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Hangovers and Sexual Health

Hangover Heaven Blog

Check the Hangover Heaven blog for tips from Dr. Burke on how to prevent and cure hangovers


Hangovers and Sexual Health

Jason Burke

I get asked all the time about how hangovers affect sexual function.  This is usually a relatively generic initial question that ends up with a request for Viagra or something similar.  The long and short of it is that hangovers cause significant sexual problems.

There is a quite a bit of scientific basis for this.  I will try not to get too scientific on this, but here are three main issues:

1.  Glutathione levels are low or zero.  Glutathione is the major antioxidant in the body, but it also has another function, which is to combine with nitric oxide to form s-nitrosoglutathione, also known as GNSO.  Nitric oxide is the major substance that causes erections.  So, yes, nitric oxide is your friend.  GNSO is basically a storage unit for nitric oxide, as nitric oxide only exists for a very short time when it is not attached to something else.  Glutathione is very important in dealing with alcohol metabolism.  If a person has a big night of drinking, the body is going to use its glutathione to deal with alcohol, thus leaving little left for sexual function.

2.  Anxiety – Hangovers produce a good bit of anxiety in people, especially guys.  At least 30% of our male clients complain about anxiety.  We see it in their vital signs.  Their blood pressure and heart rate are up.  This anxiety is caused by two of the components of hangovers, acute alcohol withdrawal and glutamine rebound.   The basics of male erections is the concept of “point and shoot.”  The parasympathetic nervous system causes erections to occur, while the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system causes ejaculation.  You can sort of think of it in this way, “If you are running from a tiger, the last thing you want is an erection.”  So, it is pretty well known to guys that being nervous impairs erections.  So, this anxiety reduces the ability to have an erection.

Psychology of ED

3.  Inflammation – Probably the thing I hate to hear the most is, “Aren’t hangovers just dehydration?”   That is absolutely not the case.  Hangovers are mainly due to inflammation.  Dehydration makes the symptoms worse, but that is about it.  Recent research in erectile dysfunction is showing that inflammation is a major component of erectile dysfunction.  The inflammation associated with heavy alcohol intake can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

So, those are three issues that show that hangovers cause erectile dysfunction.  How do you avoid this?  Drink in moderation, avoid champagne, avoid dark liquors, and try to take something to prevent a hangover before you go to sleep.  We sell our hangover prevention formula online.  If you don’t have access to that, a good B vitamin is an option.  Consider taking two of them before going to sleep.  Try to eat a cheese omelet before you go to sleep, as eggs and cheese have high amount of cysteine, which is what your body uses to make glutathione.  The glutathione will help to decrease the oxidative stress caused by alcohol intake and metabolism.