Erectile Dysfunction and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

Cosimo De Nunzio, Claus Roehrborn, Karl Erik Andersson, Kevin T. McVary

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Context: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTSs) and erectile dysfunction (ED) are substantial health concerns with a significant impact on the overall male quality of life. Objective: To evaluate the available evidence of the association between LUTSs and ED in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and discuss possible clinical implications for the management of LUTS/BPH. Evidence acquisition: A systematic review of the existing literature published between 1997 and June 2017 and available in the Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science databases was conducted using both the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and free-text protocols. The MeSH search was conducted by combining the following terms: “lower urinary tract symptoms,” “LUTS,” “benign prostatic hyperplasia,” “BPH,” “erectile dysfunction,” “sexual dysfunction,” “BPE,” and “benign prostatic enlargement.” The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines were followed. Evidence synthesis: Several community-based studies in different geographical areas have provided strong evidence of an age-independent association between LUTSs and ED. Several biological mechanisms have been proposed to explain this association, but further research is required to better understand the molecular pathways involved. It is necessary to evaluate the possible impact of the metabolic syndrome treatment on LUTS/ED management. Considering the possible relationship between LUTSs and ED, their impact on the quality of life, and the possible adverse effects associated with LUTS medical treatment, clinicians should always evaluate ED in patients with LUTSs and take the opportunity to evaluate patients reporting ED for LUTSs. Conclusions: Data from the peer-reviewed literature suggest the existence of an association between LUTS/BPH and ED, although their casual relationship has not been established yet. Emerging data also suggest that pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the metabolic syndrome are key factors in both disorders. Considering the association, it is also recommended that men presenting with LUTSs or ED should be evaluated for both disorders. A better understanding of the molecular pathways behind this association may also help identify new possible targets and develop novel therapeutic approaches to manage LUTSs and ED. Patient summary: In this manuscript, we report on all the available evidence linking erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms. Our findings suggest the existence of a strong relationship between these two conditions. On the basis of these findings, we recommend that clinicians always explore both conditions in male patients presenting with either of symptoms. Lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction disorders have an age-independent association between them. A comprehensive evaluation of both diseases is warranted to improve patient care and men's health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-363
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Diagnosis
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Outcome
  • Prostate
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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