Erectile Dysfunction in a Sample of Sexually Active Young Adult Men from a US Cohort: Demographic, Metabolic, and Mental Health Correlates

Jerel P Calzo, S Bryn Austin, Brittany M Charlton, Stacey Missmer, Martin Kathrins, Audrey Gaskins, Jorge E Chavarro
Journal of Urology 2020 September 16, : 101097JU0000000000001367

PURPOSE: Little is understood about physiologic and psychologic correlates of erectile dysfunction (ED) among younger men. This study examined prevalence and correlates of ED in a large US sample of 18-31 year old men.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: ED prevalence and severity (defined using the International Index of Erectile Function-5 scale) were examined in cross-sectional survey data from 2,660 sexually active men, aged 18-31 years, from the 2013 Growing Up Today Study. ED medication and supplement usage was self-reported. Multivariable models estimated associations of moderate-to-severe ED with demographic (age; marital status), metabolic (body mass index; waist circumference; history of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia), and mental health (depression; anxiety; antidepressant, tranquilizer use) variables.

RESULTS: Among sexually active men, 11.3% reported mild ED; 2.9% reported moderate-to-severe ED. Married/partnered men had 65% lower odds of ED compared to single men. Adjusting for history of depression, antidepressant use was associated>3 times the odds of moderate-to-severe ED. Anxiety was associated with greater odds of moderate-to-severe ED, as was tranquilizer use. Few men (2%) reported using ED medication or supplements; however, among them, 29.7% misused prescription ED medication. Limitations include reliance upon cross-sectional data and the sample's limited racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

CONCLUSION: Erectile dysfunction was common in a large sample of sexually active young adult men from a US cohort and was associated with relationship status and mental health. Health providers should screen for ED in young men, and monitor use of prescription ED medications and supplements for sexual functioning.

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