Erectile Dysfunction and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Some studies have reported that exposure to depression increases the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), whereas others have observed no association. Moreover, additional studies have reported that exposure to ED increases the risk of depression.

To identify and quantitatively synthesize all studies evaluating the association between ED and depression and to explore factors that may explain differences in the observed association.

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. We searched Medline, Ovid Embase, and the Cochrane Library through October 2017 for studies that had evaluated the association between ED and depression. Studies were included in accordance with Patient Population or Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes, and Setting (PICOS) inclusion criteria.

The odds ratio (OR) was regarded as the effect size, and the heterogeneity across studies was assessed using the I2 statistic.

We identified 49 eligible publications. The pooled OR for studies evaluating depression exposure and risk of ED was 1.39 (95% CI: 1.35-1.42; n = 46 publications with 48 studies). Although we observed large heterogeneity (I2 = 93.6%), subgroup analysis indicated that it may have been as a result of variations in study design, comorbidities, ED assessment, depression assessment, the source of the original effect size, etc. No significant publication bias was observed (P = .315), and the overall effect size did not change by excluding any single study. The pooled OR for studies evaluating ED exposure and risk of depression was 2.92 (95% CI: 2.37-3.60; n = 5 publications with 6 studies). No significant heterogeneity (P < .257, I2 = 23.5%) or publication bias (P = .260) was observed.

Patients reporting ED should be routinely screened for depression, whereas patients presenting with symptoms of depression should be routinely assessed for ED.

There are several strengths to this study. First, evaluations of the association between ED and depression are timely and relevant for clinicians, policymakers, and patients. Second, we intentionally conducted 2 meta-analyses on the association, allowing us to include all potentially relevant studies. However, our study also possesses some limitations. First, the OR is a measure of association that only reveals whether an association is present. Thus, this study was unable to determine the direction of causality between ED and depression. Second, the high heterogeneity among studies makes it difficult to generalize the conclusions.

This study demonstrates an association between depression and ED. Policymakers, clinicians and patients should attend to the association between depression and ED. Liu Q, Zhang Y, Wang J, et al. Erectile dysfunction and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sex Med 2018;xx:xxxx-xxxx.

The journal of sexual medicine. 2018 Jun 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Qian Liu, Youpeng Zhang, Jin Wang, Sen Li, Yongbiao Cheng, Jialun Guo, Yong Tang, Hanqing Zeng, Zhaohui Zhu

Department of Urology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; Department of Nosocomial Infection Management, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China., Department of Urology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China., Department of Urology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. Electronic address: .

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