The role of testosterone in erectile function is slightly complicated. Though low levels of testosterone may lead to some degree of erectile dysfunction, we know that low testosterone has a more significant impact on the patient's libido, or the desire for sexual activity.
Low testosterone can also lead to significant other side effects, such as weight gain, osteoporosis, decreased energy levels, and an increased risk of cholesterol deposition in the arteries or a process called atherosclerosis.
There are some detrimental effects to have a low testosterone.
There are many causes for people to have low testosterone levels. One of the lab tests that we often check in the workup for erectile dysfunction may actually include testosterone levels. We may additionally check certain things, such as your thyroid function. We may check things like your cholesterol levels and do routine blood work to rule out other abnormalities.
But, testosterone levels are often checked during a workup for erectile dysfunction. If we do diagnose someone with having low testosterone levels, then that patient may actually benefit from testosterone replacement therapy.
Not only can that potentially improve the patient's erectile function, but it can improve their desire for sexual activity which in many cases may be a significant component to that patient's erectile dysfunction.
If you have erectile dysfunction and you are undergoing evaluation and workup, you may ask your physician to check your testosterone levels as part of the routine evaluation.