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Men with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism often have sexual dysfunction

(March 2006)

The background of the study. There have been few studies of the effects of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism on sexual function in men. In this study, sexual function was assessed in men with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism before and during treatment.

How the study was done. There were 34 men with hyperthyroidism and 14 with hypothyroidism, all in a stable relationship. Those with hyperthyroidism were treated with methimazole, and those with hypothyroidism with thyroxine. The men were asked about sexual function at base line and at least 8 weeks after the restoration of normal thyroid function.

The results of the study. Among the 34 men with hyperthyroidism, 17 (50 percent) had one or more of the four abnormalities in sexual function listed in the Table. Among the 14 men with hypothyroidism, 9 (64 percent) had some abnormality in sexual function. With treatment, the frequency of abnormalities in sexual function decreased substantially in both groups.

Table. Frequency of Sexual Dysfunction before and after Treatment in Men with Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism.
(n = 34)
(n = 14)
Base Line
Base Line
Decreased sexual desire 6 (18%) 2 (6%) 9 (64%) 5 (36%)
Erectile dysfunction 5 (15%) 1 (3%) 9 (64%) 3 (21%)
Premature ejaculation 17 (50%) 5 (15%) 1 (7%) 1 (7%)
Delayed ejaculation 1 (3%) 1 (3%) 9 (64%) 4 (28%)

The conclusions of the study. Many men with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism have decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and premature or delayed ejaculation, and the abnormalities decrease in response to appropriate therapy.

The original article. Carani C, Isidori AM, Granata A, Carosa E, Maggi M, Lenzi A, Jannini EA. Multicenter study on the prevalence of sexual symptoms in male hypo- and hyperthyroid patients. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005;90:6472-9.

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