SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Aging;
  • Male Health;
  • Population Survey;
  • Sexual Function;
  • Quality of Life;
  • Sexual Health

ABSTRACT

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Introduction.  Limited information is available concerning the general and sexual health status of European men.

Aim.  To investigate the age-related changes in general and sexual health in middle-aged and older men from different countries of the European Union.

Methods.  This is a cross-sectional multicenter survey performed on a sample of 3,369 community-dwelling men aged 40–79 years old (mean 60 ± 11 years). Subjects were randomly selected from eight European centers including centers from nontransitional (Florence [Italy], Leuven [Belgium], Malmö[Sweden], Manchester [United Kingdom], Santiago de Compostela [Spain]) and transitional countries (Lodz [Poland], Szeged [Hungary], Tartu [Estonia]).

Main Outcome Measures.  Different parameters were evaluated including the Beck's Depression Inventory for the quantification of depressive symptoms, the Short Form-36 Health Survey for the assessment of the quality of life (QoL), the International Prostate Symptom Score for the evaluation of lower urinary tract symptoms, and the European Male Ageing Study sexual function questionnaire for the study of sexual function.

Results.  More than 50% of subjects reported the presence of one or more common morbidities. Overall, hypertension (29%), obesity (24%), and heart diseases (16%) were the most prevalent conditions. Around 30% of men reported erectile dysfunction (ED) and 6% reported severe orgasmic impairment, both of which were closely associated with age and concomitant morbidities. Only 38% of men reporting ED were concerned about it. Furthermore, concern about ED increased with age, peaking in the 50–59 years age band, but decreased thereafter. Men in transitional countries reported a higher prevalence of morbidities and impairment of sexual function as well as a lower QoL.

Conclusion.  Sexual health declined while concomitant morbidities increased in European men as a function of age. The burden of general and sexual health is higher in transitional countries, emphasizing the need to develop more effective strategies to promote healthy aging for men in these countries. Corona G, Lee DM, Forti G, O'Connor DB, Maggi M, O'Neill TW, Pendleton N, Bartfai G, Boonen S, Casanueva FF, Finn JD, Giwercman A, Han TS, Huhtaniemi IT, Kula K, Lean MEJ, Punab M, Silman AJ, Vanderschueren D, Wu FCW, and EMAS Study Group. Age-related changes in general and sexual health in middle-aged and older men: Results from the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS). J Sex Med 2010;7:1362–1380.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

In past decades, there has been a disproportionate focus on women's health, while men's health has not received similar attention. In all industrialized countries, and especially in the transitional countries of eastern Europe, men have lower life expectancy than women [1–3]. Life expectancy has been increasing in western European countries since 1950; however, for men living in eastern European (transitional) countries, life expectancy has not only remained unchanged, but a further decrease (currently about 6–7 years lower) [1–5] is predicted for 2020 [4]. Accordingly, the Disease Control Priorities Project [6] demonstrated that death rates from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) among adults aged under 60 years between 1990 and 2001 have fallen worldwide except in the low- and middle-income eastern countries of Europe and Central Asia. There is a consensus that changes in health are related to the deterioration in social and economic conditions in all European transitional countries [2,5,7,8].

Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been proposed as an indicator of male health [9–11]. Although 10% to 20% of men in the general population of many countries are said to be affected, data on the prevalence of ED in transitional countries are lacking [12]. The European Male Ageing Study (EMAS) is a multicenter, prospective study of aging in eight European centers, including three from eastern Europe.

Aim

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

The aim of this study is to investigate the age-related changes in general and sexual health in middle-aged and older men from different countries of the European Union.

Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Subjects and Study Design

Three thousand three hundred sixty-nine men aged 40–79 years (mean age 60 ± 11 years) were recruited from population registers in eight European centers (Florence [Italy], Leuven [Belgium], Lodz [Poland], Malmö[Sweden], Manchester [United Kingdom], Santiago de Compostela [Spain], Szeged [Hungary], Tartu [Estonia]). Ethical approval for the study was obtained in each of the centers in accordance with local practice and requirements. The term transitional country is often used to cover the countries of central and eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_economy); hence, this term will be used in the rest of the article to indicate men living in Lodz, Szeged, and Tartu.

The choice of the sampling frame was limited by the availability of specific registers within each center. Registers used included general practitioner age–sex registers (Florence, Manchester, Tartu), population or national registers (Malmö, Santiago), electoral registers (Leuven, Szeged), and a city register (Lodz). The population registers were, to the knowledge of the participating centers, those most current at the onset of the study. There were no specific exclusion criteria apart from subjects being able to provide written, informed consent. Stratified random sampling was used with the aim of recruiting equal numbers of men into each of the four age bands (40–49, 50–59, 60–69 and 70–79 years). Subjects were invited with a letter of invitation to attend a screening at a local clinic as previously described [13]. For those patients who had not replied after two attempts, a sample of them were contacted by telephone, inviting them to verbally answer a series of questions taken from the postal questionnaires ([13], see below).

Subjects initially completed a postal questionnaire, which included questions about self-reported health (excellent, very good, good, fair, poor), employment (paid or voluntary, none), age on leaving full-time education (years), tobacco use (nonsmoker, current smoker), and frequency of alcohol consumption (none, <once/week, 1–2 days/week, 3–4 days/week, 5–6 days/week, every day). The postal questionnaire also included a range of questions about comorbidities, “Are you currently being treated for any of the following conditions?,” including: heart conditions, high blood pressure, prostate diseases, and diabetes. The occurrence of cerebrovascular disease was assessed using the question, “Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have had a stroke?,” and cancer from the question, “Have you ever been diagnosed as having cancer?

After completing the postal questionnaire, subjects attended research clinics for a health screening. Each participant completed interviewer-assisted questionnaires and underwent clinical assessments. The questionnaires included Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI), the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36), the International Prostate Symptom Score for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), medication use, and previous surgical procedures [13]. Subjects then completed the EMAS sexual function questionnaire (EMAS-SFQ; 14, see appendix A) in private. Height and weight were also measured [13].

Statistics

Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the response variables from the EMAS-SFQ by age decade and center. One-way analysis of variance (anova) or the chi-square test was used to compare values or proportions between groups where applicable. When overall nonresponse for a particular question exceeded 2%, the nonresponders were removed from the denominator to allow clear comparisons to be made between groups (decades/centers). Multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustments for age and comorbidities was used to model the likelihood of experiencing specific sexual problems and of being in the lowest quartile of the physical and mental components of SF-36. All analyses were performed using SPSS version 14 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA), and Intercooled STATA version 9.2 (StataCorp, College Station, TX, USA).

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Subjects

Of 8,416 men invited, 3,369 (mean age 60 ± 11 years) participated in the study (response rate 41%). Comparing subjects who participated in the study with those who did not, no differences in the number of morbidities, current and past smoking, and the frequency of alcohol consumption were found (not shown). Complete data concerning frequency of sexual activities (excluding men without a sexual partner) and erectile function were available in 2,734 (92%) and 3,193 (95%) of subjects, respectively, without significant differences between centers (data not shown). Table 1 summarizes the demographics of the EMAS sample. There were education differences (age on leaving full-time education) between centers (P < 0.05, one-way anova), but not between age decades. About 85% reported living with their wife/partner, while the proportion of single and employed men was higher and lower, respectively, in the higher age bands. The highest proportion of single men was observed in Malmö and Tartu. Those employed full time (paid or voluntary) ranged from 49% in Lodz to 85% in Szeged.

Table 1.  Demographic characteristics
 Age band (years)
40–49 (n = 796)50–59 (n = 904)60–69 (n = 839)70 and over (n = 830)All (n = 3,369)
 Mean (SD)
Age left education (years)20.8 (5.8)20.7 (6.5)20.8 (8.1)21.1 (9.7)20.9 (7.7)
 Number (percent)
Marital status     
 Living with wife585 (75)703 (80)674 (83)602 (77)2,564 (79)
 Living with partner85 (11)57 (6)37 (5)31 (4)210 (6)
 Partner, living apart65 (8)55 (6)46 (6)41 (5)207 (6)
 No sexual partner46 (6)65 (7)58 (7)109 (14)278 (9)
 Did not answer question15242447110
Currently employed*720 (91)718 (79)460 (55)270 (33)2,168 (64)
 Center
Florence (n = 433)Leuven (n = 451)Malmö (n = 409)Manchester (n = 396)Santiago (n = 406)Łódź (n = 408)Szeged (n = 431)Tartu (n = 435)Non-Trans. (n = 2,095)Trans. (n = 1,274)
  • *

    Includes paid and/or voluntary work.

