IN a recent study, researchers followed nearly 48,000 men for an average of 10 years, some with gout and others that were healthy. They discovered that men with gout were 31 per cent more likely to report erectile dysfunction (ED) than men without the condition.
What’s more, the problem can pop up before the painful joint issues even surface: those with gout were 63 per cent more likely to report erectile dysfunction in the year preceding their diagnosis and within two years of a gout diagnosis, the risk of ED was 77 per cent higher than with healthy guys.
One of the most painful forms of arthritis, gout occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. That’s known as hyperuricemia. Deposits of uric acid cluster in the joints, often in the big toe, and can hurt so bad it can wake people up during the middle of the night. The affected joint can be red, swollen, and feel warm to the touch.
The link in the study persisted even after the researchers adjusted for factors that could contribute to erectile dysfunction and gout, including smoking status, higher body mass index (BMI), and alcohol consumption.
The build up of excess uric acid in the blood can affect the blood vessels, possibly by triggering vascular smooth muscle proliferation, and that has been linked to plaque build up.
While more research needs to be done to confirm a cause-effect link, the researchers believe that the findings suggest that erectile problems can point to underlying gout before the painful joint issues even rise to the surface. So that’s one more reason to see your doctor when you start to notice such problems.