fibromyalgia and ed

From Pain to Intimacy

Fibromyalgia and erectile dysfunction (ED) are two conditions that significantly impact quality of life, especially when they intersect. Medicines like Xiaflex are used to treat Peyronie’s disease—a condition that can cause problems with getting or keeping an erection. Erectile dysfunction can be a frustrating and distressing experience for many men. Recognizing the signs of ED and understanding how fibromyalgia can affect sexual health is essential for managing these issues effectively.

Signs and Causes

Erectile dysfunction can manifest in various ways and can indicate underlying health issues or potential risk factors that need attention.

The causes of ED are multifaceted and can be broadly categorized into physical and psychological factors. Physically, common contributors include:

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  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Hypertension.
  • Obesity.
  • Hormonal imbalances (particularly low testosterone levels).

Stress, anxiety, and depression are also significant factors that can interfere with sexual arousal and performance.

Certain medications can also be contributing factors to ED, including but not limited to:

  • Antidepressants.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Prostate drugs.
  • Chemotherapy drugs.
  • Muscle relaxers.

What is Peyronie's Disease?

Peyronie disease is a condition in which fibrous scar tissue forming under the skin of the penis can lead to curved, painful erections. In some cases, it can make the penis shorter while erect. Peyronie disease is relatively common, with experts suggesting that as many as 1 in 10 men in America has it, per the National Library of Medicine.

Treatment Options

Traction Therapy

Traction therapy utilizes an external device to gently stretch your penis and sometimes even bend it in the opposite direction of the curve.


Medications such as Xiaflex can be used to treat Peyronie's disease. It works by breaking down the collagen buildup in the scar tissue, helping to reduce penile curvature and improve symptoms. Other medication options include:

  • Interferon injections.
  • Verapamil injections.
  • Tadalafil.
  • Pentoxifylline.
  • L-arginine.
  • Colchicine.
  • Potassium aminobenzoate.


Surgery is only recommended as an option to treat Peyronie’s disease in especially severe cases, as there can be risks involved. Surgery options include:

  • Shortening the unaffected side of your penis.
  • Making the side of your penis on the inside of the curve longer.
  • Penile implant.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, which researchers believe comes from the way the brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals. Painful sensations are dramatically amplified. It affects about 4 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

Widespread Pain

Fibromyalgia-related pain is often described as a constant dull ache that can last for up to months at a time.


People with fibromyalgia often struggle to sleep, kept awake by their pain. even though they report sleeping for long periods. Many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.

Cognitive Difficulties

“Fibro fog” is a common symptom as a result of frequent pain and lack of sleep, impairing the ability to focus, pay attention or concentrate.

Fibromyalgia and Your Sex Life

People with fibromyalgia also report having issues with their sex lives. Due to the pain, fatigue, and brain fog commonly associated with the disorder, many people simply don’t feel well enough for sex. Some even worry that their fibromyalgia would make sex more painful. Furthermore, some of the medications used to treat fibromyalgia–including Cymbalta, Savella, Paxil or Zoloft–can also lead to a decreased sex drive. A 2023 study found that fibromyalgia patients have a high rate of sexual dysfunction, with 97% of fibromyalgia patients experiencing sexual dysfunction of some sort.

Fibromyalgia's Intersection with Low Testosterone

Men struggling with ED might have lower testosterone levels, which can increase the chance of getting or can contribute to worsening fibromyalgia.

Furthermore, it can be difficult to know if a patient is suffering from low testosterone or fibromyalgia, as the symptoms are incredibly similar. Fatigue, depression, sleep problems, memory and concentration are common symptoms in both disorders.