Erectile Dysfunction and Psoriasis: Could There Be a Link?

Few things are as worrisome to a man as erectile dysfunction. Despite the fact that many men experience some erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives, it’s a topic that is not openly discussed, even among friends. Many myths and much misinformation therefore exists around this topic, which makes evidence-based information on this penis care matter that much more valuable. Interestingly, a recent study has raised the possibility that there could be a link between psoriasis and erectile dysfunction.

The study

Published online in the International Journal of Impotence Research, the study looked at 191 men with psoriasis and 191 men without psoriasis. (Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches on the skin.) When the scientists crunched their numbers, they found that almost 53% of men with psoriasis also had erectile dysfunction, compared to about 40% of men without psoriasis who also had erectile dysfunction. Further, of those men with erectile issues, those with psoriasis were more likely to classify the erectile issues as severe. The authors thus determined that the data suggest that men with psoriasis are significantly more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those without the skin condition.

What does it mean?

Does this study mean that psoriasis is a cause of erectile dysfunction? Though this study was not designed to definitively answer that question, the likely answer is no, psoriasis is not a cause.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s not a link between them, as the study found. It means that the factors which actually cause psoriasis are probably not responsible for a man’s inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Instead, it suggests that other characteristics shared by people with psoriasis may be contributing factors to the dysfunction issue.

Other factors

For example, many people with psoriasis also have other conditions which are also linked to erectile dysfunction. These include diabetes, cardiovascular issues, hypertension and obesity. Each of these conditions is often associated with diminished blood flow throughout the body – including blood flow to the penis. And as most penis owners know, erections are dependent upon an influx of blood to the penis both to initiate and to sustain them.

In addition, many men with psoriasis in the study also reported experiencing feelings of anxiety and/or depression, as well as low self-esteem. All of these issues can have a severe impact on a person’s sex drive, which in turn can lead to pronounced erectile issues. These psychologically-based factors may be even more pronounced when psoriasis occurs on or near the penis itself. This can lead to a man feeling ashamed of or embarrassed by his penile appearance; this in turn makes him less likely to want to engage in sex.

Psoriasis

So in short, psoriasis does not appear to be a major physiological cause of erectile dysfunction, but it can be an indicator of potential dysfunction. It also demonstrates again that erectile dysfunction can be a signal of other health conditions, some of which (such as hypertension, diabetes, etc.) a man may not be aware. So if a man has recurring erectile dysfunction, a good physical check-up is recommended to search for causes – many of which can and need to be treated.

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