A Natural History of Erectile Dysfunction in Elderly Men: A Population-Based, Twelve-Year Prospective Study

Jouko Saramies, Markku Koiranen, Juha Auvinen, Hannu Uusitalo, Esko Hussi, Sebastian Becker, Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Kadri Suija

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There is a wide variation in the development and course of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, which confirms the need for prospective studies. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among the general male population at the baseline (n = 359) and in a follow-up survey (n = 218) 12 years later. The prospective 12-year study included 189 men. ED was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. The mean age of the participants was 62.0 years at the baseline, while at the 12-year follow-up it was 71.6 years. The crude prevalence of ED was 61.6% at the baseline and 78.9% at the follow-up, and the prevalence tended to increase with age. All of the men aged 75 years or more had at least mild ED. The incidence of ED in every thousand person years was 53.5. A total of 54.5% of the men experienced ED progression, while 39.2% reported no changes in erectile function, and 6.3% experienced ED regression during the 12-year study. The likelihood of ED progression was higher in the older compared with younger age group (odds ratio, OR 5.2 (95% CI: 1.1–26.2)), and the likelihood of ED regression was lower among men with increased depression symptoms (OR 0.3 (95% CI: 0.1–0.6)) and among men with a decreased interest in their sexual life (OR 0.1 (95% CI: 0.0–0.6)). Lifestyle factors such as the consumption of alcohol and smoking were not significantly associated with ED.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2146
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • erectile dysfunction
  • follow-up studies
  • incidence
  • lifestyle
  • prevalence

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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