Several of my male patients have shared with me that they’re having problems in the romance department more frequently. They experience erectile dysfunction often and are also feeling depressed and fatigued. They wonder if maybe they have a hormone deficiency, or are coming down with a bug or some other condition. I explain that perhaps a testosterone hormone deficiency is to blame, but I’d like to also check another hormone, their thyroid, as a potential cause for their symptoms. Let me explain.

A Man’s Thyroid and Sexual Performance

As a man gets older, usually past the age of 50, erectile dysfunction can become an issue for them. In fact, recent SHIM (a 5 point sexual health inventory for males) studies show a high prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men over age 50. Although ED can have several causes, including blood flow/heart conditions, the most common is low testosterone levels which are regulated by the thyroid. In turn, high TSH levels (low thyroid) can reveal ED in a man.

In the SHIM studies mentioned above, 71 male subjects were divided into 2 groups, 27 men with hyperthyroidism and 44 with hypothyroidism. The euthyroid (normal) control group also numbered 71 men. The men were asked to answer 5 questions aimed at determining erectile dysfunction. The study revealed that 52% of the hypothyroid men had erectile dysfunction, with 38% of those men having severe erectile dysfunction. In contrast, 27% of men in the hyperthyroid group had ED with 29.6% having severe cases. The good news result of the study is that after euthyroid (normal) levels were returned with either supplementing of thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism or suppression of hormone in hyperthyroidism, only 30% of the total group remained with ED. The bottom line recommendation of the study was that men with thyroid dysfunction commonly have ED which is reversible. Men with erectile dysfunction should have their thyroid hormones balanced 6 months in advance of considering any other ED treatment.

How Does Thyroid Affect Male Sexual Performance?

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that resides almost right at the base of your throat. It is the seat of metabolism, the making and using of energy for your entire body, including sexual energy. As stated, it also governs the making of the male sex hormone testosterone.

If your thyroid is not functioning correctly, you can have too much metabolic energy, as in hyperthyroidism, which can have the following symptoms:

Weight loss, inability to gain weight
Irritability/anxiety/panic attacks
Lack of concentration
Rapid heart rate
Hot flashes – inability to tolerate heat
Sexual dysfunction – premature ejaculation in 50% of men studied
Enlarged thyroid gland, goiter
Hair loss
Diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome

The opposite, hypothyroidism, can have the following symptoms:

Weight gain
Inability to tolerate cold
Low/no sex drive
Hair loss, dryness
High cholesterol

Either of these conditions can result in erectile dysfunction, however, in hypothyroidism, it can occur almost twice as often as the above mentioned studies state.

Protect Your Sexuality – Support Your Thyroid

If you’re a man having ED problems from thyroid imbalance, especially low thyroid, you may be contributing to your problem by using the following:

Anabolic steroids – results in thyroid hormone imbalance.
Xenoestrogens – environmental estrogens from heated plastics leech into food/ drink. Heating/eating microwave foods, drinking bottled water that became heated.
Food sources – “goitrogens” (depresses thyroid function) like soy, peanuts, raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts (boiling vegetables inactivates the goitrogen), fruits like peaches, strawberries, pine nuts, rapeseed oil (canola), can depress normal thyroid function. Caffeine (cola, coffee, chocolate, tea), food high in copper and iodine can over-stimulate thyroid output. Avocado and saturated fats can also stimulate thyroid hormone.
Medications – drugs like amiodarone (heart conditions), Phenobarbital, carbamazepine (sedatives), rifampin (antibacterial), lithium (brain chemical disorders) affect thyroid.

If you’re having ED symptoms, see your doctor and have a physical exam. Be sure that thyroid hormone levels are a part of your check-up. Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications or vitamins/minerals as these can contribute to either stimulating or depressing thyroid function, both which may contribute to ED. The good news is, thyroid source ED can be reversed within about 3-6 months of restoring the thyroid to normal levels!

Stay Well,

Dr. Mark

Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio:

I am one of the few doctors in this country who is board certified in anti-aging and am currently the Director of South Florida's Institute For Healthy Aging. With more than two decades of experience in treating thousands of patients, you could say I've seen it all. I treat a wide range of medical conditions- from cancer to obesity- and believe that natural, practical alternative carry the day.

I believe that education is fundamental to prevention and wellness. I've partnered with other medical experts and developed an online health education site,, which offers a wealth of information, written by top physicians and medical experts.