IRCCS Fondazione Ca' Granda - Maggiore Policlinico Hospital
Introduction: High serum estrogens levels have been associated with higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, and prostate cancer. Moreover, hyperestrogenism is believed to be harmful to male sexuality. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of and the impact of hyperestrogenism on sexual functioning in a cohort of men seeking medical attention for new onset erectile dysfunction (ED) in the real-life setting.
Methods: Data from 547 men seeking first medical help for new-onset ED at a single andrology centre were analyzed. Patients were assessed with a thorough medical and sexual history. Comorbidities were scored with the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). All patients completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF); the IIEF-Erectile function (IIEF-EF) domain was categorized according to Cappelleri’s criteria. Circulating hormones were measured in every patient. Hyperestrogenism was defined as estradiol (E2) levels >42.6 pg/mL (Tan RS et al. 2015). Descriptive statistics and logistic/linear regression models tested the association between hyperestrogenism and IIEF scores.
Results: Overall, 96 (17.6%) patients had serum estrogen levels suggestive for hyperestrogenism. Men with hyperestrogenism were older [median (IQR) 46 (35-59) vs. 44 (31-56) years; p<0.001], had more comorbidities [CCI=1: 26.0% vs. 7.4%; p<0.001] and higher serum testosterone (TT) levels [5.4 (5.2-8.0) vs. 4.3 (4.1-5.7); p=0.01] than those with normal E2 values. A higher rate of severe ED was found in men with elevated E2 levels (49.0% vs. 29.9%; p=0.01). Moreover, the IIEF-orgasmic function (IIEF-OF) domain was lower in ED men with hyperestrogenism than those with normal E2 values [6 (3-10) vs. 9 (5-10), p=0.03]. Serum E2 levels were positively correlated with TT levels (rho 0.26, p<0.001), but negatively correlated with IIEF-OF (rho -0.2, p<0.01) and IIEF-EF scores (rho -0.33, p<0.001). At multivariable logistic regression analysis, hyperestrogenism (OR 2.44, p=0.02) was associated with severe ED after accounting for age, BMI, CCI and serum TT values.
Conclusions: One out of five men seeking first medical help for ED showed elevated serum E2 values in the real-life setting. Hyperestrogenism was associated with health significant comorbidities, orgasmic function impairment and higher severity of ED.