Influence of age and changes over time on erectile dysfunction: results from two large cross-sectional surveys 11 years apart

Scand J Urol. 2013 Jun;47(3):198-205. doi: 10.3109/00365599.2012.726644. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Objective: The aim was to explore how erectile dysfunction (ED) correlates with increasing age and a number of demographic, physical and lifestyle factors.

Material and methods: A questionnaire was sent to a random sample (10,458) of men living in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1992. The men were from the age cohorts 45, 50, 55 years, etc., up to the age of 85 or older. An analogous survey was sent to a random sample (10,845) of men of age cohorts 46, 51, 56 years, etc., in 2003. The prevalence of ED from the different age cohorts assessed on the two specific occasions 11 years apart was compared with a number of factors.

Results: The response rates were 74.2% in 1992 and 68.7% in 2003. Within each survey the rate of ED increased with age at the same time as sexual activity decreased. This was paralleled by an increase in concomitant morbidity, intake of medications and alcohol consumption. The proportion of smokers and body mass index (BMI) decreased and the frequency of physical exercise increased until the age cohorts 70-71 years (1992) and 80-81 years (2003). Comparing the surveys, there was increased ED and decreased sexual activity over time despite an increase in exercise and decrease in smoking. In a multivariate analysis age, living alone, concomitant medication and smoking were the factors that significantly affected the risk of reporting ED.

Conclusion: Despite a seemingly healthier lifestyle in 2003 compared with 1992, the rate of ED increased in the population, highlighting the importance of assessing lifestyle factors when examining ED patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology