By Josephine R. Salazar MSN, AGPCNP-BC, Revibe Men’s Health – San Antonio
With summertime quickly approaching, there’s much to understand about how the heat can impact your sexual health.
Let’s start with vitamin D, often synonymous with summer. Produced in the body after exposure to sunlight, vitamin D can also be obtained from eating oily fish and meat. Many studies indicate that it is great for libido, as men’s testosterone levels rise with higher doses of vitamin D. For example, tests show that 33% more testosterone flows through the body during the summertime months. A study conducted at the Medical University in Austria1 found that men with more vitamin D had much more testosterone than those with fewer levels of vitamin D, hence why some correlate summertime and vitamin D as a natural libido booster.
Next up is melatonin, a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland at night, and often associated with control of the sleep-wake cycle. This hormone has direct communication with the retina to pick up changes in the light and also connects with the pituitary (to trigger gonadal/sexual development) and the genitals. It is believed that melatonin can block sex hormones, but the good news is that in the summertime the body produces less melatonin. In the winter when the body has more melatonin, men report a decreased sex drive and lethargy.
Summer temperatures may also lead to dehydration. Without hydration, the body experiences side effects and complications which can lead to ED. Specifically, when fluid levels decrease, the body creates a hormone called angiotensin. This causes one’s blood vessels to constrict and tighten, impacting blood pressure and blood flow through the body, including the penis, and thus decreasing sexual satisfaction. What’s more, elevated blood pressure damages blood vessels and arteries by making them harder and narrower and reducing blood flow permanently results in decreased sensation to the penis and a lower sex drive.
Signs of dehydration can include the following, so be mindful of your time spent outdoors this summer:
- Decreased urinary amount/frequency
- Dark urine
- Dry mouth/tongue
- Decreased stamina