July 13th, 2010
12:05 AM ET

Men: Sex problems and depression can hurt your heart

Severe depression in men who experience erectile dysfunction is associated with a higher incidence of heart problems, according to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Researchers in Florence, Italy, screened more than 2,000 men for erectile dysfunction and depression, then noted which men later went on to have serious or fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

A depressed mood increased the men's' risk. After six years, among the men who weren't depressed, 91 percent avoided all major heart problems. Among the men who were depressed, only 85 percent avoided those problems.

"In erectile dysfunction subjects, the presence of depressive symptoms has deleterious effects not only in minds, but also in bodies," says study author Eliza Bandini, a psychiatrist at the University of Florence, in her report.
The study also found the use of antidepressant medications did not reduce the incidence of heart problems.

"So far, no study has evaluated the possible effect of treatment of depression on the incidence of major cardiovascular events," Bandini says.

As many as 15 percent of men with erectile dysfunction experience depression. The National Library of Medicine has information about treatments for erectile dysfunction and depression.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Mara

    point 1 – ED men who get depressed have greater risk of heart desease than men who DON'T get depressed

    point 2 – Anti-depressants do not decrease the risk of heart desease in depressed ED men

    point 3 – depression (regardless of cause) is already known to impact risk of cardiovascular desease.

    point 4 – anti-depressants have not been shown to decrease the risk of heart desease in NON-ED men.

    summary: depressed men have an increased risk of cadio desease compared to non-depressed men.

    Jesus H. Christ, people. Way to state the obvious.

    July 13, 2010 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evoc

      No kidding. Depression and ED are a reflection of a heartful of pain. ED can sure cause the rest.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Mara the idiot

      its not obvious fool. You should really learn what clinical studies are all about before commenting like that. Sometimes, clinical studies refute other conclusions and prove the assumed conclusion with data. I have seen many times, where your so called "obvious" conclusion is absolutely wrong in the presence of data. This study is critical to prove that link conclusively. EDUCATE YOURSELF MARA

      July 13, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • Dr.Evile, PhD

      It is not clear whether the men were depressed before diagnosed with ED, or "became" depressed after the diagnosis. This may provide some insight into the issue since the ED may be a result of Depression (and both of which may be associated with anxiety and cardio issues). In a way, I think this study is trying to "prove" that men who "can't" have sex become depressed and have all these serious cardio problems...poor men...poor men.

      July 13, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse |

      Brought to you by the Institute for the Blatantly Obvious. How many more asinine studies are these institutes going to waste their money on? This is such a freakin joke. Everyday on CNN I see another absolutely retarded piece of useless information that they spent THOUSANDS ON to study for NO ONE'S benefit.

      'Studies show that people who eat take dumps'. GEE THANKS CAPTAIN OBVIOUS.

      July 13, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    Great. Not only do I have a limp d!ck and feel lousy about the state of the world I live in, I now find I'm a sure bet for heart disease. Thanks a lot, I really needed to hear that.

    July 13, 2010 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evoc

      Hang in there, Mike, you'll find someone who luvs ya as you are.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
    • Harry Hard On

      If you are on Anti Depressants get rid of them ( Prozac Family) and ask you doc for something else. It will change your way of thinking..

      July 13, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Signature Plus

      Mike, Do your research on Omega – 3 fatty acids (containing both EPA and DHA) and the strong connection with depression. Research has shown a a deficient of Omega – 3 fatty acids in individuals suffering from depression. Research has also shown that Omega – 3 fatty acids is good for cardiovascular (heart) health. So, possibly if men add Omega – 3 fatty acids to their nutritional diets they may not suffer from depression, ED or poor cardiovascular (heart ) health. Take Care!

      July 13, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • customdesigndisplaystands

      It is type of allergy . You should proper check up by your doctor.


      August 12, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
  3. YoYo

    With a standard 3~4 percent margin of error used in any survey/study, and a six percent swing in this study, That leaves a 2 percent chance that this is a fact. Not much!

    July 13, 2010 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. John Holroyd

    I think the authors are missing the point. Could they not equally well say that people with heart disease get ED? In other words which is the cause and which is the effect? Without a lot more information this study is completely pointless.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kat

      You are right! These articles aren't written by scientists and they just attempt to grab your attention. What would it have said if 90% of the men in the study played video games and ate peanut butter every day...

