Frequent urination and erectile dysfunction often occur together. Though researchers have established a link, more information will help experts fully understand how these two conditions relate.

Both conditions can impact a person’s quality of life. However, various treatments and some lifestyle changes can help.

The following article describes frequent urination and ED, including common causes, recommended treatment options, and more.

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According to the American Urological Association, an overactive bladder describes a group of urinary symptoms. The most common symptom is the uncontrollable urge or need to pass urine.

People living with overactive bladder may or may not experience urinary leakage. Other symptoms can include needing to urinate during the night and an increase in how often someone needs to urinate.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a person has difficulty gaining or maintaining an erection. Common symptoms of ED include:

  • inability to achieve an erection
  • inability to keep an erection
  • intermittent inability to achieve or maintain an erection

Several older studies suggest a connection between lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), such as overactive bladder and ED.

A study from 2008 showed overactive bladder could be a risk factor for ED similar to diabetes or hypertension.

In addition, they found that people living with LUTS had overall lower sexual satisfaction, pleasure, and activity rates.

In another study from 2013, researchers also found a significant association between ED and LUTS.

Finally, in a 2021 study, researchers also note an increased likelihood that a person living with ED will experience LUTS or vice versa. They also recommend that doctors evaluate a person for both conditions when they present with either one.

Additional studies will help experts understand the link between the two conditions.

Both frequent urination and ED have several potential causes and risk factors. They also share several common ones, explained below.

Both ED and overactive bladder can result from treatments for other conditions.

For example, some medications can lead to an overactive bladder or ED. Additionally, surgeries for bladder or prostate cancer can cause ED.

Certain health conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), can also cause either condition to occur.

Finally, stress can also cause an overactive bladder or ED. Stress can cause a cyclical effect where a person’s stress level increases and causes the conditions to continue.

Both ED and an overactive bladder can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), some possible complications of ED include:

  • inability to conceive
  • loss of intimacy with a partner and possible strained relationship
  • lowered self-esteem
  • depression or anxiety
  • unsatisfying sex life

People living with an overactive bladder may develop similar complications that affect their emotional health.

A person may also develop some physical complications relating to frequent urination and leakage.

Some possible complications of overactive bladder include:

  • needing to take frequent trips to the bathroom
  • increased stress levels when going out and not being close enough to a bathroom
  • skin irritation if the bladder leaks
  • disruption to sleep and sex life
  • feeling lonely or isolated if fear of leakage keeps someone from socializing

A person can treat both ED and frequent urination, often with a high success rate. Treatments for either can include a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, or surgical procedures.

Some common treatment options for a person living with ED include:

  • making lifestyle changes such as taking regular exercise, limiting alcohol, and quitting smoking if this applies
  • having counseling to address depression, anxiety, or stress
  • taking prescription medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis)
  • working with a doctor to make adjustments to current medications
  • taking injectable medications
  • using urethral suppositories
  • trying a vacuum device to draw blood into the penis
  • having surgery to insert devices to help the penis achieve an erection

A person living with an overactive bladder also has several treatment options available.

They may find the following helpful:

  • doing exercises to strengthen or stretch the bladder
  • avoiding foods that aggravate the bladder
  • avoiding delaying urination
  • keeping a urination journal
  • taking prescription medications, such as antimuscarinics and beta-3 agonists
  • having Botox injections
  • undergoing nerve stimulation
  • considering bladder reconstruction or implanted devices

A person should consult their doctor before making any changes to medications or lifestyle.

Research into bladder conditions, such as frequent urination, and ED is typically non-specific and instead looks at lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).

One 2021 study suggests that bladder symptoms may share a link with ED.

Causes of LUTS can include:

  • obstructions or blockage
  • bladder tumor
  • chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • neurogenic bladder dysfunction
  • urinary stones

A person should consider consulting a doctor if they experience symptoms such as:

  • inability to gain or maintain an erection
  • frequent need to urinate
  • intense urge to urinate
  • decreased sexual satisfaction
  • depression, anxiety, or stress related to the symptoms

Additionally, if a person experiences other symptoms, they should talk with a doctor to rule out underlying health conditions.

Frequent urination and ED share a link, though researchers still do not fully understand the exact connection. However, a person who is living with one condition may more likely develop the other or have both.

Both conditions can cause emotional complications, may have a common cause, and can typically improve with treatment. A person should consult a doctor if they experience symptoms related to either condition.