New research recommends that men with psoriasis be screened for erectile dysfunction (ED).
The study, published online in May by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, is a meta-analysis of nine studies involving 36,242 psoriasis patients and 1,657,711 controls (without psoriasis) in Europe and Asia.
Worldwide, between 2% and 4% of people have psoriasis, the authors reported. The skin condition, a form of dermatitis, can interfere with patients’ social lives, along with their physical and psychological health.
Past research on the link between psoriasis and ED has had conflicting results, with some studies noting increased ED risk for men with psoriasis but others studies not supporting this conclusion.
To the authors’ knowledge, the current study is the first meta-analysis on the subject.
Through their review, the researchers determined that “there was statistically significant association between psoriasis and ED risk.” A significant association between psoriasis and ED risk was also found for “adjusted-for-covariates studies.”
In studies that used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) as an assessment tool, men with psoriasis tended to have poorer scores.
The authors discussed several possible explanations for the link. For example, patients with psoriasis may become anxious about their appearance and develop low self-esteem, which might interfere with sexual function.
Several limitations were acknowledged, including the heterogeneity of the studies. Most of the studies had small cohorts; only two had large cohorts taken from nationwide, population-based data. Also, the studies assessed erectile function using various questionnaires, diagnosis codes, or records of prescription drug use, so the data might not be consistent throughout.
“Our findings support the hypothesis that psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of ED,” the authors concluded. They called for additional research to provide a better understanding of this connection.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Wu, Tao, MD, PhD, et al.
“Association Between Psoriasis and Erectile Dysfunction: A Meta-Analysis”
(Full-text. Published online: May 4, 2018)