Increased risk of organic erectile dysfunction in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a nationwide population-based cohort study

Andrology. 2015 Jul;3(4):666-71. doi: 10.1111/andr.12052.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder characterized by profound and persistent fatigue and several comorbidities. CFS was previously reported to be associated with female sexual dysfunction. We propose that CFS might also be associated with organic erectile dysfunction (organic ED). We conducted a retrospective cohort study by using data from the National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database. We identified 2156 male patients who were newly diagnosed with CFS between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2006. After excluding those younger than 20 years and prevalent cases, 1976 patients were subjected to analysis, and 7904 people served as healthy controls. All study subjects were followed up from the index date to the date of organic ED diagnosis, withdrawal from the NHI program, or the end of 2011. Compared with the non-CFS cohort, the incidence density rate of organic ED was 1.88-fold higher than that in the CFS cohort (3.23 vs. 1.73 per 1000 person-years) with an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.88 (95% CI = 1.26-2.81) when adjusting for sex and comorbidities. The combined impacts of patients with CFS and cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus (DM), chronic kidney disease (CKD), depression, and anxiety showed a significant by joint association with organic ED risk compared with patients with no CFS and no counterpart comorbidity. The greatest magnitude of adjusted HR of ED for CFS was observed in individuals without any comorbidity (3.87, 1.95-7.66). The incidence of organic ED is higher among males aged 40 years and over for both CFS and non-CFS cohorts. As the number of comorbidity increases, the incidence of organic ED increases in males without CFS. Higher incidence of organic ED was observed in males with CVD, DM, CKD, depression, or anxiety for both CFS and non-CFS cohorts.

Keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome; cohort study; erectile dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / complications*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult