Almost 52% of men struggle with erectile dysfunction (ED). Most of them associate this sexual dysfunction with aging, not knowing that thyroid problems can cause erectile dysfunction too. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland affect different parts of the body. It’s no surprise that sexual health is one of them. Studies have shown that among 71% of men with thyroid issues, 79% experience some sort of ED. So if you’re suffering from the side effects of ED and thyroid issues and wondering about their connection, this article is for you. Together, we will learn how hypothyroidism can cause erectile dysfunction, explore the relationship between hyperthyroidism and erectile dysfunction, and give you a few solutions to reclaim your sexual health.
What Does the Thyroid Do?
Before we discuss whether thyroid problems can cause erectile dysfunction or not, we need to talk about the thyroid itself. This butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of your neck produces various hormones. The thyroid hormones influence different cells, organs, and systems throughout the body that help you function properly. Insulin is one of its most famous hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Other thyroid hormones can control your metabolism, heart, muscles, digestive system, brain development, and more. If your thyroid gland produces too many or too few hormones, it can lead to different health problems, and ED is one of them. The two types of thyroid problems that can cause erectile dysfunction include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Let’s take a look at both of them.
Hypothyroidism is one of the conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction. It’s when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, and it’s also known as an underactive thyroid.
Some of the signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Feeling cold all the time
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
- Muscle aches
- Dry skin
Hyperthyroidism and erectile dysfunction go hand-in-hand in many men. This condition is when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. It’s also known as an overactive thyroid.
Some of the signs of hyperthyroidism include:
- Feeling warm all the time
- More bowel movements
- Mood shifts
- Unexpected weight loss
- Thinning hair
- Sleeping problems
Along with these signs, both thyroid problems can cause erectile dysfunction. But how exactly does that happen?
How Can These Thyroid Problems Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
ED has many potential causes. Natural aging and dehydration are some of them, as well as thyroid problems. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, thyroid problems can lead to ED through their other symptoms; feeling tired, irritable, and depressed from thyroid-related hormonal imbalances can lower your sex drive and make it harder for you to get an erection. Plus, hyperthyroidism in men can lead to premature ejaculation. On the other hand, hypothyroidism can lead to delayed ejaculation.
Thyroid problems can also cause erectile dysfunction through other processes related to getting aroused. For instance, they interfere with hormones that regulate testosterone production and the molecules responsible for regulating blood vessels in the penis. As you may have suspected, ED is not the only sexual function affected by thyroid issues.
Can Thyroid Problems Cause Sexual Issues Other Than Erectile Dysfunction?
Other than erectile dysfunction, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause a myriad of other sexual problems in both men and women.
Thyroid problems in women can cause:
Lower Sex Drive
Reports from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) show that hypothyroidism can often lead to low libido.
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)
Thyroid issues can also lead to HSDD, which is the absence of sexual fantasies or desire for sexual activities.
Pain During Sex
Another side effect of thyroid problems in women is vaginal dryness which can lead to a painful sexual experience.
Thyroid problems in men can cause erectile dysfunction and also the following issues:
Reports from the Sexual Medicine Society of North America show that men with hypothyroidism have a higher chance of delayed ejaculation. Meanwhile, those with hyperthyroidism suffer from premature ejaculation.
Lower Sex Drive
Just as in women, research shows that thyroid issues can lower sex drive in men.
What Should You Do?
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction along with the symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you must visit a doctor. The psychological effects of erectile dysfunction can change your life drastically, and you should not ignore them. Plus, if you have thyroid problems, you should definitely get checked because these conditions can affect your whole body. When you visit a doctor, he will evaluate your thyroid hormones through blood tests and ask about your symptoms. He will prescribe you medication or start the appropriate treatment for you if he detects imbalances in your thyroid hormone levels.
Now that you know hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause erectile dysfunction, it’s time to learn about their treatments.
For hormonal imbalances, your doctor could prescribe you medication. Levothyroxine is the standard drug for hypothyroidism, and studies have proven its efficiency. Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, which include Viagra, are effective drugs for erectile dysfunction that don’t interact with your thyroid medication.
So can thyroid problems cause erectile dysfunction? Yes. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause erectile dysfunction. They can harm your sex life and your personal relationships. If left untreated, they can also affect your entire body and make life more difficult. So if you are experiencing ED along with the symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to get checked.
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