Effects of intensive lifestyle changes on erectile dysfunction in men

J Sex Med. 2009 Jan;6(1):243-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01030.x.


Introduction: Limited data are available supporting the notion that treatment of lifestyle risk factors may improve erectile dysfunction (ED).

Aim: In the present study, we analyzed the effect of a program of changing in lifestyle designed to improve erectile function in subjects with ED or at increasing risk for ED.

Methods: Men were identified in our database of subjects participating in randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of lifestyle changes. A total of 209 subjects were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups. The 104 men randomly assigned to the intervention program received detailed advice about how to reduce body weight, improve quality of diet, and increase physical activity. The 105 subjects in the control group were given general information about healthy food choices and general guidance on increasing their level of physical activity.

Main outcome measures: Changes in erectile function score (International Index of Erectile Function-5 [IIEF-5]; items 5, 15, 4, 2, and 7 from the full-scale IIEF-15) and dependence of the restoration of erectile function on the changes in lifestyle that were achieved.

Results: Erectile function score improved in the intervention group. At baseline, 35 subjects in the intervention group and 38 subjects in the control group had normal erectile function (34% and 36%, respectively). After 2 years, these figures were 58 subjects in the intervention group and 40 subjects in the control group, respectively (56% and 38%, P = 0.015). There was a strong correlation between the success score and restoration of erectile function.

Conclusions: It is possible to achieve an improvement of erectile function in men at risk by means of nonpharmacological intervention aiming at weight loss and increasing physical activity.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss