Getting an erection is a complicated operation. It involves an intricate dance among a variety of body components, including the cardiovascular system, hormones, the nervous system, the brain, emotions and more. Even on a good day, erections are tricky.

As if men didn't have enough problems, it turns out that the thyroid gland, which many men have only vaguely heard of, can also have a major impact on erectile function.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that can have an outsized impact on your life. It produces a variety of hormones that regulate heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure.

For men, however, the list gets longer—and infinitely more annoying. Thyroid disease can cause loss of muscle mass, low sperm count and erectile dysfunction (ED).

If you're a man with thyroid disease, the odds are good you have ED. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &