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

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

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

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 urinate.

People living with an overactive bladder may or may not leak urine. Other symptoms may include the need to urinate during the night and an increase in how often a person needs to urinate.

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

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

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

A study of 2008 show overactive bladder could be a risk factor for erectile dysfunction similar to diabetes or hypertension.

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

In another study of 2013the researchers also found a significant association between ED and LUTS.

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

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

Frequent urination and erectile dysfunction have several potential causes and risk factors. They also share several commonalities, explained below.

Erectile dysfunction and overactive bladder can result from treatments for other conditions.

For example, some medications can cause an overactive bladder or erectile dysfunction. Additionally, surgeries for bladder or prostate cancer may cause ED.

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

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

Erectile dysfunction and an overactive bladder can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.

According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)some possible complications of erectile dysfunction include:

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

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

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

Some possible complications of overactive bladder include:

  • need to make frequent trips to the toilet
  • increased stress levels when you go out and are not close enough to a bathroom
  • skin irritation if the bladder leaks
  • disruption of sleep and sex life
  • feeling lonely or isolated if fear of leaks prevents someone from socializing

A person can treat both erectile dysfunction and frequent urination, often with a high success rate. Treatments for either may include a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, or surgery.

Some common treatment options for someone living with erectile dysfunction include:

  • make lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, limiting your alcohol intake, and quitting smoking, if appropriate
  • get tips for dealing with depression, anxiety or stress
  • taking prescription drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis)
  • work with a doctor to make adjustments to current medications
  • taking injectable medications
  • use urethral suppositories
  • trying a vacuum device to draw blood from 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.

They may find the following useful:

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

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

Research on bladder conditions, such as frequent urination and erectile dysfunction, is generally non-specific and focuses instead on lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).

A 2021 study suggests that bladder symptoms may share a link with erectile dysfunction.

Causes of LUTS can include:

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

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

  • inability to get or keep an erection
  • frequent urination
  • intense urge to urinate
  • decreased sexual satisfaction
  • depression, anxiety or stress related to symptoms

Also, if a person experiences other symptoms, they should speak to a doctor to rule out underlying health issues.

Frequent urination and erectile dysfunction share a link, although researchers still don’t fully understand the exact link. However, a person living with one condition is more likely to develop the other or have both.

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