To evaluate the global prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED); as well as its association with physiological and pathological ageing by examining the relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and dementia. We also aimed to characterise discrepancies caused by the use of different ED screening tools.

The Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE) and Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE) were searched to find population-based studies investigating the prevalence of ED and the association between ED and CVD, BPH, and dementia in the general population.

The global prevalence of ED was 3-76.5%. ED was associated with increasing age. Use of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS)-derived questionnaire identified a high prevalence of ED in young men. ED was positively associated with CVD. Men with ED have an increased risk of all-cause mortality odds ratio (OR) 1.26 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.57), as well as CVD mortality OR 1.43 (95% CI 1.00-2.05). Men with ED are 1.33-6.24-times more likely to have BPH then men without ED, and 1.68-times more likely to develop dementia than men without ED.

ED screening tools in population-based studies are a major source of discrepancy. Non-validated questionnaires may be less sensitive than the IIEF and MMAS-derived questionnaire. ED constitutes a large burden on society given its high prevalence and impact on quality of life, and is also a risk factor for CVD, dementia, and all-cause mortality.

BJU international. 2019 Jul 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Anna Kessler, Sam Sollie, Ben Challacombe, Karen Briggs, Mieke Van Hemelrijck

School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London, Translational Oncology and Urology Research (TOUR), London, UK., Urology Centre, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.