Background: Individually, thyroid disease and sexual dysfunction are common conditions that can have a detrimental effect on quality of life. Recent reports have documented an increased prevalence of sexual dysfunction among patients with thyroid disorders. As such, it is important for sexual medicine physicians to be primed on the presentation of patients with overlying sexual and thyroid dysfunction to allow for proper management.
Aim: To review the available literature exploring the relationship between thyroid disease and sexual dysfunction in men and women.
Methods: A PubMed review of existing clinical and pre-clinical studies from 1978 through 2018 was performed.
Main outcome measures: The prevalence, symptomatology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of patients with sexual dysfunction in the setting of thyroid disease were reviewed.
Results: The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in patients with hypothyroid (59-63% and 22-46% in men and women, respectively) and hyperthyroidism (48-77% and 44-60% in men and women, respectively) has been estimated in select populations. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism were strongly associated with erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction: hypothyroidism with delayed ejaculation, hyperthyroidism with pre-mature ejaculation. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been reported to impair libido in men and women; however, evidence of hypothyroidism's impact on male libido is mixed. Hypothyroid and hyperthyroid women demonstrated impairments in desire, arousal/lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain during intercourse. Mechanistically, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism exert effects on circulating sex hormone levels through peripheral and central pathways and can indirectly provoke psychiatric and autonomic dysregulation that can impair sexual function. Correction to euthyroid state was associated with dramatic resolution of sexual dysfunction in both male and female patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Conclusion: By improving awareness of the link between thyroid disease and sexual dysfunction, sexual medicine physicians may sooner identify patients whose sexual symptoms may be remedied by treating an underlying thyroid disorder. Gabrielson AT, Sartor RA, Hellstrom WJG. The Impact of Thyroid Disease on Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women. Sex Med Rev 2019;7:57-70.
Keywords: Mechanisms; Prevalence; Sexual Dysfunction; Thyroid Disease.
Copyright © 2018 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.