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Sleep Med. 2010 Dec;11(10):1019-24. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.08.016. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

Prevalence of erectile dysfunction complaints associated with sleep disturbances in Sao Paulo, Brazil: a population-based survey.

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Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil.



The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) complaints in a population-based sample from Sao Paulo and to determine the associations of ED prevalence with sleep disturbances, testosterone levels, age, body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic factors and selected medical history indicators.


The Epidemiologic Sleep Study (EPISONO) is a population-based study of sleep and risk factors for sleep disturbances in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paolo. This study adopted a probabilistic three-stage cluster sampling approach for the city of Sao Paulo. Questionnaires that covered medical conditions and sexual and erection complaints were administered and polysomnographies and fasting blood samples were collected. The patient cohort of the current study of ED consisted of 467 men, aged 20-80 years at the time of their enrollment in EPISONO. The percentage of men who participated in EPISONO but refused to participate in our study was 2.3%.


The prevalence of ED complaints in the study cohort was 17.08% overall. ED complaints ranged from 7.3% in younger men (20-29 years old) to 63.25% in older men (>50years old) (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=21.65). The logistic regression model showed that both reduced time spent in REM sleep and fragmented sleep had significant effects as risk factors for ED complaints. Obesity (OR=1.8), low testosterone levels (OR=4.28), low quality of life (OR=4.4), an apnea-hypopnea index over 15 (OR=2.75), and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OR=2.13) were also significantly associated with a higher risk of ED complaints.


EPISONO study indicates that ED complaints are relatively common phenomena, especially among older men. Adequate sleep patterns and normal or high levels of testosterone, which serve as markers for sexual motivation, may be protective against ED. The prevalence of sleep apnea showed a strong impact on erectile function and subsequently negatively affects sexual activity.

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