October 14

Allergies and Erectile Dysfunction

Allergies can do more than just give you the sniffles.allergies-erectile-dysfunctionallergies-erectile-dysfunction

There’s a growing body of evidence that allergies can actually cause erectile dysfunction.

What’s more, the very medication that big pharma pushes to eradicate your allergies might be contributing to your ED.  

This article is going to outline how allergies reduce sexual function, how allergy medication can give you ED, and some key things you can do to cure your allergies naturally.

Here we go!

Allergies Have A Negative Impact On Erections

And I don’t mean just that it’s more difficult to get you or your partner in the mood when you’re feeling like crap. Allergies have been proven to actually reduce your erectile and sexual function, not just your desire to initiate or even have sex.

We talked recently about teeth and ED, citing a study completed in Taiwan.

That study (which was huge) was conducted over eight years by the Taiwan National Health Insurance and is one of the few databases in the world where they asked tens of thousands of men questions about their health and about their sex lives.

So a lot of research has been done using it.

Anyway, back to allergies. Using that data set, a group of researchers in Taiwan looked at rates of allergic rhinitis (AR) and ED to see if there was a correlation.

(As an aside here, “AR” is a fancy term for nasal allergies — blocked or runny nose, clogged sinuses, headaches, etc…).

They looked at two groups of men, 18-55. One group (n=64,000) had allergic rhinitis (AR). The second group (n=64,000) didn’t have AR. They then compared the two and, lo and behold, patients with AR had FAR more sexual function problems than those without AR.

Out of the 128,000 men who were part of the study, 1,455 suffered ED in just under 6 years. Of those 1,455, 844 suffered AR and 611 got ED without any trace of AR (source).

In layman’s terms, this means that you’re 130% more likely to have ED if you have nasal allergies.

Now to be clear, this is still only a correlative relationship. But it is one that’s been repeated.

Two researchers in Cleveland looked at AR, and how it affected the daily lives of their patients. They evaluated patients on a quality of life (QOL) test, asking them about their sleep patterns, fatigue, and sex lives (among other things).

Their conclusion?

AR has a significant negative impact on sexual function and can result in sleep disturbances and fatigue” (source)

Now, having nasal allergies doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to get ED, and NOT having AR doesn’t mean you’re somehow immune to erectile problems.

What is means is that if you have nasal allergies and you’re also suffering ED, curing your nasal problems might be a good place to start.

Likewise, if you’re suffering from AR but you don’t have erectile dysfunction, dealing with your allergies a little more seriously might be a good idea before they start contributing to other, more severe… flaccid-er problems.

So why is all this happening? The short answer is: we don’t really know.

What we do know is that allergic reactions and chronic allergies are caused by inflammation, which, unfortunately…

Tends to make your body less effective at both moving blood around AND affects your body’s ability to produce the specific chemicals that you need to get a good, solid erection.

So one theory is that inflammation is caused by allergies, which then impact your ability to get an erection.

Regardless, at this point you’re probably ready to run out and buy all the anti-allergen drugs you can get your hands on.

But before you do that, you might want to read just a little more.

Allergy Medications Also Cause ED

First, lets look at how most allergy medication works. When you get allergies, the agent that drives the reaction are histamines.

Histamines are actually incredibly important for your body…

They help you get rid of whatever’s irritating it.

For example, if you have something on your skin, histamines will make you scratch. If you’ve got something your sinuses, histamines will make you sneeze. In your eyes? Histamines make you cry.

Now you probably noticed the things that histamines do are also the core symptoms of allergies.

That’s why the primary medical response by pharmaceutical companies to allergies is antihistamines — drugs that get rid of the histamines in your system.

However, this might be bad news for your erections.

First, antihistamines (even non-drowsy ones) almost always make you tired. That’s because the antihistamines block the central nervous system.

What’s more, when the central nervous system is suppressed, it’s more difficult to become turned on. Basically, it’s like trying to have a sex life when you’re a little out of it.

Second, histamines play an active role in helping you get an erection. Histamines help the spongy tissue in your corpus cavernosum fill with blood — which is what makes your penis hard.

A study completed at in Brazil looked at corpus cavernosum tissue to see what the impact of being exposed to histamines was.

The researchers did two experiments, one where they took small 2cm pieces of tissues, exposing half of the samples to histamines. The other half were not exposed.

In the second experiment, they injected patients with histamines, again with a control group who were not injected.

They then recorded the erectile response (source).

They found that exposure to histamines produced a dose-dependent response for the sample tissues by relaxing them (remember relaxed corpus cavernosum = good erection)

In the human trials, they found a similar result, where higher doses of histamine = stronger erections.


