Text reads: "Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks" next to a smiling Dr. Kelly holding a pelvis with a vagina and a pelvis with a penis. Many Pelvis PTs treat ALL pelvises, but it is worth asking your PT if they are trained in your anatomy.

Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks

Nov 14, 2023

You may have read that erectile dysfunction and heart attacks are related. What's the connection? A big one, in fact.

Having Erectile Dysfunction Puts You At Increased Risk for Having a Heart Attack

Or really, more accurately, having Erectile Dysfunction (ED) can be an early sign of Heart Disease, and that having ED places you at elevated risk for a Major Adverse Cardiac Event (MACE).

Well, shit, sailor.


Pelvic PTs Treat Erectile Dysfunction.

(Yes, while you do need to check with the individual provider, many Pelvic Physios are trained to assess and treat people with penises as well as vaginas!! Everyone has a pelvis!!)

And here's the thing. If a person comes to a Pelvic PT with a diagnosis or complaint of Erectile Dysfunction (ED), we have to make sure they are cleared by a cardiologist FIRST before we can help them.


Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks are linked because ED is linked to impaired circulation

To understand what erectile dysfunction is, we might first need to understand what an erection is, and how it 'ought' to work when functional. I wrote a blog post about this! (Of course I's the link) ;). Read that, then hop back here.


If a person has a circulation deficit that is based in the heart, then they may lose the ability to attain, and maintain, an erection.

In the past, physicians who were 'in the know', thought that the link was due to the build up of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis is the fancy word for it). They thought that the plaques which eventually clogged your heart, clogged your Penis arteries first, causing the Erectile Dysfunction.

BUT...while that sounds plausible enough, research hasn't totally proved that true. It seems that is actually more a problem in the smooth muscle and inner lining of the blood vessels themselves, rather than a plaque-y blockage. The smooth muscle and inner lining of the blood vessels not working great causes impaired blood flow to the penis....and well...we have trouble raising the mainsail.

The Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic both have good information pages about this if you want more.

But regardless, the million dollar message of this post is this:

People with Erectile Dysfunction are at increased risk for Major Adverse Cardiac Events!

Yikes. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ  It is true that NOT everyone with ED has heart disease, but since many studies have shown that people with ED have an increased risk for suffering Major Adverse Cardiac Events (MACE), or heart attacks, it is worth it to get our cute butts into a cardiologist, or at least a primary care provider, to have your heart checked, to be sure you don't fall into this category.  Dying will surely cause more sexual dysfunction than ED.

There are many things that a cardiologist and primary care provider can offer, to improve your safety and heart health, if you do indeed fall into this category.

And trust me, it's better to know about your MACE risk, than to be surprised by it.

That is how erectile dysfunction and heart attacks can be linked


What do Pelvic PTs do to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

When it is not caused by a hear condition, ED is a circulatory issue, and it (like most other pelvic complaints) are due to the pelvic floor muscles resting too tight all the time, and the brain having poor motor control over the pelvic muscles.  If that doesn't make sense watch this silly Instagram video equating pelvic dysfunction to biceps or quadriceps that are too tight--YES, I realize these posts are about pelvises with vag's...but we all have the same muscles, friends!

That being said, Pelvic PTs work on the pelvic floor muscle health and coordination contributions to ED. We can work on this, even if a client has diagnosed heart disease, as long as they are receiving active care for the underlying heart condition. But we can't in good faith just treat the ED if you haven't done your primary prevention in seeing the general doc or heart doc.

Once you've gotten your heart checked, then get your weenie into a Pelvic PT (here's how to find one near you), and here's how it can help with standard ED, and how it can help reduce leaks and improve sexy-time after prostatectomy!!


Thanks for reading. Please share with someone who needs this.

It is important to know that Pelvic Floor PT can help address seggsy-time dysfunctions and problems for people with ALL pelvises, even ๐Ÿ†!. Even just ONE visit of PT to connect to your body and your needs, can lead to HUGE gains function and quality of life ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. Here’s how to find a Pelvic PT near you, or here’s my scheduling site if you’d like to work with me in person, or via Telehealth.

For those seeking alternative avenues, perhaps you’re not ready to see a Pelvic PT in person, consider a high-quality online course from a trusted professional (like me!). Pelvic Floored offers world-class streamable pelvic wellness programs, that you can work through at your own speed, in the comfort and privacy of your own home, for a fraction of the cost of one:one Pelvic PT. 

And yes, the rumors are true!!!  A pelvic wellness class for people with penises IS in the works!!  But if an online course isn’t in the cards right now, no worries. At a minimum, please consider following me on Instagram, or joining my Newsletter for free, awesome tips!  My VIPs (Very Important Pelvis) e-Newsletter subscribers also get first notice and best prices on all my programs, so don’t miss out–join today!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Dr. Kelly

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