(RxWiki News) While anyone can develop gout, a type of arthritis, the condition is more common in men than women. And it seems that gout may be linked to a problem only men can experience.
In a recent survey, about three-quarters of men with gout also had erectile dysfunction, which is when a man cannot get or keep an erection.
"Tell your doctor if you're having sexual difficulties."
Naomi Schlesinger, MD, of Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, led this research.
Dr. Schlesinger and colleagues surveyed 201 men, aged 18 to 89 years, who presented at a rheumatology clinic between August 2010 and May 2013. Of these men, 83 had gout and 118 did not.
Gout involves recurrent episodes of acute inflammatory arthritis that results from deposits of needle-like uric acid in joints. It can be very painful.
The men in this study gave their health history, had a physical exam and had some laboratory testing. The men were also asked to complete the sexual health inventory, which rates erectile dysfunction in five categories, from absent to severe.
Of the men with gout, 76 percent had erectile dysfunction, compared with 52 percent of the men without gout.
Men with gout were more likely to define their erectile dysfunction as severe (43 percent) compared to the men without gout who had erectile dysfunction, of which only 30 percent rated it as severe.
More men with tophaceous gout (a type of chronic gout where hard masses of uric acid crystals are deposited in the body) had erectile dysfunction than men with other kinds of gout, the researchers found.
The researchers recommended that men with gout be screened for erectile dysfunction.
These researchers noted that gout is associated with cardiovascular disease and coronary artery dysfunction. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It involves the narrowing of arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart. Coronary artery disease is often silent, so people may not know they have the condition.
In a press release from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), Dr. Schlesinger said, "Because gout is commonly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and coronary artery disease (CAD) and patients who present with [erectile dysfunction] also have an increased rate of CVD risk factors and concomitant silent CAD, all these patients should also be evaluated for possible silent CAD.”
This research was presented at the EULAR Annual Conference June 11-14 in Paris, France. It has not yet been peer-reviewed.
There were no disclosures of potential conflicts of interest.