Skin Infection Increases Risk of Erectile Dysfunction

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What could a common skin disorder have in common with sexual dysfunction? Results of a new study suggest that men who have psoriasis are at increased risk of erectile dysfunction, according to a team at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes irritated, thick, reddened skin that often has flaky, white patches which can appear anywhere on the body, although they are most often see on the elbows, knees, and the middle of the body. Erectile dysfunction appears to have no connection with this skin disease.

Yet in this new study, which involved 12,300 male patients who had just been diagnosed with psoriasis and 16,500 controls, investigators uncovered an association between psoriasis and erectile dysfunction. A total of 1,812 patients in the study experienced some type of sexual dysfunction during the seven-year follow-up period: 373 of these men had psoriasis and 1,439 did not. Erectile dysfunction was the most common sexual dysfunction noted by the investigators.

Overall, men with psoriasis had a 27% higher risk for sexual dysfunction than did men without the chronic inflammatory skin condition. When analyzed by age group, men aged 41 to 60 years had a 32% increased risk of experiencing sexual dysfunction, and this increased to 42% in men older than 60.

This study suggests physicians should observe and question the effect psoriasis has on the sexual and psychosocial health of male patients, especially older men, and that psoriasis increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. The study also found higher rates of coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke among men with psoriasis, which confirms previous research.

Subsequent research also has shown a clear relationship between psoriasis and erectile dysfunction. In November 2016, for example, researchers reported on the physical and psychological factors linking psoriasis and erectile dysfunction. They reported that “the higher prevalence of smoking and anxiety/depression among patients with moderate to severe psoriasis probably explains the higher prevalence of erectile dysfunction in this population.”


ChenY-J et al. Increased risk of sexual dysfunction in male patients with psoriasis: a nationwide population based follow-up study. Journal of Sexual Medicine 2012 May 21

Molina-Leyva A et al. Prevalence and associated factors of erectile dysfunction in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis and healthy population: a comparative study considering physical and psychological factors. Archives of Sexual Behavior 2016 Nov; 45(8): 2047-55

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