THE space flight increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in menaccording study.

Space travel raises a number of issues related to sex, including what would happen to a baby if conceived in space.

Male astronauts may experience problems in the bedroom after returning home.

In experiments on rats, researchers in the US discovered that exposure to the harsh conditions of space can lead to erectile dysfunction.

High levels of microgravity and radiation, as typically seen outside Earth’s protective atmosphere, “adversely affect vascular tissues” and impair blood flow to the penis.

Furthermore, the problem persists long after exposure to space conditions ends, so male astronauts could suffer for years.

The research was conducted by experts at Florida State University and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, who say the effects of spaceflight on erectile function have yet to be explored.

“There has been growing interest in the space industry for long-duration manned missions to the Moon and Mars,” they say in their article, published in The FASEB Journal.

“These findings suggest that simulated spaceflight exerts long-term impairment of neurovascular erectile function, which exposes a new health risk that must be considered with deep space exploration.”

The team used 86 male rats for their experiments, which were conducted at NASA’s Space Radiation Laboratory in New York.

Half of the rodents were placed with their hind limbs facing up (to simulate the weightlessness of microgravity in space) for four weeks, while the other half were allowed to roam their cages normally.

In both groups, different rats were exposed to different levels of cosmic radiation—high exposure, low exposure, or no exposure.

Follow-up assessments about a year later revealed two issues associated with erectile dysfunction in the rats – oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction – that may affect blood flow to the penis.

Oxidative stress describes the harmful effects that free radicals (unstable molecules) have on the body and is also associated with poor sperm production.

Endothelial dysfunction is where the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that lines the blood vessels, cannot function properly.

“Oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction are causative factors in the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction,” the authors explain.

The researchers found that these “vascular lesions” were caused by relatively low doses of galactic cosmic radiation and to a lesser extent by weightlessness, mainly through an increase in oxidative stress.

Although the experiments used rats, the researchers are concerned that similar effects will be seen in humans.

Astronauts spend months at a time on the International Space Station (ISS) and perform rigorous exercise programs to compensate for the lack of gravity.


However, in just one week on the ISS, astronauts are exposed to exposure equivalent to a year’s exposure on the ground – and this is believed to be even more severe further away from our planet.

The team hopes that treatments may be available for male astronauts, either before or after they return or during their time in space.

“With manned space missions planned for the next few years, this work suggests that sexual health should be closely monitored in astronauts upon their return to Earth,” said study author Justin D. La Favor at State University of Florida.

“While the adverse effects of galactic cosmic radiation were long-lasting, the functional improvements induced by acutely targeting tissue redox and nitric oxide pathways suggest that erectile dysfunction may be treatable.”

Conditions in space are a serious problem for male and female astronauts during long-duration space flights – a key part of NASA’s Artemis program.

This decade, the space agency wants to send astronauts to the Moon – and eventually to Mars – and eventually establish permanent human colonies there.

He is also working on the Lunar Gateway, a habitable space station similar to the ISS, except it will orbit the moon instead of Earth.

Previous research shows that microgravity reduces bone density, increases the risk of bone fractures, and impairs muscle performance.

The lack of gravity also causes the heart to decrease in performance and shrink steadily, according to a 2021 study.

Even a long-term program of low-intensity exercise in space is not enough to counteract the effects of prolonged weightlessness on the heart, he found.

Meanwhile, exposure to radiation can damage the brain, reducing the ability to think, as well as causing cancer and killing cells in the “linings” of blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease.