Iron deficiency is a fairly common problem, but in some people – such as those with the hereditary disorder hemochromatosis – iron overload can become an issue. Numerous health complications are associated with hemochromatosis, including one – erectile dysfunction – that has a distinct bearing on a man’s penis health. Knowing more about this disorder can help a man know what to do if he is experiencing erectile dysfunction related to this iron overload situation.
What is hemochromatosis?
Often called hereditary hemochromatosis, this is a genetic disorder, meaning a person is born with alterations in his genes that will ultimately cause iron overload. It is therefore not a condition one “catches” from another person; however, iron overloading usually does not become a problem for a man with hereditary hemochromatosis until he is in his 40s or 50s. He may therefore feel as if this is something that he contracted from another source, but the fact is that it is something that has been in his body since his birth.
A man develops iron overload in these situations because his body can’t regulate the amount of iron he absorbs from food. Too much iron is absorbed and not enough is released through urine or feces.
When the iron can’t be released from the body, it can settle into the heart, liver, pancreas, testicles and other parts of the body, causing damage over time. About 5 out of every 1,000 Caucasians have the genetic mutations that can result in symptomatic hemochromatosis, although not everyone who has the disorder will experience symptoms.
Those symptoms may include joint pain, fatigue, weight loss, stomach pain, and loss of sex drive. Common complications related to iron overload are diabetes, cirrhosis, arthritis, heart issues and erectile dysfunction.
Who does it affect?
Although anyone can be born with the genes that cause hereditary hemochromatosis, it is primarily associated with Caucasians whose heritage can be traced back to northern Europe.
As mentioned, both a diminished sex drive and erectile dysfunction may be associated with hemochromatosis. Why should this be? Again, this is related to the excess iron circulating through the blood and over time being deposited in the testicles. The iron causes damage to the organ and interferes with its ability to fulfill its functions properly, such as the production and release of testosterone levels. When the testosterone levels drop, a man’s sex drive decreases.
Testosterone levels also play a role in proper erectile functioning, but this is equally impacted by the cardiac issues that may arise due to hemochromatosis. These result in both a weaker flow of blood throughout the body and a weakening of the arteries and vessels, including those in the penis. When blood cannot vigorously flow into the penis, it results in weaker erections – or sometimes in no erection at all.
In most cases, doctors treat diagnosed hereditary hemochromatosis through phlebotomy, which is another word for blood-letting. After the diagnosis is confirmed, a person will have a pint or so of blood drained on a regular basis – sometimes weekly, sometimes more or less. This continues until the iron level in the body is back in an acceptable range. After that, they will be phlebotomized much less often – perhaps every few months or so, just to maintain the proper iron level.
With treatment, erectile dysfunction due to hemochromatosis is generally reversible. It helps, though, to take steps to keep up the overall health of the manhood through daily use of a top drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Crèmes that contain vitamin C are especially advisable, as this vitamin is crucial for collagen production and penile tissue firmness. It’s also beneficial if L-arginine is among the ingredients in the crème. This amino acid helps keep blood vessels dilated, allowing for an easier flow of blood to the penis.