Pathogenic mechanisms linking benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction
Glina S, Glina FP. Ther Adv Urol. 2013 Aug;5(4):211-8. doi: 10.1177/1756287213488236.


Instituto H.Ellis, Rua Cincinato Braga, 37 cj 102, Sao Paulo, 01333-011, Brazil.



Erectile dysfunction (ED) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are clinical entities very prevalent in men aged over 50 years. There is evidence that both may have a common pathophysiology.


The objective of this study was to conduct a literature review aiming to show theories and hypotheses that justify a single pathophysiology for ED and LUTS/BPH.


A search in Medline using the keywords of the Medical Subject Headings (MESH) 'erectile dysfunction' and 'lower urinary tract symptoms' in all fields of the database up to 15 December 2012. This search found 198 relevant articles that were analyzed.


The data and articles were divided according to the type of evidence found. There are strong epidemiological data showing that LUTS/BPH is a risk factor for developing ED. Several experimental models demonstrated partial obstruction of the bladder in animals causes voiding disorders as well as a negative impact on erectile function of the operated animals. The increased adrenergic tonus in animals leads to prostate growth and urodynamic conditions similar to those found in men with LUTS and ED. Arteriosclerosis may lead to loss of vesical complacency, urinary tract obstruction and fibrosis of the cavernous bodies. The use of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5i) and/or alpha-adrenergic blockers to treat ED and LUTS/BPH reinforces the hypothesis that, at least in some patients, both clinical pictures may have the same pathophysiology.