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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 116-120

Erectile dysfunction in a sub-saharan African population: Profile and correlates in a tertiary care hospital


1 Department of Family Medicine, Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, Neurology Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
3 Department of Family Medicine, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
4 Department of Surgery, Urology Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication10-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
F A Imarhiagbe
Department of Medicine, Neurology Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, P.O. Box 7184, GPO, Benin City
Nigeria
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DOI: 10.4103/1118-8561.169286

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  Abstract 

Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common complaint in general medical practice. This study describes the clinicodemographic features of ED. Materials and Methods: Two hundred and twelve subjects in the outpatient clinic of a tertiary care hospital were interviewed for demographic data, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, history of medications, previous abdominal surgery, history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and ED, duration of ED if present, self-assessment of the level of sexual satisfaction, partner's assessment of the level of sexual satisfaction, type of remedies sought and used for ED in the past, whether or not subject has discussed the problem and patients' perception of the cause of the ED, all were interviewed with the international index of erectile function questionnaire for ED. Data was analyzed as appropriate. Results: Forty-two (19.8%) had ED and ED score was associated with age (P = 0.013), educational level (P < 0.001), monthly income (P < 0.001), alcohol consumption (P = 0.026), type of abdominal surgery done in the past (P = 0.002), self-rating of ED (P < 0.0001), partner rating (P < 0.0001), partner complaint (P < 0.0001), and frequency of complaint (P < 0.0001), it was however not significantly associated with marital status (P = 0.133), tobacco smoking (P = 0.259), quantity of tobacco smoked in pack years (P = 0.370), duration of ED (P = 0.141), drugs taken (P = 0.680). 77 (36.3%) never discussed ED before, 40 (19%) claimed that someone else was responsible, and only 15 (7.1%) had taken a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. ED score correlated negatively with fasting blood sugar with a trend toward significance (r = −0.134, P = 0.064). Conclusion: ED may be more frequent in the population studied considering the level of knowledge and attitude.

Keywords: Africans, attitude, correlation, demography, erectile dysfunction


How to cite this article:
Yovwin D G, Imarhiagbe F A, Obazee E M, Oguike T C. Erectile dysfunction in a sub-saharan African population: Profile and correlates in a tertiary care hospital. Sahel Med J 2015;18:116-20

How to cite this URL:
Yovwin D G, Imarhiagbe F A, Obazee E M, Oguike T C. Erectile dysfunction in a sub-saharan African population: Profile and correlates in a tertiary care hospital. Sahel Med J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Aug 23];18:116-20. Available from: http://www.smjonline.org/text.asp?2015/18/3/116/169286


  Introduction Top


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the persistent inability to have or sustain an adequate erection for satisfactory sexual function, and it is a relatively common complaint in general medical practice.[1],[2],[3] Prevalence of ED ranges from 15% to as high as 45% depending on the study setting and methodology and it is projected that ED prevalence globally stands at par with the increasing prevalence of diseases like diabetes mellitus.[4],[5],[6] The etiology of ED can be classified as organic, psychogenic or mixed, and most of the time it is due to a chronic health condition.[2]

Erectile dysfunction is associated with biopsychosocial comorbidities like advancing age, diabetes mellitus, chronic alcoholism, depression, drugs particularly antihypertensives, dyslipidemia, cigarette smoking, and previous abdominal surgery.[4],[7] ED could be a cause of strained marital relationships, and the reactive depression that is associated with it takes a toll on general health.[8],[9] Cultural mores surrounding ED may preclude discussions in the clinic and to wit the seeking of proper medical treatment in some population and it is also known that physicians are sometimes reluctant to initiate discussion regarding the sexual functions of their patients.[10] Whereas most patients withhold information regarding their sexual difficulties mainly as a result of embarrassment, others do not see it as a medical problem.[10]

The introduction of effective oral therapy and other current advances in the treatment options have generated great public interest among men and their partners in ED.[11]

The international index of erectile function (IIEF) questionnaire in the original or modified form, is a simple and validated tool that has enabled the standardization and facilitated comparative systematic research in ED.[12] IIEF is a 15 question and 30-point instrument with five domains of erectile function, orgasmic function, sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction, and overall sexual satisfaction.[13] A score of 14 or less out of 30 particularly in the domain of erectile function is diagnostic of ED with a potential benefit from phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors like sildenafil.[13]

This study describes the clinicodemographic features of ED in a sub-Saharan African population making use of the IIEF questionnaire.


  Materials and Methods Top


Two hundred and twelve subjects on routine visit to the general outpatient clinic of a tertiary care hospital were consecutively interviewed with a study proforma for basic demographic data of age, sex, marital status, level of education, income per month, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption, history of use of medications, previous abdominal surgery, history of diabetes mellitus, history of hypertension, history of ED, duration of ED if present, self-assessment of the level of sexual satisfaction, partner's assessment of the level of sexual satisfaction, type of remedies sought and used for ED in the past, whether or not subject has discussed the problem and patients' perception of the cause of the ED, all were subsequently interviewed with the IIEF questionnaire for ED. Operationally, ED was defined as IIEF score of <14 out a maximum score of 30. All interviews were conducted by one of the authors and trained assistants in the clinic, and physical examination including height and weight was carried out on all study subjects by one of the authors. All subjects were referred for urinalysis and fasting blood sugar (FBS). Body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight in kilograms over height in meters squared, urinalysis and blood sugar were done in the hospital's main laboratory.

Data were presented as appropriate and analyzed on cross-tabulation statistics with Pearson's Chi-square and measures of association were tested with phi or contingency coefficient as appropriate between IIEF ED scores and demographic and clinical data. Correlation of ED scores with BMI, FBS, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was tested with Pearson's correlation statistics. Data analysis was done with IBM SPSS ® version 20 (IBM, Chicago IL) and a P < 0.05 was taken as significant for all tests.


