Today’s topic is on a very sensitive subject; is there a relationship between erectile dysfunction and gout? And if there is, what can you do about it?
Erectile Dysfunction and Gout
It’s been discovered that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition in men who have been diagnosed with gout:
- At least 2 US studies have shown that there’s a significant correlation between gout and ED. In their studies, there were higher incidences of ED in men with gout than in men without gout.
- Also, there’s some evidence that really severe cases of ED occur more often in men with gout than men without gout.
- An Iranian study showed that men with ED had higher blood uric acid than men without ED. And those with the highest acid levels were 6 times more likely to have ED than men with the lowest.
- A Turkish study found similar results when measuring blood uric acid in men with and without ED. (And we know that gout is caused by high uric acid in the blood.)
So, that’s it then…gout can cause erectile dysfunction!
Well, not so fast: a large-scale UK study failed to find any link between the two conditions.
And, although studies have established a ‘link’ they’ve been unable to prove that gout actually causes ED. (Some experts suggest that high uric acid concentrations may cause problems in the blood vessels in the penis.)
So where does that leave us?
On balance, there’s clearly an argument for the link between gout and erectile dysfunction. We just don’t know what that link is yet. But a look at the underlying causes of both conditions is very interesting.
Several key underlying triggers for ED are:
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
These are also high risk factors for gout. So it’s no real surprise, then, that men with gout may be more likely to have erectile disfunction than men without gout.
But it gets even more interesting and worrying…
According to one of the lead researchers, something like 1 in 5 men who have ED will also have coronary artery disease: the silent killer.
And a large Australian study found that men with ED have a much increased risk of heart failure, stroke and heart disease, compared to men without ED.
Several other studies have shown that high blood uric acid is linked to an increased risk of these conditions too.
It’s no wonder then that experts have recommended that doctors screen all gout patients for ED – very few men will volunteer their ED – so those with ED can be checked for those life-threatening conditions.
This seems like a very sensible approach that could save many lives. What is not known is whether reducing uric acid levels can actually lower the risk of erectile dysfunction. This is research that needs to be done.