Circulation Problems in the Penis

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When blood flow is impeded in the penis, it does not perform at its best. Circulation problems can occur in the penis for several reasons and often cause weak erections and impotence. About 20 million American men experience impotence, notes the National Kidney Foundation.


Diabetics with high blood sugar levels can develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can damage the nerves, which reduces the nerve signals needed to begin and hold an erection. This nerve damage will also lower blood flow rate in the penis, decreasing arousal ability and causing erectile problems, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

High-Fat Diet

A high-fat diet clogs the arteries in the body with fat. The fat accumulation in veins that occurs in atherosclerosis limits the ability of blood to flow through the arteries to the penis, notes Mount Sinai Hospital. Thus, circulation in the penis is diminished, and the ability to become erect is jeopardized. High-fat foods, such as bacon, French fries, pork roll, chips and dips, and hot dogs, are hazardous to the function of the penis.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can also create circulation problems and impotence in the penis. The peripheral nerve damage that occurs with a spinal cord injury can limit penile function.

Smoking & Cocaine

Smoking cigarettes and using cocaine constrict the blood vessels in the body, limiting the amount of blood flow. This can cause circulation problems in the penis. The stimulant impact of nicotine and cocaine, especially in high doses, will negatively impact the ability of the penis to have optimal blood flow to make a strong erection.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is another cause of circulation problems in the penis. Kidney disease impacts overall health and sexual function, notes Toxins may build up in the body when the kidneys do not function properly. As the toxins circulate, they may damage organs and limit blood flow to the penis. This can cause also cause malaise and limit sexual function.