How the Thyroid Affects Penis Health

For most men, maintaining an appropriate level of both penis health and overall physical health is a worthy goal. And since overall health often has a significant impact on specific penis health, that desire to achieve in both areas is a good one. Sometimes even a tiny part of the body can have an impact on the penis. Take, for example, the thyroid gland.

The thyroid

Shaped like a butterfly or a bow tie, the thyroid gland is located right at the front of the neck. It’s made up of two little structures (referred to as lobes) that are connected by a thinner structure that’s often called an isthmus. It’s not very big, weighing only about 5/100 of a pound (less than an ounce) and measuring a few inches long. (It is somewhat bigger in women, especially when they’re pregnant.)

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which means that it’s involved in getting hormones where they need to go. A lot of the thyroid hormones are involved in metabolism, so they help determine how fast or slow things work in your body. This effect is felt throughout the body, including in how fast or slow your heart beats, how easily you gain or lose weight, how hot or cold you feel, etc.

Thyroid issues

Typically, there are two kinds of thyroid issues: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Although they sound very similar, they actually are opposites. Hyperthyroidism refers to a thyroid that operates at too high a level; hypothyroidism refers to one that operates at too low a level. In the first case, the body works too hard; in the second, it isn’t able to work hard enough.

The thyroid and the penis

So how does all this affect the penis and penis health? It can have an impact on erectile function.

In hypothyroidism, this seems to make some sense. The body feels sluggish when it has hypothyroidism, and that sluggishness would also lower a man’s sex drive, making erectile function problematic.

But it’s also an issue with hyperthyroidism. A 2012 study looked specifically at hyperthyroidism and confirmed its connection to erectile dysfunction. In this study, men with hyperthyroidism were 14 times more likely to have erectile issues compared to “typical” men.

An earlier 2008 study found that men with either condition also had other penis health issues, including an increased likelihood of premature ejaculation and low libido. (Interestingly, some men in this group also had a problem with delayed ejaculation.)

Treatment

Men with thyroid issues shouldn’t despair, however; most men respond favorably to treatment, and often the penis health issues related to thyroid problems are resolved when the thyroid gets back to working “normally.” Of course, sometimes patience is required, as the treatment does not always produce results overnight. Treatment typically involves medication. In some instances, especially with hyperthyroidism, it may involve surgery. After an examination and tests, a doctor can determine the best course of action to take.

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