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IBD and Erectile Dysfunction


Recent studies have found a strong correlation between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – including ulcerative colitis and Chron’s Disease – and erectile dysfunction.

In a 2019 study1, Eugenia Shmidt, MD, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues surveyed 69 men drawn from the Ocean State Crohn’s and Colitis Area Registry. Using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) instrument, 94% were found to have erectile dysfunction.

The study is the first to examine sexual function in men with newly diagnosed IBD, according to the authors. They noted that:

“Clinicians should be aware of the high prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction in men with IBD, We recommend screening for sexual dysfunction in male patients with IBD and considering referral for treatment using pharmacotherapy and behavioral techniques when appropriate.”

A 2021 review of research literature2 using MEDLINE (PubMed), Google Scholar, and ResearchGate databases, concluded that:

“SD [Sexual Dysfunction] is a common and little-known problem in patients with IBD. Control of IBD activity does not appear to be sufficient to improve patients’ QoL [Quality of Life].”

“SD in IBD is multifactorial, involving biological and psychosocial factors, and disease-specific factors, such as the duration and activity of the disease, drug use, and surgery. An early investigation of SD in IBD patients through open questions and validated scales will allow a multidisciplinary approach, with the aim of improving the QoL of our patients. Further prospective studies evaluating SD in patients with IBD, as well as studies investigating interventions to improve SD in this population are needed.”


  1. Shmidt, E; Suárez-Fariñas, M; Mallette, M; Moniz, H; Bright, R; Shah, S A; Merrick, M ; Shapiro, J; Xu, F ; Saha, S; Sands, B E. “Erectile Dysfunction Is Highly Prevalent in Men With Newly Diagnosed Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Inflammatory Bowel Disease. July 2019; 25(8):1408-1416.
  2. de Arce, Edith Perez; Quera, Rodrigo; Barros, Jaqueline Ribeiro; Sassaki, Ligia Yukie. “Sexual Dysfunction in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What the Specialist Should Know and Ask.” International Journal of General Medicine. May 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 2003—2015.

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