Study Suggests Link Between Migraine and Erectile Dysfunction

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • Researchers in Taiwan, using data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000, have conducted a study that they say associates Migraine with erectile dysfunction.


    Study objective:

    "This case-control study aimed to estimate the association between erectile dysfunction (ED) and migraines using a nationwide population-based database in Taiwan."1

    Study methods:

    • This study used data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000.
    • Researchers identified 5,763 patients with ED from their visits to ambulatory care centers, then randomly selected 17,289 patients as the control group.
    • Migraine was identified using the ICD-9-CM code 346. This is the coding system used for insurance billing. Code 346 is a general code for any form of Migraine.
    • Patients with both Migraine and mental health conditions were excluded from the study.
    • Patients with Migraine were included only if they had received at least three consecutive Migraine diagnoses from certified neurologists and if the diagnosis was made with five years of the beginning of the study.

    Study results:

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    • After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and medical comorbidities, ED patients had a 1.69 times higher risk of prior Migraine than those in the control group.
    • This risk was higher in the younger men, with the highest risk in men between the ages of 30 and 39.
    • The authors state, "The mechanisms by which Migraines may be associated with ED are complex and heterogeneous." They noted that chronic pan and dysregulation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine may be involved.

    Study conclusion:

    "We conclude that ED is associated with having been previously diagnosed with migraines, particularly in younger populations."1

    Summary and comments:

    Dr. Tobias Köhler of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, who specializes in male sexual function and fertility, told Reuters news that he's not heard of this relationship before and stated,

    "It's an interesting first recognition of the correlation, but by no means does it mean they're causally linked."2

    I can find no other studies that show a link between Migraine and ED. Thus, the conclusion of the authors seems a bit presumptive and premature to me. This type of conclusion generally comes after research has been replicated in additional studies.



    1 Huang, Chao-Yuan; Keller, Joseph J.; Sheu, Jua-Jiuan; Lin, Herng-Ching. " Migraine and erectile dysfunction: evidence from a peopulation-based case-control study." Cephalalgia published online March 9, 2012. DOI: 10.1177/0333102412439801.


    2 Grens, Kerry. "Migraines likelier in men with impotence." Reuters. March 30, 2012.

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    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape© Teri Robert, 2012.
    Last updated April 11, 2012.

Published On: April 11, 2012