Erectile function improves in obese men following weight loss during the SHED-IT randomised controlled trial (#153)
Background: Although one in five Australian men experience erectile dysfunction, only approximately 30% seek medical help. A review of sexual functioning and obesity found that as body weight increases sexual function decreases. Improvements in erectile function have been demonstrated following weight loss, with post-intervention improvements sustained for up to 2 years. The aim was to evaluate the impact of a weight loss program, the SHED-IT program that was specifically tailored for men and delivered via high quality resources (with or without the use of a web program for self-monitoring and support) and that had no required face-to-face intervention components .
Method: Using a randomised controlled trial 145 sexually active overweight/obese men were allocated to receive either the SHED-IT (Self Help Exercise and Diet Using IT) weight loss program or a wait-list control. Erectile function was assessed using the validated International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) Questionnaire, with a 5-point Likert scale response options to rate confidence, frequency of experience, or degree of difficulty in five questions related to sexual function. IIEF-5 was assessed at baseline, 3 months (post-intervention) and 6 months (3-month follow-up) and compared between men in the active intervention versus controls.
Results: Intention-to-treat analysis revealed a significant intervention effect for erectile function (P=0.018) at 6 months (+1.4; 95% CI 0.3, 2.4) favouring those who received the SHED-IT intervention compared to controls.
Conclusion: A low cost, minimal contact, gender-tailored weight loss program significantly improved men’s erectile function both post intervention and up to three months following program completion. Further studies evaluating change in erectile function with weight loss over longer follow-up periods are warranted.
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