Is There a Relationship Between Sex Hormones and Erectile Dysfunction? Results From the Massachusetts Male Aging Study


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Abstract

PurposeThe prevalence of erectile dysfunction increases as men age. Simultaneously, age related changes occur in male endocrine functioning. We examined the association between erectile dysfunction and total testosterone, bioavailable testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin and luteinizing hormone.Materials and MethodsData were obtained from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, a population based cohort study of 1,709 men. Self-reported erectile dysfunction was dichotomized as moderate or severe vs none or mild. Odds ratios and 95% CI were used to assess the association between sex hormone levels and erectile dysfunction. Multiple logistic regression models were used to adjust for potential confounders including age, body mass index, partner availability, phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor use, depression, diabetes and heart disease.ResultsUsing data from the most recent followup, analyses were conducted on 625 men with complete data. A moderate decrease in erectile dysfunction risk was observed with increasing total testosterone and bioavailable testosterone levels. However, this effect was not apparent after controlling for potential confounders. Increased luteinizing hormone levels (8 IU/l or greater) were associated with a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (adjusted OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.55–5.48) compared to luteinizing hormone levels less than 6 IU/l. A significant interaction between luteinizing hormone and total testosterone levels showed that increased testosterone levels were associated with a decrease in risk of erectile dysfunction among men with luteinizing hormone levels greater than 6 IU/l.ConclusionsIn this large population based cohort of older men we found no association among total testosterone, bioavailable testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin and erectile dysfunction. Testosterone levels were associated with a decrease in risk of erectile dysfunction only in men with increased luteinizing hormone levels.

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