Histamines play a role in human erections by helping relax the corpus cavernosum muscles and allowing them to fill with and trap blood.

So where does that leave us? Allergies contribute to ED and the drugs to cure allergies also contribute to ED.

The answer?

Treat allergies naturally, by reducing your histamine response moderately and NOT by wiping it out altogether with drugs that will also wipe out your erections.

How to Treat Allergies Naturally

There are three main ways that you can treat allergies naturally: avoid histamine-producing foods, take vitamin C, and with diet.

1. Avoid Histamine-producing Foods

These are sometimes called histamine-releasing foods as well, since they cause your body to ‘release’ a flood of histamines.

One thing to consider is that this is a general guide. Some foods are high in histamines (high is a relative term), but most of the histamines in your system at any one time will be histamines you produced yourself.

Some foods will trigger more histamine action for certain people. We’ll get onto diet control in a minute, but it’s important to remember that a lot of this is ‘in general’ rather than gospel truth.

Anyway, first you want to reduce the foods that are known to contain higher-than-normal histamines.

This mostly includes things that are either fermented or involve culturing of some kind. Think cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and booze.  Smoked foods (charcuterie like salami, sausages, or smoked fish), beans, nuts, chocolate, and shellfish are also known to be high in histamines.

Second, try to reduce processed foods: salty snacks, canned and frozen foods, and ready meals should all be avoided. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or the ingredient list is a mile long, it’s probably best to avoid the food.

Third, you want to reduce your intake of foods that tell your body to release histamines, or histamine-releasing foods.

Things like really acidic fruit (lemon, lime, oranges, kiwis, pineapples), papaya, tomatoes, and wheat germ (found in  packaged bread) are all prone to increase histamines.

Finally, (since this has probably decimated your diet a bit) there are plenty of foods that are good for histamine control:

  • Fresh meat and fish
  • Fresh non-acidic fruit and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fats and oils

2: Use High Dose Vitamin C

Vitamin C is good for many things, and because it’s water-soluble, any excess is simply peed out.

So there’s no adverse effect of trying a higher dose, and you may find that is completely solves your allergy histamine problem.

A study published back in 1992 by two researchers from Arizona State University in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that there was a distinct link between vitamin C consumption and histamine levels.

They put together 10 subjects and took blood samples regularly over six weeks. During some of those weeks the subjects were given 2000 mg’s  of vitamin C. On others, no C was given.

They also took a first sample to establish a baseline value.

What they found was that following the vitamin C weeks, histamine levels were reduced by 38%, leading the researchers to conclude that vitamin C might be able to detox your blood and help clear it of histamines (source).

By upping your vitamin C you might be able to seriously cull your histamine levels, and get some of your normal vigor back.

3. Try an Elimination Diet

Finally, when all else fails, you can try an elimination diet. Because histamines are a reaction by your body to an external threat or invasion, diet is often a prime suspect for allergy problems.

An elimination diet is a simple method that you can use to work out what foods are triggering the allergies you’re experiencing.

It’s pretty simple.

First, you want to create a baseline. This is a simple diet comprised of stuff that doesn’t normally invoke a histamine response:

  • Brown or white rice
  • Cooked or dried sulphate free fruit that isn’t acidic. Cherries, cranberries, pears, and prunes are all good.
  • Cooked greens and/or vegetables
  • Free range, organic poultry and cold-water fish. Try to get it local if you can.
  • Cold-pressed oils

Once you’ve been on this diet for 14 days (unless you’re still feeling the symptoms) it’s time to start adding back foods. The key here is to only add them one at a time, and to add them slowly.

One new food every 3-5 days is about right.

If there’s no reaction, the food can join your clean baseline diet. If there is a reaction, stop eating the food and put it back in the testing pile. Try it again in a week or so to confirm your results.

By the end, you should have a clear idea of what’s good for you and what isn’t, and should be able to change your diet to reduce your histamine levels consistently.  

Allergies and Erectile Dysfunction – Conclusion:

Allergies can have a serious impact on your sex life. Not only do they make you feel lethargic and not in the mood, but your immune system’s reaction to things like pollen or gluten actually make it a lot more difficult to get hard.

And to complicate matters, antihistamines and other allergy medicine doesn’t solve the problem, but rather creates new ones.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.

Allergies can be treated 100% naturally simply by reducing your intake of histamine-producing and histamine-heavy foods combined with a little vitamin C.

And, if all else fails, you can go the elimination diet route.

About the Author Mark

Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.

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