Diabetes, not alcohol, smoking affects libido in men— Study

The high incidence of erectile dysfunction (ED) among Nigerian male adults of south-western origin may be majorly due to diabetes rather than alcohol or smoking, a study has said.

In a new study, experts found that 58.9 per cent of the participants in the population-based study had ED and often do not seek for medical help but usually suffer in silence because of the stigma associated with the condition.

The community-based study aimed at determining the prevalence of erectile dysfunction and the possible associated risk factors among Nigerian men involved 243 men aged between 30 and 80 years in Ogbomoso, South-west from October 2014 to May 2015.

In the study, 47.2 per cent, 11.3 per cent and 41.5 per cent of the respondents had mild, moderate and severe ED respectively just as age, hypertension, use of anti-hypertensive drugs, diabetes mellitus and heart disease, were factors that could influence who ends up with the problem.

The 2016 study was published in The Pan African Medical Journal. It involved Abiodun Christopher Jemilohun and Bolaji Oyetunde Oyelade from LAUTECH University, Ogbomoso as well as Sunday Adedeji Aderibigbe from the University of Ilorin.

The researchers, however, said that why alcohol intake did not have a significant relationship with ED in the study cannot be immediately explained since they did not quantify the amount of alcohol taken by the participants.

However, they asked that physicians, especially primary care ones, pay more attention to the sexual history of their patients in order to diagnose and manage ED more frequently.

According to them, “There is need for public education/enlightenment by government and advocacy groups to address the problems of ignorance and stigmatisation associated with erectile dysfunction. This will go a long way to ameliorate the psychosocial burden of the disease on the sufferers.”

An earlier study conducted at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, also in the south-western part of Nigeria, had put the prevalence of ED at 55.1 per cent.

Erectile dysfunction is currently one of the most common sexual dysfunctions worldwide, but it is usually underestimated because it is not a life threatening condition. The associated stigma makes men who have it to suffer in silence.

World-wide estimates of ED prevalence range from two per cent in men younger than 40 years to 86 per cent in men 80 years or older. Also, younger men believe that the condition would resolve with time and older men have the perception that ED is a normal part of ageing.

For the elderly and for others, ED may occur as a consequence of specific illnesses or of medical treatment for certain illnesses, resulting in fear, loss of image and self-confidence, and depression.

Though many advances have occurred in both diagnosis and treatment of ED, its various aspects remain poorly understood by the general population and by most healthcare professionals.