Erectile dysfunction in patients with hyper- and hypothyroidism: how common and should we treat?

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 May;93(5):1815-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2259. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


Context: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with numerous diseases and aging.

Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of hyper- and hypothyroidism on male sexual health by using the Sexual Health Inventory for Males (SHIM).

Design: Seventy-one men, 27 hyper- and 44 hypothyroid and a similar number of controls were included in the study. A validated SHIM 5-item questionnaire was administered to all participants. Patients were asked to respond before and a year after initiation of treatment for thyroid dysfunction. A score between 25 and 22 is considered normal, between 21 and 11 diagnostic of mild to moderately severe ED, and 10 or less diagnostic of severe ED.

Results: Fifty-six men with thyroid dysfunction (78.9%; 19 hyperthyroid and 37 hypothyroid) had a SHIM score of 21 or less, compared with 24 controls (33.8%) (P < 0.0001). Twenty-one patients with ED (37.5%) had SHIM scores 10 or less, indicative of severe ED, compared with six controls (25%) (P < 0.01). ED was more prevalent in patients with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, compared with controls (P < 0.001 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Positive correlation was found between SHIM scores and serum free T(4) (r = 0.413, P = 0.005) and negative for TSH (r = -0.669, P < 0.001). After treatment a significant increase of SHIM scores was noted in both hyperthyroid (P < 0.0001) and hypothyroid (P < 0.0001) patients.

Conclusions: ED is extremely common in males with dysthyroidism. Treatment of the latter restores erectile function. Screening for thyroid dysfunction in men presenting with ED is recommended, whereas specific treatment for ED should be postponed in such patients for at least 6 months after achieving euthyroidism because the latter might be responsible for ED.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / complications*
  • Hypothyroidism / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine