Sexual Health in COPD: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ingeborg Farver-Vestergaard*, Yoon Frederiksen, Robert Zachariae, Sandra Rubio-Rask, Anders Løkke

*Corresponding author for this work

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COPD has a profound impact on the lives of patients and their partners, but the influence on physical, psychological and social aspects of sexual health has not been reviewed systematically. Searches for studies of the impact of COPD on sexual health were conducted independently by two authors in the databases of PubMed, PsycINFO, Embases, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus and The Cochrane Library. English-language quantitative and qualitative studies assessing one or more aspects of sexual health in patients diagnosed with COPD were narratively reviewed and, when possible, subjected to meta-analytic evaluation. A total of 31 studies, including 4 qualitative, were included. Twelve studies assessing erectile dysfunction with the International Index of Erectile Function were subjected to meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of erectile dysfunction was 74% (95% CI: 68-80%) in a total of 1187 patients with COPD, compared with 56% (37-73%) in 224 age-matched, non-COPD controls. The sexual health outcomes assessed in the remaining studies varied considerably, compromising the comparability of the results. None of the qualitative studies had sexual health as their primary focus. Compared with non-COPD individuals, erectile dysfunction appears to be more prevalent among patients with COPD, but more studies including non-COPD controls are needed to confirm this finding. In addition, the impact of COPD on other physical, psychological and social aspects of sexual health remains unclear due to the lack of comparable assessment methods and study designs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Pages (from-to)297-315
Publication statusPublished - 14. Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Farver-Vestergaard et al.


  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • gender
  • psychosocial aspects
  • quality of life
  • sexual problems
  • systematic review


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