Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to grow and “turn over” more quickly than they normally would. As a result, thick, scaly patches of dead skin called plaques develop, most often on the elbows and knees. But psoriasis can form anywhere on the body, including the genitals.
Research suggests that men with psoriasis may be more likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED).
In May 2018, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a review of 9 medical studies related to psoriasis and ED. Together, the studies included over 36,000 men with psoriasis and 1.6 million men without the condition.
The researchers found that there was a significant association between psoriasis and ED risk. In other words, men with psoriasis were more likely to develop ED compared to men without psoriasis. The authors recommended that doctors screen their male psoriasis patients for ED.
The reasons why psoriasis is linked to ED aren’t completely clear. However, many health conditions associated with psoriasis are also associated with ED, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
There may also be psychological links, as men with psoriasis may develop low self-esteem and feel especially anxious about sex. For example, they might worry that their condition will turn off a potential partner. This anxiety could affect their ability to get erections.
Men who believe they’re having sexual problems because of psoriasis are encouraged to talk to a doctor and/or therapist. Both psoriasis and sexual issues can be treated. (Learn more about erectile dysfunction and its treatment here.) And therapy can boost confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills, which may improve relationships.
Please see the following links to learn more about sex and psoriasis:
“The Psoriasis-Hypertension Link — And What You Can Do About It”
(Last updated: March 15, 2017)
“Psoriasis and Heart Disease: The Hidden Connection”
(Last updated: June 1, 2017)
HealthDay via WebMD
“Severe Psoriasis May Make Diabetes More Likely”
(November 20, 2017)
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Wu, Tao, MD, PhD, et al.
“Association Between Psoriasis and Erectile Dysfunction: A Meta-Analysis”
(Full-text. Published online: May 4, 2018)
(Last review date: February 27, 2018)
Sexual Medicine Society of North America
“Psoriasis and Sexual Behavior in Men”
(July 10, 2013)
“Psoriasis and Sexuality”
(May 31, 2016)