Physical activity and erectile dysfunction in middle-aged men

J Androl. Mar-Apr 2012;33(2):154-61. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.111.013649. Epub 2011 May 19.

Abstract

The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is high in men of all ages and increases greatly in the elderly. In particular, severity and prevalence both increase with aging. Because erectile dysfunction is a symptom, physicians should diagnose underlying pathologies that might lead to it instead of focusing only on finding a viable treatment. Physical inactivity negatively impacts on erectile function; experimental and clinical exercise interventions have been shown to improve sexual responses and overall cardiovascular health. Several studies have confirmed that combining 2 interventions (Mediterranean diet and physical activity) provides additional benefit to erectile function, likely via reduced metabolic disturbances (eg, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance), decreased visceral adipose tissue, and improvement in vascular function (eg, increased endothelial function). This brief review shows the main clinical evidence of benefits induced by physical activity on erectile and endothelial dysfunction. The literature shows that erectile dysfunction in middle-aged men is often an early event in endothelial damage, and physical activity is able to improve both erectile and endothelial dysfunction. There are conflicting data regarding the effects of exercise on androgen status. In clinical practice it would be recommended to add regular physical activity to balanced diet and drugs to achieve better therapeutic results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / etiology*
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / metabolism
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / physiopathology
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Penile Erection*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Testosterone