A body of work, taking into account the pooled data of other research studies analysing the relationship between erectile dysfunction and depression was published around June, 2018. Its aim was to synthesise all research previously conducted on the association between them and also observe factors that may differentiate one from the other.

There are many reasons for why such an analysis is necessary, not only from the perspective of the patient. Holistic studies make sure that only a personal, patient-oriented approach to sexual dysfunctions like ED are not reiterated. ED affects relationships and sexual partners too, in terms of libido, desire and levels of intimacy. It’s more challenging, if anything, when depression is thrown into the mix. In addition, predicted statistics point towards ED affecting an estimated number of 322 million individuals by the year 2025. So clearly, closing one’s eyes and mind to it is not going to make it go away.

Coming back to the data of study related to ED and depression, credible, informative and relevant publications were screened, duplicates removed and a sum total of 92 were shortlisted upon a screening of their titles and abstracts. Out of these, 49 publications were included, taking into account other factors such as no contact with their authors and the like.

The results indicated that an exposure to depression increased the risk of being faced with ED. Moreover, the risk of ED increases about 39% in depressive patients and its incidence is also about 1.39 times higher than patients who are non-depressive. Conversely, the incidence of depression was found to be 2.92 times higher in patients with ED. Patients with depression are often filled with anxiety and performance pressure on a more intense level than non-depressive patients, which further hampers erectile function.

Having said this, the mechanism that drives the association between ED and depression is yet unestablished. It was also found that most allopathic, antidepressant drugs have adverse effects on erectile functioning. Testosterone levels play an instrumental role amidst sexual functions, unfortunately, low levels of which are reported among patients facing depression.

It may help to note that early assessment of both depression and ED, their specific management skills, culture and patient specific connotations matter. Patients reporting depression must be routinely screened for ED and those reporting ED must face screenings for depression symptoms.

Click here for the full PDF. (Credits of the Journal of Sexual Medicine)

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP

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