  Results Top


A total of 212 subjects were studied, age range of 31–68 years, median 46, mean 48 ± 12.34 years. Median ED score was 20.00, range 0–25, interquartile range (24–15) = 9. 42 (19.8%) had ED and 170 (80.2%) did not. Basic characteristics of study subjects are shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Basic characteristics of study subjects

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Erectile dysfunction score was significantly associated with age (P = 0.013, phi = 0.244), educational level (P < 0.001, phi = 0.342), monthly income (P < 0.001, phi = 0.403), alcohol consumption (P = 0.026, phi = 0.153), type of abdominal surgery done in the past (P = 0.002, phi = 0.286), self-rating of ED (P < 0.0001, 0.445), partner rating (P < 0.0001, 0.526), partner complain (P < ;0.0001, 0.347), and frequency of complain (P < 0.0001, 0.402). It was however not significantly associated with marital status (P = 0.133), tobacco smoking (P = 0.259), quantity of tobacco smoked in pack years (P = 0.370), duration of ED (P = 0.141), drugs taken (P = 0.680) [Table 2].
Table 2: The association between ED score and some clinicodemographic parameters

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About 77% (36.3%) of subjects with ED have never discussed it before with a medical practitioner, while 65 (30.7%) have and in 70 (33%) there was no response as to whether they have discussed it or not.

Sixty-six (31%) felt it was not necessary to discuss it, 20 (9.5%) felt it was not an easy thing to talk about, and 5 (2.4%) said it was forbidden to discuss it, and the remaining 121 (57.1%) gave no reason for not discussing it.

Forty (19.0%) claimed someone was responsible, 5 (2.3%) claimed it was the work of the devil, 15 (7.1%) believed partner may be unfaithful, 30 (14.1%) were not sure and there was no response in 122 (57.5%).

Ninety-two (43.4%) have sought help for ED, 30 (14.1%) have never and 90 (42.5%) did not indicate if they have sought help before or not.

Only 15 (7.1%) indicated they have taken a phosphodiesterase inhibitor at least once, 45 (21.2%) have taken herbal remedies, 5 (2.4%) have taken other over the counter preparations and in 147 (69.3%) there was no indication of having used any remedy before presentation in the clinic [Table 3].
Table 3: The percentage distribution of some knowledge, attitude, and practices concerning ED in study subjects

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Erectile dysfunction score did not correlate with BMI, r = 0.060, P = 0.383 and SBP, r = 0.115, P = 0.094 but showed a trend toward significance with DBP r = 0.125, P = 0.069 and negatively with FBS, r = −0.134, P = 0.064 [Table 4].
Table 4: The correlation between ED scores and BMI, FBS, SBP, and DBP

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  Discussion Top


The prevalence (20%) of ED found in this study is consistent with earlier related studies and the median ED score of 20 is reflective of the higher percentage (80.2%) of study subjects who did not have ED.[14],[15],[16],[17] The significant association of age with ED scores may be linked largely with the higher incidence of vascular disease with advancing age from arteriosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, and other comorbidities.[16] Educational level and monthly income which are both measures of social status were found significantly associated with ED scores in consonance with what has been reported previously.[7],[18],[19],[20] Alcohol consumption was associated with ED, a finding that may be related to the comorbidities that are linked with chronic alcohol consumption like dyslipidemia.[21],[22],[23] It is important to mention that that the relationship between alcohol and ED has been a subject of some controversy. Different views have been canvassed depending largely on the study design and methodological rigor. While some have clearly shown a negative effect of alcohol on ED, others have not sufficiently demonstrated this.[23],[24] Type of abdominal surgery has been linked with ED, which may suggest a direct consequence of the disruption of sensitive neural substrate for erectile function.[9],[25] The strength of the association of partner rating and partner complain and less so with self-rating and ED score is worthy of note as it may suggest the sensitive and somewhat predictive roles of partner and self-assessment of erectile function before using objective clinimetric tools like IIEF score.

Marital status and duration of ED were not associated with ED score as in related works apparently because their effect on the biology of erection is minimal compared to medications and comorbidities like diabetes mellitus.[18] Tobacco smoking and quantity of tobacco smoked were also not associated with ED score in this study which may be suggestive of the fewer number of smokers and the quantity of tobacco smoked in the population studied compared to what obtains in Western climes.[26],[27]

The 31% frequency of study participants with ED that discussed it as a medical problem with the aim of finding solution with health care provider is notably low, which may not be unconnected with the prevalent perception of ED in the study population in which about 45% of those with ED blamed spiritual or spousal infidelity as the cause of ED. It is also noteworthy that only 45% of subjects with ED sought medical help for their condition, which is close to about 55% of those with ED who perceived ED as a medical problem and not due to spiritual or spousal infidelity.

About 25% of study subjects who got herbal remedies and over the counter preparations as treatment is suggestive of the channels through which medical care was accessed, again bringing to the fore the overall perception of ED among the study subjects in particular and the universal population in the environment they were drawn from, in general.

Remarkably, ED score was negatively associated with FBS with a trend toward significance, which is suggestive of the abnormal effect of hyperglycemia on erectile function.[28]

We concluded that ED may likely be more frequent than what is found in this study population apparently because a warped perception of the cause of ED is prevalent, and as a corollary, seeking proper medical care is poor reflecting the yawning gap in health education and information of the local population; the correlation of elevated FBS with poor erectile function is also evident in this work.


  Acknowledgments Top


We appreciate colleagues and staff at the general practice clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria.

 
  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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