Effect of Lifestyle Changes on Erectile Dysfunction in Obese Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Context

Healthy lifestyle factors are associated with maintenance of erectile function in men.

Objective

To determine the effect of weight loss and increased physical activity on erectile and endothelial functions in obese men.

Design, Setting, and Patients

Randomized, single-blind trial of 110 obese men (body mass index ≥30) aged 35 to 55 years, without diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, who had erectile dysfunction that was determined by having a score of 21 or less on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). The study was conducted from October 2000 to October 2003 at a university hospital in Italy.

Interventions

The 55 men randomly assigned to the intervention group received detailed advice about how to achieve a loss of 10% or more in their total body weight by reducing caloric intake and increasing their level of physical activity. Men in the control group (n = 55) were given general information about healthy food choices and exercise.

Main Outcomes Measures

Erectile function score, levels of cholesterol and tryglycerides, circulating levels of interleukin 6, interleukin 8, and C-reactive protein, and endothelial function as assessed by vascular responses to L-arginine.

Results

After 2 years, body mass index decreased more in the intervention group (from a mean [SD] of 36.9 [2.5] to 31.2 [2.1]) than in the control group (from 36.4 [2.3] to 35.7 [2.5]) (P<.001), as did serum concentrations of interleukin 6 (P = .03), and C-reactive protein (P = .02). The mean (SD) level of physical activity increased more in the intervention group (from 48 [10] to 195 [36] min/wk; P<.001) than in the control group (from 51 [9] to 84 [28] min/wk; P<.001). The mean (SD) IIEF score improved in the intervention group (from 13.9 [4.0] to 17 [5]; P<.001), but remained stable in the control group (from 13.5 [4.0] to 13.6 [4.1]; P = .89). Seventeen men in the intervention group and 3 in the control group (P = .001) reported an IIEF score of 22 or higher. In multivariate analyses, changes in body mass index (P = .02), physical activity (P = .02), and C-reactive protein (P = .03) were independently associated with changes in IIEF score.

Conclusion

Lifestyle changes are associated with improvement in sexual function in about one third of obese men with erectile dysfunction at baseline.

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