Eczema tied to higher impotence risk: Study

Reuters, Thursday 9 Feb 2012

New Taiwanese study suggests men with allergic skin condition eczema could face greater risk of erectile dysfunction than others

Men who have the allergic skin condition eczema may have a higher risk of erectile dysfunction than other men, according to a Taiwanese study.

Though the study of several thousand men with erectile dysfunction (ED), which appeared in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, addressed a link, researchers said more study is needed and it is still too soon to confirm that eczema alone can cause impotence.

"There was an association between ED and prior atopic dermatitis," wrote lead researcher Shiu-Dong Chung and colleagues at Taipei Medical University. Atopic dermatitis is the medical term for eczema.

"Future studies are recommended, both to replicate the results seen here and to clarify the mechanisms behind them."

It's well known that some chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, are connected to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction, perhaps due to dysfunction in the blood vessels and nerves.

Some past studies have also found that men with certain inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis, have a higher rate of erectile dysfunction than other men.

Chung and colleagues looked through insurance claims data on 3,997 men with newly diagnosed erectile dysfunction, and compared them with nearly 20,000 men the same age with no known history of erectile dysfunction.

Almost 11 per cent of men with erectile dysfunction had eczema before the impotence diagnosis. By comparison, just under seven percent of men without erectile dysfunction had a history of eczema.

After the researchers weighed other factors, including health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, they found that men with erectile dysfunction were 60 per cent more likely to have a history of eczema than men without ED.

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