Many of them are in an age group that shows an increased incidence of cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, or peripheral vascular impairment and adult onset diabetes mellitus. For this reason, complaints of sexual dysfunction may be perfunctorily attributed to associated illnesses or to aging. When assessing complaints of erectile impotence, newer diagnostic methods emphasize the examination of specific physical factors including peripheral autonomic nerve function, adequacy of the genital vascular supply, and hormonal function. Psychologic disturbances such as depression and anxiety may also impair sexual function, but their role may be difficult to separate from the physical effects of associated systemic illnesses. We have undertaken a prospective study to further characterize these complaints and to determine the relative importance of pulmonary impairment vs other occult physical and psychologic factors in the genesis of sexual dysfunction and impotence in males with COPD.
Materials and Methods
Sexual function was evaluated in 20 male subjects with moderate to severe COPD, ages 46 to 69 (mean, 56) years. The subjects were in clinically stable conditions for three weeks prior to the study. Five subjects were self-ref erred for sexual problems; the remaining 15 were volunteers recruited from a pulmonary disease clinic without our prior knowledge of their sexual function. Seventeen subjects were living with wives or female companions, and three lived alone but claimed having sexual contact with female partners. Excluded from the study were persons with obvious history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes tablets Canada mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, moderate to severe hypertension, or excessive alcohol consumption within the preceding five years. All subjects were outpatients at the Oklahoma City Veterans Medical Center and gave informed consent prior to participation in the study protocol.