  • Between age band or between center differences P < 0.05 except.

  • Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100.

  • Non-Trans. = nontransitional centers; SD = standard deviation; Trans. = transitional centers.

 Mean (SD)
Age left education (years)16.4 (5.8)20.2 (4.8)21.8 (9.0)17.6 (3.5)18.1 (6.1)23.6 (8.3)25.2 (8.9)23.9 (7.8)18.8 (6.4)24.2 (8.4)
 Number (percent)
Marital status         
 Living with wife371 (86)366 (85)251 (65)324 (85)327 (83)322 (82)310 (75)293 (70)1,639 (81)925 (75)
 Living with partner15 (3)23 (5)48 (12)14 (4)15 (4)19 (5)25 (6)51 (12)115 (6)95 (8)
 Partner, living apart25 (6)17 (4)40 (10)15 (4)15 (4)24 (6)41 (10)30 (7)112 (6)95 (8)
 No sexual partner21 (5)27 (6)50 (13)30 (8)36 (9)28 (7)40 (9)46 (11)164 (8)114 (9)
 Did not answer question1182013131515156545
Currently employed*236 (55)248 (55)252 (62)254 (64)260 (64)199 (49)368 (85)251 (81)1,250 (60)818 (72)

When subjects living in transitional countries were compared with those in nontransitional countries, no significant differences were observed in marital status, although subjects in transitional centers were more often employed and left full-time education later in life.

General Health

Table 2 presents physical and self-reported health status. The health characteristics differed between the four decades (P < 0.05, χ2 test) except for obesity (body mass index [BMI]≥30 kg/m2) and use of antidepressants. The proportion of men reporting their own or their partner's health as fair/poor and the prevalence of chronic diseases were higher in the older age groups. Health profiles differed significantly between centers (P < 0.05, χ2 test), except for cancer. Tartu and Szeged had the highest prevalence of obesity, Florence the lowest. The proportion of men reporting fair/poor personal or partner health was highest in Tartu and lowest in Manchester. Szeged reported the highest prevalence of stroke, hypertension, and diabetes, and highest use of antihypertensive and antidiabetic medications.

Table 2.  Physical and self-reported health characteristics
 Age band (years)
40–49 (n = 796)50–59 (n = 904)60–69 (n = 839)70 and over (n = 830)All (n = 3,369)
 Number (percent)
BMI ≥25 and <30 kg/m2355 (45)432 (49)410 (49)432 (54)1,629 (49)
BMI ≥30 kg/m2§173 (22)228 (25)221 (27)192 (23)818 (24)
General health fair or poor144 (18)284 (31)319 (38)370 (45)1,117 (33)
Partner's health fair or poor*87 (12)159 (21)238 (35)268 (44)752 (27)
Did not answer question4881103116348
Morbidities     
 Heart condition22 (3)93 (10)181 (22)255 (31)551 (16)
 High blood pressure81 (10)218 (24)302 (36)359 (43)960 (29)
 Stroke7 (1)19 (2)33 (4)67 (8)126 (4)
 Diabetes17 (2)47 (5)82 (10)108 (13)254 (8)
 Cancer13 (2)29 (3)67 (8)90 (11)199 (6)
 Prostate disease10 (1)47 (5)125 (15)222 (27)404 (12)
 No reported morbidities620 (78)517 (57)306 (36)210 (25)1,588 (47)
Medication use     
 Hypertension71 (9)206 (23)310 (37)388 (47)975 (29)
 Lipid lowering23 (3)87 (10)153 (18)158 (19)421 (13)
 Diabetic10 (1)38 (4)58 (7)80 (10)186 (6)
 Depression§19 (2)35 (4)36 (4)34 (4)124 (4)
 Prostate3 (0)19 (2)64 (8)87 (10)173 (5)
IPSS category     
 Moderate94 (12)155 (18)233 (29)245 (31)727 (22)
 Severe6 (1)30 (3)57 (7)65 (8)158 (5)
 Did not answer question21333843135
Nocturia     
 1–2 times/night370 (47)485 (55)518 (63)561 (71)1,934 (59)
 ≥3 times/night75 (10)143 (16)159 (19)166 (21)543 (16)
 Did not answer question1421141968
Surgery     
 Prostate1 (0)5 (1)31 (4)108 (13)145 (4)
 Genitourinary‡§53 (7)65 (7)64 (8)53 (6)235 (7)
 Center
Florence (n = 433)Leuven (n = 451)Malmö (n = 409)Manchester (n = 396)Santiago (n = 406)Łódź (n = 408)Szeged (n = 431)Tartu (n = 435)Non-Trans. (n = 2,095)Trans. (n = 1,274)
  • *

    Among those having a sexual partner (N = 2,981).

  • Includes prostatectomy, resection and cancer.

  • Includes vasectomy, phimosis, bladder, and urethral surgery.

  • §

    Between age band or between center differences P < 0.05 except.

  • BMI = body mass index; IPSS = International Prostate Symptom Score.

  • Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100.

  • Non-Trans. = nontransitional centers; Trans. = transitional centers.

 Number (percent)
BMI ≥25 and <30 kg/m2224 (52)207 (48)184 (47)215 (55)215 (53)221 (54)187 (44)176 (42)1,045 (51)584 (47)
BMI ≥30 kg/m274 (17)86 (19)84 (21)84 (21)110 (27)89 (22)154 (36)137 (32)438 (21)380 (30)
General health fair or poor140 (32)52 (12)88 (22)42 (11)119 (29)181 (44)190 (44)305 (70)441 (21)676 (53)
Partner's health fair or poor*97 (26)58 (16)41 (14)41 (13)88 (25)130 (40)106 (32)191 (49)325 (19)427 (40)
Did not answer question395860571557593229119
Morbidities          
 Heart condition51 (12)71 (16)39 (10)45 (11)56 (14)116 (28)74 (17)99 (23)262 (13)289 (23)
 High blood pressure125 (29)125 (28)94 (23)82 (21)99 (24)131 (32)164 (38)140 (32)525 (25)435 (35)
 Stroke7 (2)15 (3)19 (5)15 (4)16 (4)13 (3)29 (7)12 (3)72 (3)54 (4)
 Diabetes17 (4)26 (6)21 (5)29 (7)45 (11)43 (11)55 (13)18 (4)138 (7)116 (9)
 Cancer§23 (5)22 (5)34 (8)31 (8)19 (5)17 (4)25 (6)28 (6)129 (6)70 (6)
 Prostate disease64 (15)50 (11)25 (6)30 (8)54 (13)77 (19)65 (15)39 (9)223 (11)181 (15)
 No reported morbidities206 (48)232 (51)234 (57)223 (56)182 (45)132 (32)167 (39)211 (49)1,077 (51)510 (40)
Medication use          
 Hypertension124 (29)160 (35)89 (22)89 (22)121 (30)101 (25)160 (37)131 (30)583 (28)392 (31)
 Lipid lowering44 (10)74 (16)54 (13)68 (17)80 (20)35 (9)52 (12)14 (3)320 (15)101 (8)
 Diabetic13 (3)12 (3)15 (4)22 (6)31 (8)37 (9)42 (10)14 (3)93 (4)93 (7)
 Depression26 (6)25 (6)14 (3)15 (4)18 (4)9 (2)10 (2)7 (2)98 (5)26 (2)
 Prostate35 (8)15 (3)10 (2)19 (5)38 (9)33 (8)6 (1)17 (4)117 (6)56 (4)
IPSS category          
Moderate64 (15)120 (28)74 (19)96 (25)82 (21)91 (24)102 (25)98 (24)436 (22)§291 (24)
Severe9 (2)36 (8)16 (4)18 (5)13 (3)21 (6)18 (4)27 (7)92 (5)§66 (6)
Did not answer question7211610122718226667
Nocturia          
 1–2 times/night254 (59)256 (58)259 (66)254 (64)230 (57)187 (47)258 (61)236 (57)1,253 (61)681 (55)
 ≥3 times/night46 (11)93 (21)20 (5)64 (16)51 (13)97 (24)72 (17)100 (24)274 (13)269 (22)
 Did not answer question111162288204036
Surgery          
 Prostate†§19 (4)21 (5)15 (4)16 (4)15 (4)11 (3)24 (6)24 (6)86 (4)59 (5)
 Genitourinary4 (1)70 (16)32 (8)10 (3)37 (9)6 (2)24 (6)52 (12)153 (7)82 (7)

The prevalence of LUTS, nocturia, and treatment for prostate diseases was higher in the older age groups. The occurrence of moderate-to-severe LUTS differed between centers (P < 0.05, by χ2 test), ranging from 17% in Florence to 36% in Leuven.

Overall, men in transitional centers reported poorer health profiles for themselves and their partners as compared with men in nontransitional centers. Accordingly, the prevalence of concomitant morbidities, except for cancer, was higher in transitional centers. No difference in the prevalence of moderate-to-severe LUTS was observed between transitional and nontransitional centers; however, the prevalence of subjects reporting nocturia more than tree times per night was significantly higher in transitional centers (P < 0.05, by χ2 test).

Lifestyle and Quality of Life (QoL) Measures

Both smoking and alcohol consumption showed an inverse relationship with age (Table 3). Smoking was highest in Tartu and lowest in Manchester, while the frequency of alcohol consumption was highest in Manchester and lowest in Lodz. Depressive symptoms (BDI) were most prevalent in Lodz and least prevalent in Malmö in agreement with the center distribution of the SF-36 mental component score (Table 3). Taken together, men from transitional centers were more likely to smoke and consume alcohol less frequently than men from nontransitional centers. In addition, higher levels of depressive symptomology, together with poorer QoL (lower SF-36 mental and physical component scores), were observed in the transitional centers (Table 3).

Table 3.  Lifestyle, QoL, and physical performance characteristics
 Age band (years)
40–49 (n = 796)50–59 (n = 904)60–69 (n = 839)70 and over (n = 830)All (n = 3,369)
 Number (percent)
Current smoker*236 (30)240 (27)143 (17)86 (10)705 (21)
Alcohol intake ≥1 day/week473 (59)532 (59)470 (56)400 (48)1,875 (56)
BDI depression category     
 Mild-borderline115 (14)161 (18)145 (18)180 (22)601 (18)
 ≥Moderate26 (4)44 (5)32 (3)40 (5)142 (4)
 Mean (SD)    
SF-36 quality of life     
 Mental component score51.0 (8.7)50.9 (9.7)52.7 (9.0)51.6 (10.0)51.5 (9.4)
 Physical component score53.3 (6.1)50.8 (8.2)49.0 (8.2)46.8 (8.7)50.0 (8.2)
 Center
Florence (n = 433)Leuven (n = 451)Malmö (n = 409)Manchester (n = 396)Santiago (n = 406)Łódź (n = 408)Szeged (n = 431)Tartu (n = 435)Non-Trans. (n = 2,095)Trans. (n = 1,274)
  • *

    Defined as subjects who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their entire life and currently smoke cigarettes.

  • Beck's depression inventory: score range for mild–borderline = 11 to 16, ≥moderate = 17 and over.

  • Medical Outcomes Study SF-36: mental and physical component summary scores derived from the eight SF-36 subscales using standard scoring algorithm (lower score means lower quality of life).

  • Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100.

  • Between age band or between center differences all P < 0.05.

  • BDI = Beck's Depression Inventory; Non-Trans. = non-transitional centers; QoL = quality of life; SD = standard deviation; SF-36 = Short Form-36 Health Survey; Trans. = transitional centers.

 Number (percent)
Current smoker*100 (23)78 (17)69 (17)44 (11)92 (23)105 (26)90 (21)127 (29)383 (18.5)322 (25)
Alcohol intake ≥1 day/week234 (54)332 (74)263 (64)303 (77)275 (68)94 (23)243 (56)131 (30)1,407 (67)468 (37)
BDI depression category          
 Mild-borderline67 (16)62 (14)36 (9)58 (15)66 (16)123 (30)79 (18)110 (25)289 (14)312 (25)
 ≥Moderate8 (2)15 (3)9 (2)9 (2)18 (4)34 (8)14 (3)35 (8)59 (3)83 (7)
 Mean (SD)
SF-36 quality of life          
 Mental component score51.7 (8.3)51.5 (8.7)55.0 (9.0)52.6 (8.6)54.1 (8.7)45.3 (9.6)52.5 (9.8)49.7 (9.2)52.9 (8.8)49.2 (9.9)
 Physical component score52.6 (6.1)50.0 (8.0)51.8 (7.7)51.2 (7.6)51.3 (6.9)47.8 (8.3)49.7 (8.4)45.4 (9.8)51.4 (7.3)47.6 (9.1)

Frequency of Sexual Activity

Table 4 reports the frequency of sexual activities. Frequency of sexual intercourse, kissing and petting, and masturbation was lower in the older age groups. Sixteen percent of men reported no sexual intercourse and almost 59% reported they had not masturbated in the preceding 4 weeks. In comparison with the oldest age group (≥70 years), the proportion of men concerned about sexual activity was higher in the 50–59- and 60–69-year age groups.

Table 4.  Sexual desire and frequency of sexual activities
 Age band (years)
40–49 (n = 796)50–59 (n = 904)60–69 (n = 839)70 and over (n = 830)All (n = 3,369)
 Number (percent)
Thinking about sex     
 ≥1 once/week718 (92)724 (82)541 (66)367 (47)2,350 (72)
 <1 once/week59 (8)137 (16)206 (25)255 (33)657 (20)
 Never5 (1)17 (2)67 (8)155 (20)244 (8)
 Did not answer question14262553118
Frequency of sexual intercourse*     
 ≥1 once/week562 (81)514 (70)338 (51)139 (26)1,553 (59)
 <1 once/week109 (16)176 (24)206 (31)187 (35)678 (26)
 None26 (4)49 (7)124 (19)213 (40)412 (16)
 Did not answer question387689135338
Frequency of kissing, petting, etc.*     
 ≥1 once/week577 (83)558 (75)400 (60)245 (45)1,780 (67)
 <1 once/week71 (10)121 (16)140 (21)147 (27)479 (18)
 None49 (7)61 (8)130 (19)147 (27)387 (15)
 Did not answer question387587135335
Frequency of masturbation     
 ≥1 once/week225 (29)179 (20)99 (12)56 (7)559 (17)
 <1 once/week218 (28)223 (25)190 (24)139 (18)770 (24)
 None338 (43)474 (54)519 (64)569 (74)1,900 (59)
 Did not answer question15283166140
Concerned about frequency of sexual activities58 (7)116 (13)116 (14)90 (11)380 (11)
 Centre
Florence (n = 433)Leuven (n = 451)Malmö (n = 409)Manchester (n = 396)Santiago (n = 406)Łódź (n = 408)Szeged (n = 431)Tartu (n = 435)Non-Trans. (n = 2,095)Trans. (n = 1,274)
  • *

    Among those reporting they had a sexual partner in the last 4 weeks (N = 2,981).

  • Between age band or between center differences P < 0.05 except.

  • Due to rounding percentages may not add up to 100.

  • Non-Trans. = non-transitional centers, Trans. = transitional centers.

 Number (percent)
Thinking about sex          
 ≥1 once/week342 (79)336 (77)193 (50)319 (83)325 (83)255 (65)322 (78)258 (62)1,515 (74)835 (68)
 <1 once/week85 (20)81 (19)160 (41)44 (11)50 (13)82 (21)62 (15)93 (22)420 (21)237 (19)
 Never5 (1)17 (4)33 (9)21 (5)15 (4)56 (14)29 (7)68 (16)91 (5)153 (12)
 Did not answer question1172312161518166949
Frequency of sexual intercourse*          
 ≥1 once/week225 (62)205 (60)149 (53)151 (50)231 (67)186 (61)232 (70)174 (47)961 (58)592 (59)
 <1 once/week110 (30)96 (28)87 (31)77 (26)71 (21)76 (25)66 (20)95 (26)441 (27)237 (24)
 None27 (7)43 (13)47 (17)73 (24)41 (12)45 (15)35 (11)101 (27)231 (15)181 (18)
 Did not answer question496256521458434233105
Frequency of kissing, petting etc*          
 ≥1 once/week227 (62)241 (70)169 (60)207 (69)271 (79)181 (60)263 (79)221 (60)1,115 (68)665 (66)
 <1 once/week77 (21)68 (20)65 (23)51 (17)32 (9)68 (22)37 (11)81 (22)293 (18)186 (18)
 None65 (18)35 (10)50 (18)43 (14)40 (12)55 (18)32 (10)67 (18)233 (14)154 (15)
 Did not answer question426255521461445225110
Frequency of masturbation          
 ≥1 once/week33 (8)144 (34)116 (30)121 (31)32 (8)36 (9)48 (12)29 (7)446 (22)113 (9)
 <1 once/week93 (22)136 (32)110 (28)136 (35)78 (20)88 (22)76 (19)53 (13)553 (27)217 (18)
 None296 (70)147 (34)163 (42)130 (34)276 (72)268 (68)286 (70)334 (80)1,012 (50)888 (73)
 Did not answer question1124209201621198456
 Concerned about frequency of sexual activities60 (14)71 (16)45 (11)39 (10)31 (8)47 (12)41 (10)46 (11)246 (12)134 (11)

Florence reported the highest frequency of sexual intercourse (92% of subjects reported at least one attempt in the previous 4 weeks), while Tartu (73%) and Manchester (76%) reported the lowest among transitional and nontransitional countries, respectively. Tartu reported the lowest frequency of sexual thoughts, petting, and masturbation. Conversely, Lodz, and in particular Szeged, reported similar prevalence to that observed in nontransitional centers for different sexual activities including thinking about sex, sexual intercourse, and petting. Concern about frequency of sexual activity ranged from 8% in Santiago to 16% in Leuven. Overall, no differences were seen between transitional and nontransitional centers for frequency of sexual thoughts, petting, and intercourse. Similar results were observed for concern about frequency of sexual activities. Conversely, subjects living in nontransitional centers reported a higher frequency of masturbation.

Prevalence of Erectile and Orgasmic Dysfunction

ED (moderate or severe) was reported in 30% of the entire EMAS sample (Table 5). The prevalence of ED was higher in the older age groups, peaking in men 70 years and older (64%). Among men with ED, concern about ED was highest (57%) and lowest (28%) in the 50–59- and ≥70-years age bands, respectively. There were significant differences in the prevalence of ED (P < 0.05, χ2 test) ranging from 43% in Tartu to 25% or less in Florence, Malmo, Santiago, and Leuven (Table 5); however, the pattern was quite different for reported concern about ED, with 55% in Florence concerned as opposed to 24% in Santiago and 25% in Tartu.

Table 5.  Erectile problems, orgasm ability, and satisfaction with sexual and nonsexual relationship
 Age band (years)
40–49 (n = 796)50–59 (n = 904)60–69 (n = 839)70 and over (n = 830)All (n = 3,369)
 Number (percent)
Erectile dysfunction (ED)     
 Moderate36 (5)127 (14)180 (23)210 (29)553 (17)
 Severe5 (1)43 (5)121 (15)251 (35)420 (13)
 Did not answer question112039106176
Concerned about erectile ability     
 All respondents41 (6)131 (15)156 (19)141 (17)469 (14)
 Moderate/severe ED (N = 973)17 (42)97 (57)127 (42)127 (28)368 (38)
Frequency of orgasm     
 ≥Half the time698 (90)709 (82)530 (67)332 (44)2,269 (71)
 <Half the time28 (4)36 (4)57 (7)56 (7)177 (6)
 Rarely/never23 (3)41 (5)61 (8)84 (11)209 (7)
 No sexual activity23 (3)80 (9)141 (18)278 (37)522 (16)
 Did not answer question24385080192
Satisfaction with timing of orgasm     
 Extremely/highly satisfied389 (51)370 (45)253 (36)173 (33)1,184 (42)
 Moderately/slightly satisfied346 (45)415 (50)385 (55)268 (51)1,414 (50)
 Dissatisfied34 (4)45 (5)68 (10)82 (16)229 (8)
 Did not answer question2774133308542
Satisfaction with overall sex life     
 Satisfied472 (60)500 (57)406 (51)323 (43)1,701 (53)
 Neutral125 (16)149 (17)155 (19)191 (26)620 (19)
 Dissatisfied185 (24)226 (26)235 (30)228 (30)874 (27)
 Did not answer question14294388174
Satisfaction with non-sexual relationship*     
 Satisfied562 (82)608 (83)530 (81)451 (81)2,151 (82)
 Neutral55 (8)49 (7)51 (8)51 (9)206 (8)
 Dissatisfied70 (10)78 (11)73 (11)55 (10)276 (10)
 Did not answer question4880103117348
 Center
Florence (n = 433)Leuven (n = 451)Malmö (n = 409)Manchester (n = 396)Santiago (n = 406)Łódź (n = 408)Szeged (n = 431)Tartu (n = 435)Non-Trans. (n = 2,095)Trans. (n = 1,274)
  • Erectile difficulties were assessed by a single question from the Massachusetts Male Ageing Study [25]: “You are—(Always able . . . /Usually able . . . /Sometimes able . . . /Never able . . . ) to get and keep an erection which would be good enough for sexual intercourse”. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was coded from this question as “No ED (Always able),”“Mild ED (Usually able),”“Moderate ED (Sometimes able),” and “Severe ED (Never able),” respectively. We consider only men in the “Moderate ED” or “Severe ED” categories as suffering from ED in this analysis.

  • *

    Among those reporting they had a sexual partner in the last 4 weeks (N = 2,981).

  • Between age band or between center differences P < 0.05 except.

  • Due to rounding percentages may not add up to 100.

  • Non-Trans. = non-transitional centers, Trans. = transitional centers.

 Number (percent)
Erectile dysfunction (ED)          
 Moderate60 (14)80 (19)41 (11)58 (15)54 (14)86 (23)72 (18)102 (25)293 (15)260 (22)
 Severe45 (11)55 (13)50 (13)64 (16)36 (9)47 (13)48 (12)75 (18)250 (12)170 (14)
 Did not answer question1627218213426239383
Concerned about erectile ability          
 All respondents72 (17)81 (18)50 (12)53 (13)34 (8)67 (16)49 (11)63 (15)290 (14)179 (14)
 Moderate/severe ED (N = 973)58 (55)67 (50)39 (43)45 (37)22 (24)50 (38)42 (35)45 (25)231 (42)137 (33)
Frequency of orgasm          
 ≥Half the time320 (76)294 (70)292 (76)296 (77)280 (75)240 (64)307 (76)240 (58)1,482 (75)787 (66)
 <Half the time19 (5)36 (9)19 (5)25 (7)13 (4)29 (8)15 (4)21 (5)112 (6)65 (6)
 Rarely/never38 (9)49 (12)18 (5)22 (6)15 (4)42 (11)9 (2)16 (4)142 (7)67 (6)
 No sexual activity43 (10)41 (10)57 (15)41 (11)63 (17)66 (18)75 (18)136 (33)245 (13)277 (23)
 Did not answer question133123123531252211478
Satisfaction with timing of orgasm          
 Extremely/highly satisfied189 (48)191 (49)155 (44)131 (37)184 (55)112 (34)121 (34)101 (31)850 (47)334 (33)
 Moderately/slightly satisfied174 (44)169 (43)180 (51)180 (51)135 (40)189 (58)197 (56)190 (59)838 (46)576 (58)
 Dissatisfied31 (8)32 (8)18 (5)39 (11)17 (5)24 (7)35 (10)33 (10)137 (7)92 (9)
 Did not answer question39598356467078111283259
Satisfaction with overall sex life          
 Satisfied246 (57)210 (50)209 (55)183 (48)249 (64)184 (48)171 (42)249 (61)1,097 (55)604 (50)
 Neutral48 (11)90 (22)83 (22)67 (18)46 (12)103 (27)103 (25)80 (20)334 (17)286 (24)
 Dissatisfied134 (31)118 (28)90 (24)132 (35)95 (24)94 (25)130 (32)81 (20)569 (28)305 (26)
 Did not answer question5332714162727259579
Satisfaction with nonsexual relationship*          
 Satisfied319 (85)285 (82)245 (87)244 (84)277 (81)247 (81)225 (71)309 (831,370 (84)781 (78)
 Neutral22 (6)20 (6)16 (6)18 (6)19 (6)33 (11)36 (11)42 (11)95 (6)111 (11)
 Dissatisfied33 (9)42 (12)20 (7)30 (10)47 (14)26 (8)58 (18)20 (5)172 (10)104 (10)
 Did not answer question375958611459573229119

Tartu reported the lowest frequency of orgasms (as assessed by achieving orgasm ≥half the time) and the lowest satisfaction regarding the timing of orgasm (proportion who were extremely/highly satisfied; Table 5).

Just over half of subjects were satisfied with their sexual relationship, while 83% were satisfied with their nonsexual relationship (Table 5). Satisfaction with nonsexual relationships was independent of age, while the proportion of men satisfied with their sexual relationship was lower in the oldest age decade (43%) compared with the youngest (60%). While most men were satisfied with their nonsexual relationships (71% in Szeged to 87% in Malmo, Table 5), there was greater variability in satisfaction with sexual relationships between centers: 42% in Szeged to 64% in Santiago satisfied and 35% in Manchester and 20% in Tartu dissatisfied (Table 5).

Although men living in transitional centers reported a higher frequency of ED, they were less concerned about it as compared with men in nontransitional centers. In addition, men in transitional centers reported higher levels of orgasm difficulties (66% vs. 75% reporting they achieved orgasm ≥half the time) and lower satisfaction in terms of timing of orgasm. There was no significant difference between transitional and nontransitional centers regarding satisfaction with overall sexual relationship, although a higher proportion of men in transitional centers reported that they were dissatisfied or neutral concerning their nonsexual relationship (Table 5).

Relationship Between Sociodemographic Parameters and ED

Figure 1 shows the association between different sociodemographic parameters and ED. After adjustment for confounding factors, including age, self-reported health, and center, current smoking was a significant risk factor for ED. Employment status played an apparently protective role, while both reported partner's health and satisfaction with sexual relationship were independent risk factors.

image

Figure 1. Adjusted odds ratio (log scale with 95% confidence intervals) for different sociodemographic parameters associated with erectile dysfunction categorizing yes/no parameters as dummy 0/1. Model additionally adjusted for age, center, and self-reported health.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Relationship Between Morbidities and Sexual Function

Figure 2 shows the relationships between CVD, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, LUTS, and depression with sexual function outcomes. Depression was the only factor significantly associated with all sexual function parameters studied. LUTS were associated with ED and orgasm frequency. ED was also influenced by CVD, diabetes, and obesity. Finally, CVD was also a risk factor for the frequency of sexual intercourse.

image

Figure 2. Adjusted odds ratio (log scale with 95% confidence intervals) for different sexual parameters associated with morbidities. Adjusted for age, self-rated general health, center, CVD, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, LUTS, and depression categorizing yes/no parameters as dummy 0/1. CVD = cardiovascular diseases; self-reported heart condition and/or history of stroke, hypertension = self-reported high blood pressure and/or using antihypertensive medication; diabetes = self-reported diabetes and/or using antidiabetic medication; obesity = body mass index ≥30 kg/m2; LUTS = lower-urinary tract symptoms as derived from international prostate symptom score (IPSS bands moderate and severe); depression as derived from Beck's Depression Inventory score ≥mild and/or using antidepressants.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Relationship Between Health/Lifestyle Factors and Health-Related QoL

Figure 3 shows the joint contributions of health and lifestyle factors to low QoL (defined as scoring in the lowest quartile of either the SF-36 physical or mental component). In the entire cohort, CVD, depression, LUTS, obesity, ED, and hypertension were independent predictors of low physical QoL. Depression was the only parameter associated with low mental QoL when the entire cohort was evaluated. When transitional (Lodz, Szeged, Tartu) and nontransitional countries (Florence, Santiago, Manchester, Leuven, Malmo) were considered separately, some major differences were observed. CVD, depression, LUTS, and hypertension were associated with low physical QoL in transitional countries. Similar results were observed in nontransitional centers except for the lack of an association with hypertension and a significant association with obesity. Depression was significantly associated with low mental QoL in both nontransitional and transitional countries; LUTS were associated with low mental QoL in transitional countries only.

image

Figure 3. Association between SF-36 component scores and predictors. Adjusted (age, age left education, smoking and other covariates, categorizing yes/no parameters as dummy 0/1) odds ratio (log scale with 95% confidence intervals) of being in the lowest quartile of SF-36 physical (upper line) and mental (lower line) component summary score, estimated in the entire cohort and separately for European Male Ageing Study region. CVD = cardiovascular diseases: self-reported heart condition and/or history of stroke, hypertension = self-reported high blood pressure and/or using antihypertensive medication; diabetes = self-reported diabetes and/or using antidiabetic medication; obesity = body mass index ≥30 kg/m2; LUTS = lower-urinary tract symptoms as derived from internal prostate symptom score (IPSS bands moderate and severe); depression as derived from Beck's Depression Inventory score ≥mild and/or using antidepressants.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

EMAS is the largest multicenter, population-based study of aging in European men which has allowed us to systematically analyze, for the first time, different aspects of both general and sexual health by standardized methodologies across eight European centers. In addition, we investigated the association of general and sexual health with a subjective measure of QoL. One of the main strengths of the study is that the participating centers were from different regions of Europe, including transitional countries, thus allowing comparisons between regions with different socioeconomic and geopolitical backgrounds. In particular, in transitional countries, the collapse of previous political systems and the lack of economic resources have resulted in a rapid deterioration of population health due to limited access to health care, growing inequity, increasing medication costs, and cutbacks in preventive care [2–7,15]. Accordingly, Jagger et al. [5] demonstrated that both life expectancy and “healthy life years” are lowest in the transitional countries of the European Union, with excess CVD considered as the most important determinant of the life expectancy gap between eastern and western Europe [2,5,8,15,16].

About half of our subjects were overweight (BMI between 25 and 30) and more than 50% of them reported one or more morbidities associated with age. Overall, hypertension, obesity, and heart diseases were the most common conditions with the highest prevalence observed in transitional countries. Smoking, another risk factor for CVD [8], was also more prevalent in transitional countries (25%) than in nontransitional centers (19%). One-third of subjects described their general health as fair/poor with a higher rate in transitional countries. In particular, Szeged showed the highest prevalence of obesity, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, while Lodz and Tartu showed the highest prevalence of heart disease and reported the lowest usage of lipid lowering medications [17].

ED is a worldwide condition whose prevalence has been evaluated in different countries. In 1993, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference defined ED as the persistent inability to achieve and/or maintain a penile erection adequate for satisfactory sexual activity [18]. Different methods used for the definition of ED, however, have been considered as possible confounding factor for study comparisons [19]. So far, only six studies have simultaneously evaluated the prevalence of ED in different regions of the world using standardized methods [20–25]. The overall mean prevalence of ED ranges from 14% [21] to 48% [20] with a higher prevalence found in the United States and in Southeast Asia when compared with Europe [25].

Overall, 30% of subjects reported ED with a higher prevalence in transitional countries. France and Germany are two big European countries not included in the EMAS survey. Interestingly, Giuliano et al. [26], in a study of 1,004 men (aged <40 years) representative of France's population, reported a similar prevalence of ED 31.6%. Conversely, in Germany, in the “Cologne Male Survey,” it was found that among 4,489 men (aged 30–80 years), the prevalence of ED was 19.2% with a steep age-related increase [27].

Organic determinants and, in particular, CVD risk factors have been considered the most important pathogenic factors underlying ED [9–11,25,28–31]. Accordingly, the mean prevalence of ED in transitional countries (36%) was higher than in nontransitional ones (27%). In addition, in our sample, obesity, CVD, diabetes, and smoking represented risk factors for ED even after adjustment for EMAS centers. Interestingly, men in Szeged, reporting the lowest prevalence of ED in transitional countries, also showed a lower prevalence of depression symptoms and a higher employment rate. Hence, other factors (e.g., social, psychological and relational; 28,32), besides organic determinants, may also be important in the pathogenesis of ED, explaining, at least partially, the differences observed among the EMAS centers. Accordingly, we found that the employment rate and perception of partner's health were all independent risk factors for ED. The possibility that different sociocultural backgrounds may determine different reactions to sexual difficulties cannot be excluded. In fact, Perelman et al. [32] reported that attitudes toward ED and behavior relating to the disorder differ among different countries. Accordingly, Chinese and Malaysian men tend to hold their wives responsible for their ED, while Indian men consider ED to be a matter of fate [33].

Lower physical QoL, observed in older subjects, was associated with CVD, depression, LUTS, obesity, ED, and hypertension. Conversely, mental QoL showed no change with aging. Nevertheless, the prevalence of depression was higher in the older age groups. The reasons for this association are probably multifactorial, but poor physical health is considered an important risk factor for depression later in life [34]. EMAS centers in transitional countries, particularly Lodz and Tartu, reported the highest prevalence of depression, the lowest consumption of antidepressant drugs, and the lowest prevalence of healthy subjects. Depressive symptoms in the entire sample, in both transitional and nontransitional countries, were also associated with low mental QoL after adjustment for confounders. Interestingly, the impact of depressive symptoms on mental QoL seems to be higher (HR odds ratio [OR] = 14.9) in nontransitional vs. transitional (HR = 8.48) centers. The reasons for this finding are not clear, but it could be speculated that the severity of various morbidities in transitional countries may render the effect of depression on QoL less relevant.

Low QoL in transitional countries was also associated with LUTS, as previously reported [35,36]. The association between LUTS and the mental QoL in transitional countries deserves more clarification. Overall, 27% of respondents reported moderate-to-severe symptoms. Similar data (29%) were previously reported in the Multinational Survey of the Ageing Male, including only western European centers [20]. However, men from transitional countries in EMAS demonstrated the highest prevalence of severe nocturia (>3 times/night), the lowest use of prostate drugs, and the highest prevalence of prostate surgery. Therefore, differences in the management of LUTS between transitional and nontransitional countries may partly explain this finding.

ED was the only sexual parameter significantly associated with an impairment of physical QoL, although this relationship was not confirmed when transitional and nontransitional countries were considered separately. ED was not associated with the mental component of SF-36. Data regarding the specific contribution of ED to QoL in the general population are scarce [36]. It could be speculated that the severity of different organic morbidities such as CVD and depression (major determinants of ED as well as both the SF-36 physical and mental component scores) could render any independent effect of ED on QoL less obvious.

The frequency of other sexual activities besides erectile function showed some differences. Men in Tartu, who reported poor general health and the highest prevalence of smoking, showed also the lowest prevalence of sexual activities. Conversely, men from Szeged, the most sexually active in the three transitional countries, reported a lower prevalence of heart disease and depression when compared with Lodz and Tartu. However, men from Manchester and Santiago (the least and most sexually active in nontransitional countries, respectively) showed a similar prevalence of concomitant morbidities. Hence, similar to ED, differences in sexual functioning among the EMAS centers cannot be explained by organic determinants, without taking other factors (psychological, relational, or sociocultural) into account.

Although the prevalence of ED is higher in older men, concern about it decreased after the sixth decade as previously reported in other cross-sectional studies [20,37,38]. Interestingly, similar results were recently reported in the “Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status among Men” involving a random sample of 2,213 men evaluated biennially from 1996 to 2004 [39]. Overall, a decline in all of the sexual function domains (erectile function, libido, ejaculatory function, sexual problems, and sexual satisfaction) was reported; however, significantly smaller correlations between changes in the functional domains and changes in sexual satisfaction and problem assessment were observed among older men.

Sexual activity is lower in older men and in men with ED. Although in our cohort, about 55% complained of ED in the oldest age group (≥70 years), 49% reported at least one sexual intercourse, 24% masturbation, 58% petting, and 75% thinking about sex in the previous 4 weeks, indicating that normal erections are not a prerequisite for the continuation of sexual activity. Accordingly, Perelman et al. [32] reported that more than 40% of men declared that there are other ways to get sexual gratification that do not require a good erection. A similar prevalence of sexual intercourse was recently reported in Swedish men older than 70 years [40]. Satisfaction with sexual function was found to be an independent risk factor for ED. Half of subjects reported that they were satisfied with their sexual relationship, but this fell to 43% in the ≥70 age group. Conversely, satisfaction with general (nonsexual) relationship was high (more than 80%) and independent of age. In addition, concern about ED and sexual activities was lowest in the oldest age group. Hence, the perception of the importance of ED seems to diminish among the oldest participants, with a significant proportion of men over 70 apparently reconciled to lower levels of sexual activity [37]. Sex remains, however, an important part of elderly people's lives. Overall, men from transitional countries appeared less concerned about ED and more satisfied with their sexual relationships, possibly reflecting attitudinal and/or cultural differences in these societies. Recognizing underlying conditions through ED might be a useful motivation for men to improve their health-related lifestyle choices. The presence of ED, previously considered no more than a frustrating condition, should now be regarded as a unique opportunity to screen for the presence of comorbidities. Hence, ED subjects can be considered in some ways “lucky” because ED offers them a chance to undergo medical examination and, therefore, to improve not only sexual but also, most importantly, overall health [41].

Depression was the only factor significantly associated with low sexual desire, a relationship that has been well documented [42]. However, our findings suggest that sexual desire is maintained in subjects with ED even in the presence of ED-related morbidities. Similar results have been reported in diabetic patients [43].

Overall, about 6% of subjects reported severe orgasmic impairment, closely associated with aging [20,21,37,38]. Depression and LUTS appeared to be the most important determinants after adjustment for confounders including antidepressive drugs [20,42].

Some limitations should be recognized. The EMAS study did not involve some big European countries such as Germany and France. In addition, the study population in each country was not a truly random sample of the entire population, although it permits some comparison between different areas of European areas. The overall response rate for participation in the study was 41% and it is possible that those who took part may have differed with respect to levels of sexual and general health compared with those who declined to participate. Potential effects of such response bias may be to overestimate or underestimate the true prevalence of sexual dysfunctions and comorbidities within the populations sampled. However, nonresponse is unlikely to influence our results on risk factors and interrelationships between sexual and general health, being based on internal comparisons of responders. Self-reported information in population surveys may be subjected to errors of recall; however, any misclassifications were likely to have been random and the effect, if any, would be to reduce the reported associations toward the null rather than produce spurious associations.

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Our data demonstrate that as men become middle-aged and older, they remain sexually active even if sexual dysfunctions associated with comorbidities are more prevalent in older age. In comparison to nontransitional countries, men from the three transitional countries reported the highest prevalence of concomitant morbidities which were associated with a greater impairment of sexual function and lower QoL. Our data also provide new information regarding the complex interrelationships between general and sexual health and overall QoL in aging men. A greater understanding of how these relationships apply to different countries is important in the provision of comprehensive health care for the burgeoning elderly population. In particular, the greater burden and need in transitional countries to develop more effective strategies to promote healthy aging for men is highlighted.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

The EMAS is funded by the Commission of the European Communities Fifth Framework Program “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” Grant QLK6-CT-2001-00258. Additional support was also provided by the Arthritis Research Campaign (United Kingdom). The authors wish to thank the men who participated in the eight countries, the research/nursing staff in the eight centers: C. Pott (Manchester), E. Wouters (Leuven), M. Nilsson (Malmö), M. del Mar Fernandez (Santiago de Compostela), M. Jedrzejowska (Lodz), H.-M. Tabo (Tartu), and A. Heredi (Szeged) for their data collection, and C. Moseley (Manchester) for data entry and project coordination.

Conflict of Interest: None.

Statement of Authorship

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Category 1

  • (a)
    Conception and Design
    Gianni Forti; Terence W. O'Neill; Neil Pendleton; Gyorgy Bartfai; Steven Boonen; Felipe F. Casanueva; Joseph D. Finn; Aleksander Giwercman; Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi; Krzysztof Kula; Margus Punab; Alan J. Silman; Dirk Vanderschueren; Frederick C.W. Wu
  • (b)
    Acquisition of Data
    Gianni Forti; Terence W. O'Neill; Gyorgy Bartfai; Steven Boonen; Felipe F. Casanueva; Joseph D. Finn; Aleksander Giwercman; Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi; Krzysztof Kula; Margus Punab; Alan J. Silman; Dirk Vanderschueren; Frederick C.W. Wu
  • (c)
    Analysis and Interpretation of Data
    Giovanni Corona; David M. Lee; Gianni Forti; Daryl B. O'Connor; Mario Maggi; Terence W. O'Neill; Neil Pendleton; Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi; Thang S. Han; Michael E.J. Lean; Frederick C.W. Wu

