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Concussions in NFL Players Could be Linked to Sexual Problems Later in Life

The number of concussion symptoms appeared to be linked to the chances of low testosterone and ED. In fact, men with the most concussion symptoms were over twice as likely to have discussed low testosterone or ED with their doctor. Those who had lost consciousness were at higher risk as well.

Men were more likely to report low testosterone or ED if they had risk factors for it, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and mood disorders. However, even after these factors were accounted for, the connection between low testosterone, ED, and concussion remained. owever

“We found the same association of concussions with ED among both younger and older men in the study, and we found the same risk of ED among men who had last played twenty years ago,” lead author Dr. Andrea Roberts told Harvard Medical School.

“These findings suggest that increased risk of ED following head injury may occur at relatively young ages and may linger for decades thereafter,” Dr. Roberts added.

The findings don’t necessarily mean that concussions cause sexual problems. The researchers also weren’t sure how the two are related. However, they did suggest that head trauma could cause damage to the pituitary gland, which is located in the brain. This gland “tells” a man’s testes to start producing testosterone. It’s possible that after a concussion, the testes don’t get the message adequately, and produce less of the hormone.

The authors recommended that men with a history of head injury talk to their doctor about any problems with testosterone or erections.

The study was first published online in August 2019 in JAMA Neurology.

Resources

Harvard Medical School

Pesheva, Ekaterina

“Downstream Effects”

(August 26, 2019)

https://hms.harvard.edu/news/downstream-effects

JAMA Neurology

Grashow, Rachel, PhD, MS, et al.

“Association of Concussion Symptoms With Testosterone Levels and Erectile Dysfunction in Former Professional US-Style Football Players”

(Published online: August 26, 2019)

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2748920

Mayo Clinic

“Concussion”

(March 16, 2019)

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/syc-20355594

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