Men: Is Your Thyroid Causing Sexual Problems?

men sexual problems, thyroid, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism
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It's common knowledge that endocrine disorders -- diabetes for example -- can have an effect on men's sexual function, desire, performance, and even reproduction. The connection between thyroid disease and men's sexual functions -- and thyroid disease as a cause of sexual problems in men -- is not as widely understood or known.

2005 Study 

A study released in the 2005 by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reported on the demonstrable connection between specific sexual problems in men and thyroid conditions -- including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism -- in those men.

The study looked at men with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. The men were evaluated for a variety of common sexual problems, including a low sex drive (hypoactive sexual desire / low libido), erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation, and delayed ejaculation.

As part of the study, the men were examined twice, once while symptomatic, and a second time approximately 8 to 16 weeks after their thyroid levels had returned to normal reference ranges.

The study found that among HYPOTHYROID men...

  • Low sex drive, delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction was a complaint in 64.3% of men. 
  • Premature ejaculation was a complaint in 7.1% of men

Among HYPERTHYROID men...

  • Premature ejaculation was a complaint in 50% of men
  • Low sex drive was a complaint in 17.6% of men
  • Erectile dysfunction was a complaint in 14.7%
  • Delayed ejaculation was a complaint in 2.9% of men
  • Low sex drive, delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction was a complaint in 64.3% of men. 
  • Premature ejaculation was a complaint in 7.1% of men

Almost two-thirds of the hypothyroid men were complaining about some degree of erectile dysfunction (inability to obtain or maintain an erection) and delayed ejaculation. And hyperthyroidism appeared to be linked to premature ejaculation in half of the men, while low sex drive and erectile dysfunction were both complaints by subsets of the men.

 

According to the researchers, proper diagnosis, and treatment to return a man to "normal" thyroid function -- known as euthyroidism -- was found to reverse most sexual symptoms in men.

2008 Study 

A 2008 study -- also published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism -- looked at the effects of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism on men's sexual function. According to a summary at the American Thyroid Association:

  • 79% of men with thyroid dysfunction showed some level of erectile dysfunction -- 52% of them were hypothyroid, 27% hyperthyroid -- compared to 34% in men without thyroid problems
  • Severe erectile dysfunction was found in almost 38% of the men with hypothyroidism and almost 30% of the men with hyperthyroidism, compared to 25% in men without thyroid problems
  • Overall, 80% of the men studied had erectile dysfunction, compared with 37.5 of the men without thyroid conditions

According to the American Thyroid Association:

What are the implications of this study? Men with thyroid dysfunction commonly have erectile dysfunction that is reversible with restoration of the euthyroid state. Although screening for erectile dysfunction is recommended for these men, specific treatment should be postponed for at least 6 months after restoring euthyroidism because it may take this long for erectile dysfunction to spontaneously resolve.

The good news? Again - according to the researchers, proper diagnosis, and treatment to return a man to "normal" thyroid function was found to reverse most sexual symptoms in men.

MORE INFORMATION

SOURCES:

Carani, Cesare, et. al. "Multicenter Study on the Prevalence of Sexual Symptoms in Male Hypo- and Hyperthyroid Patients," The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 90, No. 12 6472-6479

GE Krassas, K Tziomalos, F Papadopoulou, N Pontikides, and P Perros.  “Erectile dysfunction in patients with hyperand hypothyroidism: how common and should we treat? ” 
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Volume 93 Issue 5, pages 1815-1819). 

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