The loss of global functional independence, along with bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunctions, may contribute to psychological distress and life dissatisfaction after spinal cord injury (SCI).
To explore the relationship of erectile function and androgenic status with life satisfaction, independently from confounders recognizable in spinal cord-injured men.
100 consecutive men (49 ± 17 years) admitted to a rehabilitation program because of chronic SCI (≥1 year) underwent clinical/biochemical evaluations, including the assessment of life and sexual satisfaction using the Life-Satisfaction Questionnaire-9 (LiSat-9), erectile function using the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5), global and bowel-bladder functional independence using the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) and measurement of total testosterone (TT) levels. The free testosterone level was calculated using the Vermeulen formula.
The outcomes include the relationship between sexual health and life satisfaction in men with SCI.
A LiSat-9 score <4, suggestive for life dissatisfaction, was exhibited by 49% of men. When compared with the life-satisfied group, a significantly higher percentage of them had sexual dissatisfaction and erectile dysfunction (ED); they also exhibited significantly lower levels of TT and calculated free testosterone (cFT) and a more severe impairment of bowel-bladder function. The life satisfaction degree correlated with sexual satisfaction degree, IIEF-5 score, TT, cFT, and bowel-bladder function degree. At the logistic regression model, including sexual LiSat-9 subscore and bowel-bladder SCIM subscore, only the former exhibited a significant negative association with life dissatisfaction. In a further logistic regression model, including the putative key determinants of sexual satisfaction, erectile function, and cFT levels, a higher odd of life dissatisfaction was independently associated both with a lower IIEF-5 score (OR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.98) and lower cFT levels (OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.98, 0.99).
In men with chronic SCI, assessment of erectile function and testosterone levels can help to predict life satisfaction.
This is the first demonstration of the independent association of androgen deficiency and ED with life satisfaction in men with SCI. Prospective studies are warranted to clarify the cause-effect relationships.
In men with SCI, ED and low testosterone levels exhibit a significant independent association with life dissatisfaction; longitudinal intervention studies could explore possible effects of their treatment in improving sexual and life satisfaction in this population. D’Andrea S, Minaldi E, Castellini C, et al. Independent Association of Erectile Dysfunction and Low Testosterone Levels With Life Dissatisfaction in Men With Chronic Spinal Cord Injury. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.