Research Connects Prolonged Computer Use with Increased Risk of Erectile Dysfunction – New Study Reveals

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Spending hours sitting at a desk watching YouTube clips or collecting frags on your favorite shooter isn’t likely to do your heart much good. A team of researchers from China found it might also have a rather depressing effect on other body parts, increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction.

It’s not uncommon for penises to fail to rise to the occasion now and then, especially with age, but for many it’s a persistent problem that gets in the way of having an enjoyable sex life.

In some cases, the issue is largely psychological, resulting from stress, guilt, or low self-esteem. For others, underlying pathologies are at work. Manageable lifestyle factors may also play a significant role in the condition, affecting hormone levels or damaging the complex functionality of vessels that allow a penis to become sufficiently engorged.

Studies have shown excessive amounts of time spent sitting each day can affect performance, for example, with erection functionality often improved by simply getting up and exercising more often.

Not all research agrees, however, leaving questions over how our love of sitting around and relaxing may be affecting our sex lives.

To dig further, researchers applied a technique called Mendelian randomization to identify causal correlations between tendencies to engage in sedentary leisure activities – such as driving for pleasure, watching television, or chilling in front of a computer – and the likelihood of having erectile dysfunction.

Mendelian randomization compares differences between pairs of genes understood to play a role in a particular area of health to determine whether inheriting specific genes causes a related condition.

Using data on variations in genetic sequences provided by more than 220,000 records from a prior study on European ancestry, the researchers looked for correlations between genes highlighted by responses to questions regarding specific forms of leisure-based sedentary behavior, and medical history or self-reporting of erectile dysfunction.

Based on the resulting numbers, they found that every 72-minute increase in time spent using a computer for leisure activities increased the odds of having erectile dysfunction more than three-fold.

Looking further into the data, spending more time relaxing in front of the computer was also linked to decreased levels of a hormone responsible for stimulating sperm production.

Though other studies have come to similar conclusions, the study falls short of demonstrating clearly why a drop in this one hormone might impact erectile function. The researchers can only speculate that the lower levels could indirectly impede testosterone release.

Strangely, no causal relationship was seen between the condition and watching television, or going for regular pleasure drives.

It’s possible the lines between watching streaming services at the desk and relaxing at the computer might be blurred, making it harder to distinguish between the two different activities.

Since the analysis was based on studies drawing genetic links, it’s also possible the data on genes associated with leisurely driving was too limited to draw strong conclusions.

Future studies could help identify whether there’s something special about sitting, clicking, and scrolling that interferes with erectile functionality, or if our love of Netflix is putting our sexual chill at risk.

With that in mind, sitting in front of a screen all day, clicking and scrolling for fun, is certainly doing our bodies little good.

This research was published in Andrology.

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