In a randomized controlled trial 145 sexually active overweight/obese men received either a male only SHED-IT (Self Help Exercise and Diet Using IT) weight loss program or a wait-list control. Erectile function (IIEF-5) was compared between men in the active intervention versus controls. IIEF-5 was assessed at baseline, 3 months (post-intervention) and 6 months (3-month follow-up). Intention-to-treat analysis revealed a significant intervention effect for erectile function (p = 0.018) at 6 months (+1.4; 95% CI 0.3,2.4; d = 0.32). A minimal contact, gender-tailored weight loss program significantly improved men's erectile function. Further studies evaluating change in erectile function with weight loss are warranted.
CE Collins, ME Jensen, MD Young, R Callister, RC Plotnikoff, PJ Morgan.
Improvement in Erectile Function Following Weight Loss in Obese Men: The SHED-IT Randomized Controlled Trial
Obes Res Clin Pract 2013 Dec 01; 7(6)e450-e454,
Commentary By David Rakel MD, FAAFP
This study tells us two things. The first confirms other research—that weight loss is associated with improved erectile function. (That should help us motivate our male patients!) It also shows that an online weight loss program (SHED IT) can result in weight loss with limited professional contact. Results showed an average 4.7-kg weight loss after 6 months.
Although this study did not measure testosterone levels, we know that, with weight loss, aromatase is inhibited, which reduces the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, raising testosterone levels. Weight loss and exercise were found to reduce the normal age-related decline of testosterone in men with pre-diabetes in the SHiP trial.1 So, add erectile function to the long list of benefits of weight loss in men who are overweight.
- Haring R, Ittermann T, Volzke H, et al. Prevalence, incidence and risk factors of testosterone deficiency in a population-based cohort of men: results from the study of health in Pomerania. Aging Male. 2010;13(4):247-257.