Prevalence and independent risk factors for erectile dysfunction in Spain: results of the Epidemiologia de la Disfuncion Erectil Masculina Study

J Urol. 2001 Aug;166(2):569-74; discussion 574-5. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(05)65986-1.


Purpose: We determined the prevalence of and risks factors for erectile dysfunction in Spain in a cross-sectional study.

Materials and methods: A total of 2,476 noninstitutionalized Spanish men 25 to 70 years old were interviewed at home and answered a self-administered questionnaire of 71 items, including 2 instruments to define erectile dysfunction, a simple self-assessment question to estimate erectile function and the International Index of Erectile Function. Data on disease, medication and toxic habits were also obtained.

Results: With an overall participation rate of 75% the prevalence of erectile dysfunction according to the simple question was 12.1%. According to the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function the overall prevalence was 18.9%. Several independent risk factors were significantly associated with the probability of erectile dysfunction. Some differences arose according to the tool used to define the condition. However, there was a strong relationship of patient age with frequency or severity no matter which instrument was used to define erectile dysfunction. Diabetes (age adjusted odds ratio 4), high blood pressure (odds ratio 1.58), high cholesterol (1.63), peripheral vascular disorder (2.63), lung disease (3.11), prostate disease (2.93), cardiac problems (1.79), rheumatism (2.37) and allergy (3.08) were significantly associated with erectile dysfunction. Drug intake, which respondents called medication for nerves and sleeping pills, correlated strongly (odds ratio 2.78 and 4.27, respectively), as did tobacco use (2.5) and alcohol consumption (1.53).

Conclusions: This study provides data on the prevalence of and risks factors for erectile dysfunction in Spain. The relationship of erectile dysfunction with certain risk factors, such as cardiovascular risk factors and drugs intake, are well known and our study corroborates these associations. Other associations with erectile dysfunction, such as prostate disease, allergy and rheumatism, support findings in previous reports, although to our knowledge the pathophysiological mechanisms remain unclear. Estimating the strength of the association of erectile dysfunction with distinct risk factors in terms of odds ratios enabled us to identify the factors to pursue when seeking to prevent erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, the relationship of tobacco with erectile dysfunction, which has been controversial in previous series, was well characterized in our study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prostatic Diseases / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Vascular Diseases / complications