Category 2

  • (a)
    Drafting the Article
    Giovanni Corona; David M. Lee; Daryl B. O'Connor; Gianni Forti; Mario Maggi; Terence W. O'Neill; Frederick C.W. Wu
  • (b)
    Revising It for Intellectual Content
    Giovanni Corona; David M. Lee; Gianni Forti; Daryl B. O'Connor; Mario Maggi; Terence W. O'Neill; Neil Pendleton; Gyorgy Bartfai; Steven Boonen; Felipe F. Casanueva; Joseph D. Finn; Aleksander Giwercman; Thang S. Han; Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi; Krzysztof Kula; Michael E.J. Lean; Margus Punab; Alan J. Silman; Dirk Vanderschueren; Frederick C.W. Wu

Category 3

  • (a)
    Final Approval of the Completed Article
    Giovanni Corona; David M. Lee; Gianni Forti; Daryl B. O'Connor; Mario Maggi; Terence W. O'Neill; Neil Pendleton; Gyorgy Bartfai; Steven Boonen; Felipe F. Casanueva; Joseph D. Finn; Aleksander Giwercman; Thang S. Han; Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi; Krzysztof Kula; Michael E.J. Lean; Margus Punab; Alan J. Silman; Dirk Vanderschueren; Frederick C.W. Wu

References

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix
  • 1
    Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision. Available at: http://esa.un.org/unpp. (accessed September 21, 2009).
  • 2
    WHO Regional Office for Europe. Atlas of Health in Europe 2nd edition 2008. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/pub (accessed September 21, 2009).
  • 3
    Mathers CD, Sadana R, Salomon JA, Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Healthy life expectancy in 191 countries, 1999. Lancet 2001;357:168591.
  • 4
    Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Alternative projections of mortality and disability by cause 1990–2020: Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet 1997;349:1498504.
  • 5
    Jagger C, Gillies C, Moscone F, Cambois E, Van Oyen H, Nusselder W, Robine JM, EHLEIS Team. Inequalities in healthy life years in the 25 countries of the European Union in 2005: A cross-national meta-regression analysis. Lancet 2008;372:212431.
  • 6
    Lopez AD, Mathers CD, Ezzati M, Jamison DT, Murray CJ. Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: Systematic analysis of population health data. Lancet 2006;367:174757.
  • 7
    Mackenbach JP, Stirbu I, Roskam AJ, Schaap MM, Menvielle G, Leinsalu M, Kunst AE, European Union Working Group on Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health. Socioeconomic inequalities in health in 22 European countries. N Engl J Med 2008;358:246881.
  • 8
    Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ounpuu S, Dans T, Avezum A, Lanas F, McQueen M, Budaj A, Pais P, Varigos J, Lisheng L, INTERHEART Study Investigators. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): Case-control study. Lancet 2004;364:93752.
  • 9
    Montorsi P, Ravagnani PM, Galli S, Salonia A, Briganti A, Werba JP, Montorsi F. Association between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease: Matching the right target with the right test in the right patient. Eur Urol 2006;50:72131.
  • 10
    Mäkinen JI, Perheentupa A, Raitakari OT, Koskenvuo M, Pöllänen P, Mäkinen J, Huhtaniemi I. Sexual symptoms in aging men indicate poor life satisfaction and increased health service consumption. Urology 2007;70:11949.
  • 11
    Jackson G, Rosen RC, Kloner RA, Kostis JB. The second Princeton consensus on sexual dysfunction and cardiac risk: New guidelines for sexual medicine. J Sex Med 2006;3:2836.
  • 12
    DeRogatis LR, Burnett AL. The epidemiology of sexual dysfunctions. J Sex Med 2008;5:289300.
  • 13
    Lee DM, O'Neill TW, Pye SR, Silman AJ, Finn JD, Pendleton N, Tajar A, Bartfai G, Casanueva F, Forti G, Giwercman A, Huhtaniemi IT, Kula K, Punab M, Boonen S, Vanderschueren D, Wu FC; EMAS study group. The European Male Ageing Study (EMAS): Design, methods and recruitment. Int J Androl 2009;32:1124.
  • 14
    O'Connor DB, Corona G, Forti G, Tajar A, Lee DM, Finn JD, Bartfai G, Boonen S, Casanueva F, Giwercman A, Huhtaniemi IT, Kula K, O'Neill TW, Punab M, Silman AJ, Vanderschueren D, Wu FCW, the EMAS Study Group. Assessment of sexual health in ageing men in Europe: Development and validation of the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS) Sexual Function Questionnaire (EMAS-SFQ). J Sex Med 2008;5:137485.
  • 15
    Fister K, McKee M. Health and health care in transitional Europe. BMJ 2005;331:16970.
  • 16
    Shkolnikov VM, Andreev EM, Jasilionis D, Leinsalu M, Antonova OI, McKee M. The changing relation between education and life expectancy in central and eastern Europe in the 1990s. J Epidemiol Community Health 2006;60:87581.
  • 17
    Gaziano TA, Opie LH, Weinstein MC. Cardiovascular disease prevention with a multidrug regimen in the developing world: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Lancet 2006;368:67986.
  • 18
    NIH Consensus Conference. Impotence. NIH Consensus Development Panel on Impotence. JAMA 1993;270:8390.
  • 19
    Lue TF, Giuliano F, Montorsi F, Rosen RC, Andersson KE, Althof S, Christ G, Hatzichristou D, Hirsch M, Kimoto Y, Lewis R, McKenna K, MacMahon C, Morales A, Mulcahy J, Padma-Nathan H, Pryor J, De Tejada IS, Shabsigh R, Wagner G. Summary of the recommendations on sexual dysfunctions in men. J Sex Med 2004;1:623.
  • 20
    Rosen R, Altwein J, Boyle P, Kirby RS, Lukacs B, Meuleman E, O'Leary MP, Puppo P, Robertson C, Giuliano F. Lower urinary tract symptoms and male sexual dysfunction: The Multinational Survey of the Aging Male (MSAM-7). Eur Urol 2003;44:63749.
  • 21
    Nicolosi A, Moreira ED Jr, ShiraiM, Bin Mohd TambiMI, GlasserDB. Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction in four countries: Cross-national study of the prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction. Urology 2003;61:2016.
  • 22
    Rosen RC, Fisher WA, Eardley I, Niederberger C, Nadel A, Sand M, Men's Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (MALES) Study. The multinational Men's Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (MALES) study: I. Prevalence of erectile dysfunction and related health concerns in the general population. Curr Med Res Opin 2004;20:60717.
  • 23
    Nicolosi A, Laumann EO, Glasser DB, Moreira ED Jr, PaikA, GingellC, Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Investigators' Group. Sexual behavior and sexual dysfunctions after age 40: The global study of sexual attitudes and behaviors. Urology 2004;64:9917.
  • 24
    Shabsigh R, Perelman MA, Lockhart DC, Lue TF, Broderick GA. Health issues of men: Prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction. J Urol 2005;174:6627.
  • 25
    Laumann EO, Nicolosi A, Glasser DB, Paik A, Gingell C, Moreira E, Wang T; GSSAB Investigators' Group. Sexual problems among women and men aged 40–80 y: Prevalence and correlates identified in the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. Int J Impot Res 2005;17:3957.
  • 26
    Giuliano F, Chevret-Measson M, Tsatsaris A, Reitz C, Murino M, Thonneau P. Prevalence of erectile dysfunction in France: Results of an epidemiological survey of a representative sample of 1004 men. Eur Urol 2002;42:3829.
  • 27
    Braun M, Wassmer G, Klotz T, Reifenrath B, Mathers M, Engelmann U. Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction: Results of the “Cologne Male Survey.” Int J Impot Res 2000;12:30511.
  • 28
    Petrone L, Mannucci E, Corona G, Bartolini M, Forti G, Giommi R, Maggi M. Structured Interview on Erectile Dysfunction (SIEDY©): A new, multi-dimensional instrument for quantification of pathogenetic issues on erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 2003;15:21020.
  • 29
    Laumann EO, Waite LJ. Sexual dysfunction among older adults: Prevalence and risk factors from a nationally representative U.S. probability sample of men and women 57–85 years of age. J Sex Med 2008;5:230011.
  • 30
    Khoo EM, Tan HM, Low WY. Erectile dysfunction and comorbidities in aging men: An urban cross-sectional study in Malaysia. J Sex Med 2008;5:292534.
  • 31
    Bitzer J, Platano G, Tschudin S, Alder J. Sexual counseling in elderly couples. J Sex Med 2008;5:202743.
  • 32
    Perelman M, Shabsigh R, Seftel A, Althof S, Lockhart D. Attitudes of men with erectile dysfunction: A cross-national survey. J Sex Med 2005;2:397406.
  • 33
    Low WY, Wong YL, Zulkifli SN, Tan HM. Malaysian cultural differences in knowledge, attitudes and practices related to erectile dysfunction: Focus group discussions. Int J Impot Res 2002;14:4405.
  • 34
    Ormel J, VonKorff M, Ustun TB, Pini S, Korten A, Oldehinkel T. Common mental disorders and disability across cultures. Results from the WHO Collaborative Study on Psychological Problems in General Health Care. JAMA 1994;272:17418.
  • 35
    Araki I, Tsuchida T, Nomura T, Fukasawa M, Takihana Y, Koyama N, Takeda M. Differential impact of lower urinary tract symptoms on generic and disease-specific quality of life in men and women. Urol Int 2008;81:605.
  • 36
    Althof SE. Quality of life and erectile dysfunction. Urology 2002;59:80310.
  • 37
    Holden CA, McLachlan RI, Pitts M, Cumming R, Wittert G, Agius PA, Handelsman DJ, De Kretser DM. Men in Australia Telephone Survey (MATeS): A national survey of the reproductive health and concerns of middle-aged and older Australian men. Lancet 2005;366:21824.
  • 38
    Lindau ST, Schumm LP, Laumann EO, Levinson W, O'Muircheartaigh CA, Waite LJ. A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2007;357:76274.
  • 39
    Gades NM, Jacobson DJ, McGree ME, St Sauver JL, Lieber MM, Nehra A, Girman CJ, Jacobsen SJ. Longitudinal evaluation of sexual function in a male cohort: The Olmsted County study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status among Men. J Sex Med 2009;6:245566.
  • 40
    Beckman N, Waern M, Gustafson D, Skoog I. Secular trends in self reported sexual activity and satisfaction in Swedish 70 year olds: Cross sectional survey of four populations, 1971–2001. BMJ 2008;337:a279.
  • 41
    Corona G, Forti G, Maggi M. Why can patients with erectile dysfunction be considered lucky? The association with testosterone deficiency and metabolic syndrome. Aging Male 2008;11:1939.
  • 42
    Corona G, Ricca V, Bandini E, Mannucci E, Petrone L, Fisher AD, Lotti F, Balercia G, Faravelli C, Forti G, Maggi M. Association between psychiatric symptoms and erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med 2008;5:45868.
  • 43
    Corona G, Mannucci E, Mansani R, Petrone L, Bartolini M, Giommi R, Forti G, Maggi M. Organic, relational and psychological factors in erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes mellitus. Eur Urol 2004;46:2228.

