Introduction: Overweight men with diabetes often report erectile dysfunction (ED), but few studies have examined effects of weight loss on this problem.
Aim: This study examined 1-year changes in erectile function (EF) in overweight/obese men with type 2 diabetes participating in the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial.
Methods: Participants in Look AHEAD were randomly assigned to a control condition involving diabetes support and education (DSE) or to intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) involving group and individual sessions to reduce weight and increase physical activity. Men from five of the clinical sites in Look AHEAD completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) at baseline (N = 372) and at 1 year (N = 306) (82%).
Main outcome measures: Changes in EF as reported on the EF subscale of the IIEF.
Results: At 1 year, the ILI group lost a greater percent of initial body weight (9.9% vs. 0.6 %) and had greater improvements in fitness (22.7% vs. 4.6%) than DSE. EF improved more in ILI (17.3 +/- 7.6 at baseline; 18.6 +/- 8.1 at 1 year) than in DSE (18.3 +/- 7.6 at baseline; 18.4 +/- 8.0 at 1 year); P = 0.04 and P = 0.06 after adjusting for baseline differences. Using established norms for none (i.e., normal EF), and three grades (i.e., mild, moderate, and severe) ED, 8% of men in ILI reported a worsening of EF from baseline to 1 year, 70% stayed in the same category, and 22% reported improvements. In contrast, 20% of DSE reported worsening, 57% stayed in the same category, and 23% improved (P = 0.006).
Conclusion: In this sample of older overweight/obese diabetic men, weight loss intervention was mildly helpful in maintaining EF.