Using Computers For Leisure And Fun Linked To Erectile Dysfunction

SHANGHAI, China — Sitting in front of a computer all day may be making men impotent. A new study has found that it’s not just office work but also leisure computer use that may be putting men at risk for erectile dysfunction (ED). Whether it’s driving for pleasure, watching TV, or sitting in front of a computer to play video games, researchers suspected that all this sedentary activity impacted sexual health. However, they found that the problem specifically centers around men who frequently use computers in their free time.

Erectile dysfunction, a condition affecting millions of men worldwide, particularly those over 40, undermines not only personal well-being but also places a considerable burden on healthcare systems. Traditionally, the understanding of ED has been clouded by the complex relationship between psychological, hormonal, and vascular factors. A team in China notes that sedentary behavior has been suspected but not definitively linked to ED.

💡What To Know About Erectile Dysfunction:

  • The condition refers to the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.
  • ED is very common, affecting approximately 30 million U.S. men.
  • Roughly half of men ages 40 to 70 have some level of ED.

Using Mendelian randomization — a method that utilizes genetic variations as tools to unearth the causal relationships between behaviors and diseases — the team believes they have found that link. By examining genetic predispositions to spending leisure time on activities like watching TV, using computers, or driving, study authors discovered a strong connection between leisure computer use and an increased risk of ED.

Specifically, men inclined to spend more time on computers faced a 3.57 times higher risk of sexual dysfunction. Interestingly, results did not show the same increased risk for television watching or driving, suggesting a unique factor at play with computer usage.

“The present study offered substantial evidence for a positive causal association between computer use and the risk of erectile dysfunction. However, a definitive causal association needs to be established by further research,” the study authors write in the journal Andrology.

Stressed, upset millennial sitting at work computer
A new study has found that it’s not just office work but also leisure computer use that may be putting men at risk for erectile dysfunction (ED). (© WavebreakMediaMicro –

The study also investigated potential pathways that may explain why computer use appears to influence sexual health. One notable finding was the lower levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in men with a higher predisposition to use computers. FSH plays a crucial role in the reproductive system. Although its direct link to erectile function is still unclear, its involvement hints at a hormonal pathway that sedentary behavior might disrupt.

However, the study didn’t find evidence linking computer use with other factors commonly associated with ED, such as depression, anxiety, or markers of endothelial dysfunction, which are signs of vascular health. This suggests that while computer use is a risk factor for ED, it may be the result of something that is not completely connected to psychological stress or blood flow issues.

So, what can men do about this issue? Researchers note that prior studies point to both lifestyle changes and medications, including phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors like Viagra. However, the timetable for recovery tends to vary widely from study to study.

“Another study has suggested that changes in lifestyle can improve erection, but only after ≥2 years, which is a markedly long time-frame. By contrast, a strategy that combined oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors with lifestyle changes was shown to enhance positive outcomes after 3 months. Therefore, effective ED therapies should not be postponed in favor of lifestyle changes alone.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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