      July 13, 2010 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • Yep

      THANK YOU! Finally, someone who can interpret results intelligently. So many of the studies cited in the news make shortsighted claims such as this one, where correlation and causation get mixed up, and cause gets mistaken for effect. Unfortunately, it not only renders the results pointless, it also can be dangerous and spread misinformation. At the very least, it doesn't bode well for the quality of the scientists who are conducting the studies.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • DFL

      John Holroyd is absolutely correct – in fact, previous studies have shown that ED is a SYMPTOM of underlying heart conditions, not a cause of the heart condition. Additionally, Viagra was originally developed to treat heart disease – not ED – but during the clinical trials, the men in the trial reported an unexpected side effect: the phenomenon society now associated with Viagra. Thus, a blockbuster drug was born.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Maybe some better causal/effect statements could read as: In a study of 2,000 men, it was found that –

      1. men who suffer from depression have a 6% higher risk of heart issues than those who don't suffer from depression.

      2. 15% of ED patients have issues with depression.

      Given the above From the article), there is no direct corellation between ED and heart disease, aside from assuming there may be some slight relationshi between ED and Heart risks due to also having depression.

      Additionally, the article does not mention what kind of questionnaires or medical histories (including bio-demographics, ie. age, race, weight, height, etc) of these indiviuals that were used as scientific data to even call the study valid. I only received a C in Statistics but have retained basic info like this to know when to determine if a study as valid or not to convince me to do anything. This study doesn't give the reader any info or steps to take if they are at risk (if possible, ie, exercise ,etc) other than if the reader is depressed, he MAY be at risk for heart disease or ED.

      July 13, 2010 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  5. ALH

    Did this study rule out other factors ? For example, do depression and ED cause many men to then do other unhealthy things, like eating unhealthy foods, smoking, not exercising, etc. ?

    July 13, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Goodgold

      If I had depression and ED I'd do those other things; gotta enjoy life somehow!

      July 13, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
  6. Mark in the Heartland

    Perhaps some of the men have ED because they are depressed? Psychological condition can have a major impact on how well the equipment works.

    July 13, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Csh

    Wait. Isn't depression and ED symtoms of cardiovascular disease – not the other way around? Wouldn't that explain why the antidepressants didn't help? I'm thinking these guys already had health problems causing the depression and ED before they were diagnosed with heart problems. ED particularly has been shown to be a great indicator for early cardiovascular problems.

    July 13, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Bill

    It is well known that men with low testosterone levels often have symptoms of ED, loss of libido and depression and are at higher risk of heart disease. Perhaps all this study does is to confirm that, but the researchers never made the connection.

    July 13, 2010 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr.Evile, PhD

      A loss in libido should not be treated with an ED pill. It should be treated with therapy.

      July 13, 2010 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Dr. Evile, it is very obvious that you are not a medical doctor. Testosterone is not an ED pill. It is hormone that, when too low in men, often will cause these symptoms and problems. You really should read up on what I was talking about so that you don't show your ignorance.

      July 13, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
    • Dr.EvilePhD

      I never said testosterone is an ED pill, nor that an ED pill is testosterone.

      For example, Sildenafil (Viagra) is a cGMP inhibitor which results in vasodilation (a fancy word for the widening of blood vessels), thereby allowing more blood to flow to the penis.

      What I indicated above was that men with a erectile dysfunction are prescribed an ED pill with little consideration of treating what is *actually* a testosterone or psychological issue. If the cause is a low libido, this should not treated with a pill that simply allows more blood to flow to the penis.

      Yet, for some reason, millions of men are prescribed ED pills...and apparently they all just have blood flow problems. "Hard" to believe...

      July 14, 2010 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
  9. jack h

    i'd be really depressed if my hydraulics lost all power.

    July 13, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Truth

      Oh but tehy do !

      July 13, 2010 at 19:47 | Report abuse |
  10. Phoenix Men's Counseling

    An interesting find. Another study proving the mind-body connection. Depression in men is so highly underreported, and if we can challenge the stigma for male type depression, and help guys ask for help for their depression, their cardiovascular health might improve. I work with men struggling with depression, and will definitely integrate this information into my work with these guys. Check out my blog at http://www.phoenixmenscounseling/blog for tips, advice and help for men struggling with depression, relationships and other mental health issues.

    July 13, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Signature Plus

    Do your research on Omega – 3 fatty acids (containing both EPA and DHA) and the strong connection with depression. Research has shown a a deficient of Omega – 3 fatty acids in individuals suffering from depression. Research has also shown that Omega – 3 fatty acids is good for cardiovascular (heart) health. So, possibly if men add Omega – 3 fatty acids to their nutritional diets they may not suffer from depression, ED or poor cardiovascular (heart ) health. Take Care!

    July 13, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Dr.Evile, PhD

    ***Moral of the story: popping an ED pill won't treat the real cause of male erectile dysfunction...since the "dysfunction" is all in their head (like it is for women). A very small fraction of men who are "diagnosed" with ED have solely a physical problem causing the dysfunction. Most really just need to go to therapy-but that wouldn't be manly.

