Alcohol consumption and erectile dysfunction: meta-analysis of population-based studies

Int J Impot Res. 2007 Jul-Aug;19(4):343-52. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901556. Epub 2007 May 31.


Alcohol is long regarded as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED), but epidemiological evidence has been equivocal. We aimed to investigate the ED risk associated with various levels of alcohol consumption by meta-analysis. We searched for population-based studies on ED through Medline, PubMed, PsychInfo, and scanned through reference lists. Eleven cross-sectional studies were included and analyzed with random effects model. We reviewed the results from one cross-sectional study and two cohort studies. Regular alcohol consumption was negatively associated with ED (odds ratio (OR)=0.79; 99% confidence interval (CI), 0.67-0.92; P<0.001). Consumption of 8 or more drinks/week significantly reduced the risk of ED (OR=0.85; 99% CI, 0.73-0.99; P=0.007), but consumption of less alcohol (1-7 drinks/week) was not significant (OR=0.73; 99% CI, 0.44, 1.20; P=0.101). Begg's test and Egger's test detected no significant publication bias. Our estimates (in sensitivity analyses) were rendered nonsignificant when International Index of Erectile Function definition was used and when statistical adjustment was made only for age. Meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies yielded a protective association of alcohol on ED, but the two cohort studies did not demonstrate any significant findings for alcohol consumption. More research is needed to confirm whether alcohol is protective or is unrelated to ED development.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires