Thyroid hormones and male sexual function

G. Corona, F. C.W. Wu, G. Forti, D. M. Lee, D. B. O'Connor, T. W. O'Neill, N. Pendleton, G. Bartfai, S. Boonen, F. F. Casanueva, J. D. Finn, A. Giwercman, T. S. Han, I. T. Huhtaniemi, K. Kula, M. E.J. Lean, M. Punab, D. Vanderschueren, E. A. Jannini, E. MannucciM. Maggi, G. Forti, L. Petrone, Vanderschueren.D, S. Boonen, H. Borghs, K. Kula, J. Slowikowska-Hilczer, R. Walczak-Jedrzejowska, I. Huhtaniemi, A. Giwercman, F. Wu, A. Silman, T. O'Neill, J. Finn, P. Steer, A. Tajar, D. Lee, S. Pye, F. Casanueva, M. Ocampo, M. Lage, G. Bartfai, I. Foldesi, I. Fejes Tartu, M. Punab, P. Korrovitz, M. Jiang

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The role of thyroid hormones in the control of erectile functioning has been only superficially investigated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between thyroid and erectile function in two different cohorts of subjects. The first one derives from the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS study), a multicentre survey performed on a sample of 3369 community-dwelling men aged 40-79years (mean 60±11years). The second cohort is a consecutive series of 3203 heterosexual male patients (mean age 51.8±13.0years) attending our Andrology and Sexual Medicine Outpatient Clinic for sexual dysfunction at the University of Florence (UNIFI study). In the EMAS study all subjects were tested for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4). Similarly, TSH levels were checked in all patients in the UNIFI study, while FT4 only when TSH resulted outside the reference range. Overt primary hyperthyroidism (reduced TSH and elevated FT4, according to the reference range) was found in 0.3 and 0.2% of EMAS and UNIFI study respectively. In both study cohorts, suppressed TSH levels were associated with erectile dysfunction (ED). Overt hyperthyroidism was associated with an increased risk of severe erectile dysfunction (ED, hazard ratio=14 and 16 in the EMAS and UNIFI study, respectively; both p<0.05), after adjusting for confounding factors. These associations were confirmed in nested case-control analyses, comparing subjects with overt hyperthyroidism to age, BMI, smoking status and testosterone-matched controls. Conversely, no association between primary hypothyroidism and ED was observed. In conclusion, erectile function should be evaluated in all individuals with hyperthyroidism. Conversely, assessment of thyroid function cannot be recommended as routine practice in all ED patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-679
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Andrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2012



  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hypoactive sexual desire
  • Testosterone
  • Thyroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Urology

Cite this

Corona, G., Wu, F. C. W., Forti, G., Lee, D. M., O'Connor, D. B., O'Neill, T. W., Pendleton, N., Bartfai, G., Boonen, S., Casanueva, F. F., Finn, J. D., Giwercman, A., Han, T. S., Huhtaniemi, I. T., Kula, K., Lean, M. E. J., Punab, M., Vanderschueren, D., Jannini, E. A., ... Jiang, M. (2012). Thyroid hormones and male sexual function. International Journal of Andrology, 35(5), 668-679.