    July 13, 2010 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      While it is true that erectile dysfunction can be a psychological problem, it is also caused by physiological problems. It is normally caused by poor blood flow to the penis. This can be caused by arterial blockage. Smoking also can cause ED, since it constricts blood vessels. The artery to the penis is small and any constriction or blockage can result in an inability to achieve an erection because the blood runs out faster than it can come in through the restricted artery. Your statement that a very small fraction of men with ED have a physical problem is just B.S. If this ridiculous statement were true then they would not be able to get an erection with Viagra, Levitra or Cialis. Those ED drugs do not automatically result in an erection because they do not affect libido. It takes both blood flow and desire to achieve an erection.

      July 13, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
    • Dr.EvilePhD


      When taken, ED pills cause an erection 75% of the time, according to studies.

      The remaining 25% of men who don't become erect after having taken an ED pill is due to serious medical illnesses that directly impede erection (like diabetes), making it virtually impossible for it to happen.

      And please understand the logic behind my statement. It cannot be "proven" whether a man really has an ED problem or not...since to prove it would mean that his penis remain flaccid. So it is not ridiculous to state that a tiny percent of men taking ED pills *solely* have a blood flow problem to the penis.

      July 14, 2010 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  13. rockki

    Lexapro is a permanent life long cure for any depression if you can survive the treatment. I was prompted by a marriage counselor to go to my doctor and request drugs for my OCD symptoms (checking, intrusive sad thoughts, previous eating disorders as a teen and heavy drinking.) I went to my husband’s pcp who never met me before. He gave me a depression self-test and diagnosed me with depression and anxiety, and then prescribed me Lexapro and Rozerem since I had a terrible insomnia problem. He also decided it was a good idea to start kissing me and grabbing me in his office. The Lexapro did such a good job getting me up and doing things, lots of things, but unfortunately, I believe it also may have made me nervous because it raised my blood pressure from it’s usual 120/80 to 145/110. I was really up, up, up. I could drink twelve shots of straight liquor and still be walking around for hours. This was the busiest year of my life. I managed to get 2 DUI’s 4 drunk in publics and an involuntary commit for suicide, attend 2 rehab’s, a hypnotherapist, weekly ASAP programs, all while working full time an taking care of a young child. During the course of my medical treatment, I was seen by 3 psychiatrists, 4 doctors, and numerous counselors. Most of the follow up treatment involved numerous more drugs, anti-buse, campral, and Buspar. All of which I had to stop taking due to side effects such as full body tremors and falling down. Finally, after the second DUI which I was also charged with a felony for pinching a police officers butt, I decided maybe I should stop taking the Lexapro b/c I seemed to have developed some obsession with alcohol and I could see I was also becoming delusional. So, while in jail, I requested no more medication for 1 week and was able to fully withdraw from Lexapro, although the depression side effects of the withdrawal lasted about three months. I met numerous other women in jail for DUI’s while on Zoloft, Lexapro and Abilify and others for shoplifting on Zanax. My depression is 100% permanently cured. I no longer ever feel sad about my life. I have never killed anyone driving drunk, I didn’t kill myself, I am no longer in jail, I didn’t get my kid taken away from me, I am not in a mental institution, and I don’t have a lethal diastolic blood pressure of 110 anymore. No matter what happens in my life now, I am always hopeful and never depressed. I know things could be much worse.

    July 13, 2010 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Truth

      Exactly. Many of these studies are funded by the most unintelligent braindead folks around. They waste thousands of dollars on the most useless information ever conceived. 'Studies show that people who eat take dumps'. NO, REALLY?

      OMEGA 3's ARE EXCELLENT FOR DEPRESSION AND 100% SAFE. But will you ever see an article for this on mainstream news? Never. They are controlled by the corrupt pharmaceutical companies that want you dead, but poor before you die. Take Omega 3's and stay away from ANTI DEPRESSANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 13, 2010 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
  14. Occum

    TRUTH you are briming with the delusions of both conspiracy theorists and also suffer 'gastrobabble'. Defined as when people who read BS 'alternative' health mags that tell them they should eat heaps of their 'natural; pills! silly person! the 'alternative' health industry is WORSE than mainstream Phara for selling rubbish to people. its worth billions of dollars, and peddles magic 'cures' to gullible fools like you! I have worked for 30 years with depressed and disturbed people, and most improve with well prescibed antidepressant AND counselling AND lifestyle change! You are an illiterate zealot of the magic potien industry! My degrees are in science, did yours – if you have any – come from the Hogwarts School of Magic?

    July 13, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rockki

      Really Occum,
      If you have that much experience with anti-depressants, you must have seen and adverse effect or so? If not, then it would appear that you exceptional zealous comes from the fact that you are currently under the influence of anti-depressants. (I find that when people react like that, that is usually the case.)

