Thyroid disorders can cause sex problems for men

Thyroid disorders are associated with a variety of sexual symptoms in men, according to a new report.

Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini from University of L’Aquila, Italy, and associates looked into the prevalence of sexual difficulties in 48 adult male patients with either underactive or overactive thyroid conditions, before and after they recovered.

Based on interviews with the 34 men with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), 18 percent had below-normal sexual desire, 3 percent had delayed ejaculation, 50 percent had premature ejaculation, and 15 percent had erectile dysfunction.

Among the 14 men with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), 64 percent had low sexual desire, delayed ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction, while 7 percent suffered from premature ejaculation, the researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

When patients with hyperthyroidism were treated for the condition, the rate of premature ejaculation fell from 50 percent to 15 percent - a figure similar to that found in the general population, the report indicates. Low sexual desire and delayed ejaculation resolved with treatment in most of these patients.

Delayed ejaculation resolved in half of the hypothyroid men after treatment, the researchers note. Erectile dysfunction almost disappeared in these patients, and low sexual desire improved significantly.

All men with overactive or underactive thyroid “must be evaluated for their sexual function,” Jannini told Reuters Health. He suggested that doctors ask men three questions: (1) During the thyroid disease did your desire change? (2) Did your ability to have and to maintain the erection change? (3) Did your ability to control ejaculation or to ejaculate change?

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, December 2005.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD