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DR. AYSHA BUTT

MEDICAL DIRECTOR

Dr. Aysha Butt is the Medical Director of FROM MARS, and is a GP Partner at Woodcote NHS Medical Practice.

GMC NUMBER: 6164178

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Morning wood and erectile dysfunction

What’s the story morning glory? No seriously, what’s the deal with morning wood?

While you might think it’s the result of dreaming about your ex or your latest Tinder match, it’s likely more an indicator of what’s going on with your health.

Who knew? Here we’ll give you the lowdown on what your morning wood could be all about.

What is morning wood?

Morning wood, also called morning glory, is when you get an erection in your sleep. To get a little bit more scientific on sleep-related erections, you can also call it nocturnal penile tumescence. Morning wood has a better ring to it though, right?

Despite the name, this wood doesn’t just happen in the morning though. Men can have three to five erections per night, usually during REM sleep when we dream. It’s called morning wood because we usually only notice the last sleep-related erection we get, as we wake with it.

Why do men get morning wood?

No one knows for sure. One theory though is that we get sleep-related erections to help keep our penises healthy.

An erection causes the erectile tissue in your penis to swell, oxygenating it, which helps to prevent loss of function in the tissue and keeps it working as it should. Having regular erections when you’re asleep may ensure you can keep having erections when you’re awake.

Why do I no longer get morning wood?

If you’ve stopped getting morning wood, it can be an early warning sign there’s a problem with your health that’s stopping you from getting erections. You should see a doctor ASAP to get yourself checked out.

Is morning wood a sign of high testosterone?

Morning wood isn’t usually a sign of high testosterone. It’s something most men get, and it’s probably something that happens to keep our penises healthy, rather than a sign that you’ve got high levels of testosterone. If you stop getting morning wood, it could be a sign you have low testosterone though, or another medical issue that interferes with erections.

Why is a lack of morning wood a bad sign?

A lack of wood in the morning could be a bad sign because morning wood can be used as a measure of a man’s health.

To get an erection you need a few things to be in working order. The first is a heart and circulatory system that can deliver enough blood to the penis to get it hard. The second is a nervous system that carries the messages from your brain to the nerves down there. And the last is that you need the right levels of hormones, particularly testosterone.

If you’ve stopped getting morning wood, it can be a sign that one or more of these parts of your physiology isn’t working as well as it should. It could be an early warning you have a medical condition that’s impacting your heart and circulatory system, like heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

On the other hand, it could suggest that you have a condition which is damaging your nervous system, like Parkinson's disease or Multiple sclerosis; or a problem which is affecting your hormones, like thyroid issues or hypogonadism.

There are a huge number of medical conditions that can affect your erections. Some are worse than others, so if you’ve noticed a recent lack of morning glory, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to get yourself checked out.

Of course, there can be less drastic causes of vanishing erections. Certain medications can interfere with your ability to get hard, like antidepressants and those used to treat high blood pressure. Even if you’re taking a drug which can cause erection problems, you should see a doctor anyway, just to make sure you don’t also have another medical condition too.

What causes a man not to get erect?

Lots of things can get in the way of your erections. Problems with your heart and circulatory system, with your brain and nerves, and with your hormones can give you ED. Psychological issues can cause it too, from performance anxiety, to depression, to emotional issues in your relationship, and possibly an addiction to porn. Medications, illegal drugs, and alcohol can cause it. Because ED has so many causes, if you experience it, you need to get to the bottom of it to make sure you don’t have a serious medical issue.

What can cause sudden erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction which happens gradually is probably a sign your circulatory, nervous, or endocrine (hormone) systems are struggling. Sudden erectile dysfunction is more likely to be caused by psychological issues, or by medication or recreational drugs. Either way, you should see a doctor to make sure you don’t have any medical problems.

What can morning wood tell me about erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED), is when a man can’t get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sex. There are lots of reasons men can develop ED, and morning wood, or a lack of it, can be used to help us get an idea if the cause is physical or psychological;

You have ED, but still get morning wood

If you’ve experienced ED, but you do still get morning wood, it means your body is healthy enough to produce erections, so the problem likely isn’t physical, but in your mind. Psychological causes of ED can include performance anxiety, low self-esteem, body issues, depression, emotional issues in your relationship, and even addiction to pornography.

If your ED is psychological, it’s good news for your health. But just because a problem is in your head, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy to fix. You’ll probably need to speak to a mental health professional to address it.

Even if you’re convinced your ED is psychological, it’s still worth seeing your doctor to get your health checked, as sometimes ED can be caused by both psychological and physical problems. It’s best to make sure.

You have ED, and don’t get morning wood

If you have ED and you’ve stopped getting morning wood, then it could be a sign that your ED is physical, and that it’s caused by a medical condition affecting your heart or circulatory system, your nervous system, or your hormone levels. You should see a doctor as soon as possible to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.

How to treat erectile dysfunction?

There are a range of treatments for ED, from using penis pumps to making lifestyle changes.

The most effective ED treatments are prescription meds like sildenafilvardenafil, or tadalafil.

These ED meds all work in a similar way, helping you to get and maintain an erection by improving the flow of blood to your penis. Often, they’re the first step taken to try and overcome ED.

Waking up with morning wood can seem like the least serious part of your day, but it’s probably good for your penis. And if it stops, it can be a sign something’s up with your health. If you notice your penis is less than glorious in the morning, speak to a doctor to make sure it’s not an early warning sign of something more serious.