Erectile dysfunction: does insulin resistance play a part?

J. C. Trussell, Richard S. Legro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To review MEDLINE literature for correlations between insulin resistance and erectile dysfunction (ED). Design: MEDLINE literature review (1966 to present). Setting: Academic medical center. Patient(s): None. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): None. Result(s): Erectile dysfunction affects more than half of men over the age of 40. Fortunately, most men with ED can be successfully treated with phosphodiesterase 5A (PDE-5) inhibitors, which up-regulate the vasodilatory effects of nitric oxide (NO). Insulin resistance affects 25% of U.S. adults and increases to a 60% occurrence in individuals who are overweight. Endothelial dysfunction, which is associated with insulin resistance states, can cause disturbances in the subcellular signaling pathways required for NO production. Because endothelial production of NO and insulin sensitivity are positively related in healthy humans, the relationships among insulin resistance, NO, and ED are the target of this review of MEDLINE literature. Conclusion(s): Insulin resistance states are characterized by defective vascular NO production and impaired insulin-induced vasodilation, both of which are likely to cause ED. Diagnosing and treating insulin resistance should be part of the initial management plan for ED. Future studies concerning the cause and effect relationship of insulin resistance and ED should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-778
Number of pages8
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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