Ultimately, it was determined that over 63 percent of the men with hypothyroidism were diagnosed with low sexual desire, premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation. Among the men with hyperthyroidism, 50 percent were diagnosed with premature ejaculation, 17 percent with low sexual desire and 15 percent with erectile dysfunction.
All of the men in the study were then treated for their thyroid disease. Among the men with hypothyroidism, the incidence of premature ejaculation dropped from 50 percent to 15 percent. And the low sexual desire and delayed ejaculation disappeared in most of the men.
Once the men with hyperthyroidism were treated, almost all saw their symptoms of erectile dysfunction disappear.
“We demonstrated for the first time that specific sexual disorders occur frequently in males with hypo- and hyper- thyroid function and that most of these symptoms revert promptly as [the thyroid disease is treated],” write the study authors in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The relationship between the thyroid and erectile dysfunction is not yet clear, but since thyroid diseases, as well as erectile dysfunction, are much more common among men over 60, these findings suggest that aging may not play as big a role as previously believed.
In fact, a related study by Veronelli and colleagues, compared the rates of erectile dysfunction among healthy, older men and those with diabetes or a thyroid disease. While diabetes was more often the cause of erectile dysfunction than thyroid disease, this study did determine that thyroid problems are more often the cause of sexual dysfunction than simple aging.
“Thyroid problems are more important than the aging process,” in trying to diagnose the cause of erectile dysfunction, write the authors.