Asthma and risk of erectile dysfunction--a nationwide population-based study

J Sex Med. 2011 Jun;8(6):1754-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02242.x. Epub 2011 Mar 22.


Introduction: The increased prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) has been reported in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and sustained systemic inflammation seems to play a central role in this linkage. Asthma is also a chronic inflammatory airway disorder, eliciting a low-grade systemic inflammation; however, the influence of asthma on ED has not been investigated.

Aim: Our study strived to explore the relationship of asthma and the subsequent development of ED using a nationwide, population-based database.

Methods: From 2000 to 2007, we identified newly diagnosed asthma cases involving male patients 18-55 years old. A control cohort without asthma, which was matched for age and comorbidities, was selected for comparison.

Main outcome measures: The two cohorts were followed up, and we observed the occurrence of ED by registry of ED diagnosis in the database.

Results: Of the 17,302 sampled patients (3,466 asthma patients vs. 13,836 control), 114 (0.66%) experienced ED during a mean follow-up period of 4.56 years, including 34 (0.98% of the asthma patients) from the asthma cohort and 80 (0.58%) from the control group. Subjects with asthma experienced a 1.909-fold (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.276-2.856; P=0.002) increase in incident ED, which was independent of age, the number of clinical visits for urologist, and other comorbidities. Kaplan-Meier analysis also revealed the tendency of asthma patients for ED development (log rank test, P=0.002). The risk of ED was higher in cases with more frequent clinical visits for asthma (asthma patients with clinical visits with >24 times/year vs. <12 times/year: hazard ratio [HR]: 4.154 [95% CI:1.392-12.396], P=0.011; clinical visits with 12-24 times/year vs. <12 times/year HR: 3.534 [95% CI:1.245-10.032], P=0.018).

Conclusions: Asthma may be an independent risk factor for ED, and risk of ED probably increases in accordance with asthma severity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / epidemiology*
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Young Adult