A new study, published June 8, 2021, in the International Journal of Impotence Research, has confirmed that renal transplantation improves erectile function in men.

The study, conducted by the Indonesian researchers Dr. Irham Arif Rahman, Dr. Nur Rasyid, Dr. Ponco Birowo, and Dr. Widi Atmoko, also found that renal transplantation increased testosterone levels.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the major global men’s health issues, which is also common in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Renal transplantation does improve the ED problem in some patients, but it persists in nearly 50% of the recipients.

Previous research on the effects of kidney transplantation on ED has presented contradictory findings, but this study has confirmed that renal transplantation improves erectile function as well as testosterone levels.

“We performed a systematic review to summarize the effects of kidney transplantation on ED,” the researchers said. “A systematic literature search was performed across PubMed, Cochrane, and Scopus databases in April 2020. We included all prospective studies that investigated the pre- and post-transplant international index of erectile function (IIEF-5) scores in recipients with ED.”

They explained, “Meta-analysis of IIEF-5 scores showed significant improvements between pre- and post-transplantation. Our findings confirm that renal transplantation improves erectile function. Furthermore, transplantation also increases testosterone level.”

However, the investigators said the evidence is limited due to the small number of studies, stating that further research is required to understand the effects of kidney transplantation on erectile function.

Also called impotence, ED is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex, according to Mayo Clinic. If ED is an ongoing issue, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems.

It is frequently observed in men aged 40 and above. Its prevalence increases with age. Type 2 diabetes, smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and heart disease are the common causes of ED. In ESRD patients, psychogenic factors may also affect erectile function.

Some studies have shown that kidney transplantation improves erectile function by normalizing endocrine, metabolic, and psychological problems in ED patients with ESRD, especially those who are on hemodialysis.

The researchers said significant improvements in IIEF-5 scores post-transplantation were proven statistically in this study; however, further studies are required to investigate the effects of kidney transplantation on ED. The article was originally published in Nature.