The Complex Relationship Between Erectile Dysfunction and Hypogonadism in Diabetes Mellitus

  • Levi C. Holland
  • Jonathan A. Beilan
  • Alexander J. Tatem
  • Larry I. LipshultzEmail author
Female Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders (A Pastuszak and N Thirumavalavan, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Female Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders


Purpose of Review

As the prevalence of diabetes mellitus grows worldwide, it is increasingly important to understand the commonly comorbid urologic conditions, hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction, in the setting of the diabetic man. The relationship between the diabetes, hypogonadism, and erectile dysfunction is complex with significant interplay among the disease processes and potential for unique management of the triad. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the intertwined nature of these diseases in diabetics with special consideration for pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management.

Recent Findings

There is a wide range of pathophysiologic mechanisms central to hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction in diabetes mellitus which continue to be identified and better elucidated; nevertheless, metabolic syndrome, composed of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and obesity, appears to be the common thread between both. An increasing body of evidence suggests that low testosterone is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and worsened overall survival in diabetic men with potential that testosterone therapy may reduce these risks. The treatment of either erectile dysfunction or hypogonadism in diabetic men may also improve the other condition; some evidence suggests that testosterone therapy in hypogonadal diabetics may improve erectile function while daily vardenafil, in addition to improving erectile function, appears to restore hypogonadal diabetics’ testosterone to the eugonadal range.


Metabolic syndrome appears to be the central connection between the increasingly common clinical picture of diabetic men with erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism. The overlapping pathophysiology of these conditions results in unique management considerations.


Diabetes mellitus Erectile dysfunction Hypogonadism Testosterone Sexual dysfunction Metabolic syndrome Pathophysiology Management 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Tatem, Dr. Holland, and Dr. Beilan each declare no conflicts of interest. Dr. Lipshultz reports roles with AbbVie as consultant, American Medical Systems as speaker, Aytu Bioscience as consultant, Endo Pharmaceuticals as speaker and consultant, and Lipocine as consultant.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Levi C. Holland
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonathan A. Beilan
    • 2
  • Alexander J. Tatem
    • 2
  • Larry I. Lipshultz
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Scott Department of UrologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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