Appendix

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. Introduction
  4. Aim
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Statement of Authorship
  11. References
  12. Appendix

Appendix A: EMAS Sexual Function Questionnaire (EMAS-SFQ)

Please circle the one response that best describes you IN THE LAST 4 WEEKS.

  • 1
    Please tick one statement that best describes your circumstances.
    • 1
      I have been living with my wife
    • 2
      I have been living with my partner
    • 3
      I have a sexual partner but we did not live together
    • 4
      I do not have a sexual partner
  • 2
    How often did you think about sex? This includes times of just being interested in sex, daydreaming or fantasizing about sex, as well as times when you wanted to have sex.
    • 0
      Not at all
    • 1
      Once in the last month
    • 2
      2–3 times in the last month
    • 3
      Once a week
    • 4
      2–3 times a week
    • 5
      4–6 times a week
    • 6
      Once a day
    • 7
      More than once a day
  • 3
    Are you worried or distressed by your current level of sexual drive/desire?
    • 0
      Not at all worried or distressed
    • 1
      A little bit worried or distressed
    • 2
      Moderately worried or distressed
    • 3
      Very worried or distressed
    • 4
      Extremely worried or distressed
  • 4
    Compared with a year ago, has your sexual drive/desire changed?
    • +2. 
      Increased a lot
    • +1. 
      Increased moderately
    • 0
      Neither increased or decreased
    • −1. 
      Decreased moderately
    • −2. 
      Decreased a lot

If you did NOT have a sexual partner in the last 4 weeks please skip Questions 5 and 6 and go straight to Question 7.

  • 5
    How many times have you attempted sexual intercourse?
    • 0
      Not at all
    • 1
      Once in the last month
    • 2
      2−3 times in the last month
    • 3
      Once a week
    • 4
      2−3 times a week
    • 5
      4−6 times a week
    • 6
      Once a day
    • 7
      More than once a day
  • 6
    Apart from when you attempted sexual intercourse, how frequently did you engage in activities such as kissing, fondling, petting, etc.?
    • 0
      Not at all
    • 1
      Once in the last month
    • 2
      2–3 times in the last month
    • 3
      Once a week
    • 4
      2–3 times a week
    • 5
      4–6 times a week
    • 6
      Once a day
    • 7
      More than once a day
  • 7
    How often did you masturbate?
    • 0
      Not at all
    • 1
      Once in the last month
    • 2
      2–3 times in the last month
    • 3
      Once a week
    • 4
      2–3 times a week
    • 5
      4–6 times a week
    • 6
      Once a day
    • 7
      More than once a day

inline image

It is common for men to experience erectile problems. This may mean that one is not always able to get or keep an erection that is rigid enough for satisfactory activity (including sexual intercourse and masturbation). In the last FOUR weeks:

  • 10
    You are
    • 1
      Always able to keep an erection which would be good enough for sexual intercourse
    • 2
      Usually able to get and keep an erection which would be good enough for sexual intercourse
    • 3
      Sometimes able to get and keep an erection which would be good enough for sexual intercourse
    • 4
      Never able to get and keep an erection which would be good enough for sexual intercourse
  • 11
    Are you worried or distressed by your current ability to have an erection?
    • 0
      Not at all worried or distressed
    • 1
      A little bit worried or distressed
    • 2
      Moderately worried or distressed
    • 3
      Very worried or distressed
    • 4
      Extremely worried or distressed
  • 12
    Compared with a year ago, has your ability to have an erection changed?
    • +2. 
      Increased a lot
    • +1. 
      Increased moderately
    • 0
      Neither increased or decreased
    • −1. 
      Decreased moderately
    • −2. 
      Decreased a lot
  • 13
    When you had sexual stimulation, how often did you have the feeling of orgasm or climax?
    • 0
      No sexual intercourse/masturbation
    • 1
      Almost never/never
    • 2
      A few times (much less than half the time)
    • 3
      Sometimes (about half the time)
    • 4
      Most of the time (much more than half the time)
    • 5
      Almost always/always
  • 14
    Are you worried or distressed by your current orgasmic experience?
    • 0
      Not at all worried or distressed
    • 1
      A little bit worried or distressed
    • 2
      Moderately worried or distressed
    • 3
      Very worried or distressed
    • 4
      Extremely worried or distressed
  • 15
    Compared with a year ago, has the enjoyment of your orgasmic experience changed?
    • +2. 
      Increased a lot
    • +1. 
      Increased moderately
    • 0
      Neither increased or decreased
    • −1. 
      Decreased moderately
    • −2. 
      Decreased a lot
  • 16
    How frequently did you awaken with full erection?
    • 0
      Not at all
    • 1
      Once in the last month
    • 2
      2–3 times in the last month
    • 3
      Once a week
    • 4
      2–3 times a week
    • 5
      4–6 times a week
    • 6
      Once a day
    • 7
      More than once a day
  • 17
    Are you worried or distressed by the frequency of your morning erections?
    • 0
      Not at all worried or distressed
    • 1
      A little bit worried or distressed
    • 2
      Moderately worried or distressed
    • 3
      Very worried or distressed
    • 4
      Extremely worried or distressed
  • 18
    Compared with a year ago, has the frequency of your morning erections changed?
    • +2. 
      Increased a lot
    • +1. 
      Increased moderately
    • 0
      Neither increased or decreased
    • −1. 
      Decreased moderately
    • −2. 
      Decreased a lot
  • 19
    How satisfied have you been with your overall sex life?
    • 0
      Very dissatisfied
    • 1
      Moderately dissatisfied
    • 2
      About equally satisfied and dissatisfied
    • 3
      Moderately satisfied
    • 4
      Very satisfied
  • 20
    How satisfied have you been with your general (non-sexual) relationship with your partner?
    • 1
      Very dissatisfied
    • 2
      Moderately dissatisfied
    • 3
      About equally satisfied and dissatisfied
    • 4
      Moderately satisfied
    • 5
      Very satisfied