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Erectile Dysfunction and Osteoporosis

Erectile Dysfunction and Osteoporosis

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) might want to think about being screened for osteoporosis.

Recently, scientists from Taiwan reported that men with ED were about three times more likely to develop osteoporosis than those who have no trouble with erections.

Osteoporosis is a bone disorder caused by decreased bone density. It makes bones more fragile and more likely to break.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. They identified 4,460 men age 40 and older who were diagnosed with ED between 1996 and 2010. (The men‘s average age was 58 years).

Then, the scientists compared the records to those of 17,480 men without ED who were around the same age.

Overall, 5.92% of the patients with ED eventually developed osteoporosis, compared to 3.65% of the men without ED.

Why was osteoporosis more common in men with ED? The researchers weren’t sure, but offered several possible explanations. They noted that more study is needed to learn more about the connection. However, one theory involves low testosterone, an important hormone for men.

While not discussed in the study, some experts believe testosterone and osteoporosis are linked. Men’s bodies produce testosterone, some of which is naturally converted to estrogen, a hormone that helps maintain bone health. If a man has low levels of testosterone, there is less hormone to convert to estrogen, leading to weaker bones. Low testosterone can impair erections, too, so it’s possible that ED and osteoporosis could be linked in this way.

Men who are concerned about ED, testosterone, or osteoporosis should see their doctor for a complete checkup.

(Note: Last spring, research suggested that hip fractures are more common in men with ED.)

Resources

Medicine

Wu, Chieh-Hsin MD, et al.

“Increased risk of osteoporosis in patients with erectile dysfunction: A nationwide population-based cohort study”

(Full-text. June 2016)

http://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2016/06280/Increased_risk_of_osteoporosis_in_patients_with.50.aspx

National Osteoporosis Foundation

“What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It?”

https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/

SexHealthMatters.org

“Low Testosterone and Osteoporosis”

https://www.sexhealthmatters.org/did-you-know/low-testosterone-osteoporosis