      July 14, 2010 at 04:34 | Report abuse |
  15. rockki

    The first poster is so right, way to state the obvious. This article says bascially nothing and insults the intelligence of most people. The ED and circulatory problems are probably related since they both have to do with blood flow. All anti-depressants cause a marked increase in blood pressure and are implicated in increased risk for heart and circulation related deaths and disease, not to mention worsening sexual side effects. The ED probably causes or excaerbates the depression and the depressed lifestyle, inactivity, axniety, etc. probably have a deleterious effect on the circulation and therfore the ED.

    July 14, 2010 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. PharmerDan

    Regarding omega fatty acids...
    Its true that omega fatty acids can have a positive outcome in depression, but I don't believe its safe to assume that it benefits everyone with depression. The concern about OTC fish oils is first mercury contamination and second the lack of standardization in various products. You can use these products, but you assume a considerable risk of gaining no benefit or of one of these products harming you. Different products contain different amounts of omega-3, 6, 9. A 500 mg capsule may contain more than a 1000 mg capsule. The amounts of the fatty acids are usually reported on the back of the bottle, but who knows if its accurate or not? The FDA refuses to regulate vitamins, herbs, minerals, and 'supplements.' ...People really should be outraged about that.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Anth

    ED problems? use you imagination, it's good stimuli, it works, seriously think in-detail of things that turn you on or you find rather provocative .. it works

    July 14, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dr.EvilePhD

    1) Not *all* anti-depressants decrease sexual desire. Wellbutrin *increases* sexual desire, to the contrary, and is often prescribed to women with low libido as a clinical treatment.

    2) Men of all ages go in to the doctor's office and say they have ED, and are prescribed Viagra, etc. Whether they *really* have a "problem" or not is unclear, as one could never prove that a guy was faking it.

    I would tend to think guys would want to get their hands on a pill to give them a hard on for hours b/c they could have longer, better sex with Viagra. It's a sex drug...do you really think millions of young men simply have blood flow problems? Really?

    July 14, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Seriously?

    Viagra doesn't give you a "hard on for hours," so people who attempt to purchase it for that reason will be sadly disappointed...and out a considerable amount of money. If you're the guy who ejaculates earlier than you'd like, it's not going to help you maintain an erection for longer than you're usually capable.

    My husband takes Viagra due to side effects from a 3-year long battle with cancer. All the poking and proding around in his business has left some nasty damage. While the Viagra assists with a stronger erection, it doesn't increase the frequency or sustainability of erections. It responds to your body's signals. It doesn't create the signals for you.

    As for the study – I hope they didn't pay them a lot of money. What a complete waste of time. The subjects were FIRST screened for ED and depression? How about first screening candidates for risks for heart disease? All this study proves is that people with poor circulation are also depressed sometimes. I believe the general population number for men who suffer from depression is 7-10%. So...men with ED are more often depressed? You don't say!

    July 17, 2010 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sanjay choudhury


    August 14, 2010 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Viagra


    Mangoes, peaches and strawberries
    These sticky, drippy fruits are exciting even without eating them. They are great to taste and even better for sexual stimulation. There shapes, succulence and feel are erotically insinuating and is fun to use during foreplay.

    Eggs are high on Vitamin B6 and B5 that help to fight stress and balance the hormone levels in the body. Both stress and hormones are crucial factors for a healthy libido. Eggs also symbolize fertility and rebirth.
    Liver can help to boost a lowered libido. It is a cellular fuel to boost up the immune system as well.

    Figs are high on amino acids that help to boost the libido. They also help to increase sexual stamina in men and women.

    You might complain of mouth odor but it may be worth it. Keep some mints handy in that case. Garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that increases blood flow to the sexual organs. It is an effective herb to increase the libido.

    Chocolates contain Theobromine which is an alkaloid that has same effects like caffeine. It gives a feeling of being in love. Chocolates are great mood enhancers as well as suggestive and erotic food stuff that need no new introduction. You can satiate your palette from having chocolate bars to fondue as long as it is chocolate. The erotic essence will be similar for all.

    October 6, 2010 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Moshe Sharon

    When we hear about “depression” we associate this word with mental illness. However, contrary to what the drug peddling psychiatrists say about it, depression is not an illness; it's a human condition. It's the opposite of joy, so it is part of an emotional spectrum with extremes at both ends. Morever, when we look at the buzz words dealing with depression in the realm of popular psychology such as, “self esteem”, “self worth”, “self image”, “self love”, “self Loathing”, etc., we can get that this entire area of study is about ego-centrism. There is no room in this private domain for anyone else. Moreover, the way our society deals with this subject as a whole even encourages narcissism. Therefore, barring any chemical or hormonal imbalances which doctors can correct, the person suffering from chronic bouts of depression needs to focus on the needs of others. The best therapy is a program that encourages people to be more altruistic and less self-centered.

    March 12, 2011 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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