Testosterone and erectile dysfunction

J Androl. 2008 Nov-Dec;29(6):593-604. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.107.004630. Epub 2008 Jul 17.


Aging is associated with a decline in several important health factors in men, including libido. Serum testosterone concentrations also decrease with age, and many age-related clinical features are closely associated with androgen deficiency, including erectile function (ED). Approximately 70% of ED is of organic origin, with the major risk factors being diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and chronic medical illnesses. These are also established risk factors for atherosclerosis, which is the predominant predisposing factor of vasculogenic ED. The introduction of phosphodiasterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors for the treatment of ED made a significant impact both in terms of clinical efficacy, and increasing the awareness of the condition. In spite of this, some patients fail to respond to PDE-5 inhibitors alone. Both animal and clinical studies indicate that testosterone therapy improves both erectile function and the response to PDE-5 inhibitors in patients with ED and hypogonadism. Indeed, interventional studies demonstrate that testosterone replacement therapy improves erectile function in hypogonadal men who have previously failed to respond to PDE-5 inhibitors alone. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the full therapeutic potential of PDE5 inhibitors will only become manifest in a eugonadal state. Recent studies have demonstrated a close relationship between testosterone and ED and suggest that testosterone therapy may be a valuable option for an increasing number of affected men. European guidelines recommend that all men presenting with ED should have their testosterone concentrations measured.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Testosterone