation. Alcohol interferes with normal functioning of the brain by causing excessive release of serotonin and by stimulating some of its receptors. Thus alcohol 'pushes the buttons' all by itself causing the abnormal behaviour of the body.

If alcohol is taken regularly receptors which work more frequently (erectile) lose their sensitivity, receptors which work rarely (antierectile) preserve their sensitivity. Check out this scientific article. That’s why men aged 35 and older should hold back from drinking alcohol before sex.

It’s not a surprising effect: the brain always changes itself in response to the stimuli. Learning or taking psychoactive substances causes rewiring of neurons and rebuilding receptors. If you stimulate some receptors, they will loose their sensitivity. If you inhibit receptors, there will be more of them. Thus brain compensates the effects of substances. Receptors eventually restore their sensitivity but sometimes in takes up to three years of staying clean from any psychoactive substances to restore some of the receptors.

The same connection exists between adrenalin receptors of A1- and A2- type, opionoid receptors of M- and K-type. Stimulation of A1 and K-receptors stimulates sexual behavior, while activation of A2- and M-receptors has an opposite action.

Our experts:

Chief expert: Stanislav Radchenko is a Russian scientist, therapist (graduated from Kazan State Medical Institute in 1989), an expert in medical cybernetics doctor (graduated as cybernetic from Russian State Medical University in 1998). He has an academic degree, a Russian equivalent of Ph.D. in medical sciences. A specialist in modeling of acute and chronic intoxications. Experienced toxicologist, who has treated hundreds of patients.

Toxicologist Olga Kalashnikova, works in reanimatology.

Narcologist Maxim Kirsanov.

Эксперт-токсиколог Станислав Радченко,  реаниматолог Ольга Калашникова, Эксперт-нарколог Максим Кирсанов