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Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction: What You Need to Know

<p>Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction: What You Need to Know</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 6 min read

Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual issues facing men today. It has a huge impact on a man’s sex life. Men who suffer from diabetes may face a more complex challenge—managing diabetes while treating ED.

Erectile dysfunction is quite common for men with diabetes, experts say. However, you can avoid becoming a statistic. Erectile dysfunction is defined as “the inability to get and maintain an erection.” Erectile dysfunction is especially prevalent in men who have diabetes. With that in mind, there are a few things you should know. ED is especially common in men with type 2 diabetes. It can result from damaged nerves and poor blood vessels. 

Poor blood sugar can cause these problems. Erectile dysfunction may be linked to a number of other conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. According to experts, diabetes in particular can cause problems, because it can scar the kidneys, resulting in water and salt retention. Over an extended period of time, diabetes causes harm to the small blood vessels. This causes blood vessel walls to become stiff. As a result, you may develop high blood pressure. 

It is very important to control your blood sugar levels, if you have diabetes. It is important to take measures to avoid developing high blood pressure and to ensure you stay healthy. Erectile dysfunction can be troubling for both you and your partner. However, there are a number of steps you can take to get your sex life on the right track. Men with type 2 diabetes are especially prone to developing ED. If you have diabetes and are experiencing symptoms of ED, it is a good idea to seek help.

It may help to talk to a professional if you have diabetes and are experiencing problems with sexual function. Many people are shy to broach this topic, but discussing problems about sexual dysfunction is the best way to develop a treatment plan. He or she may be able to prescribe medication and other treatments for erectile dysfunction. However, it is important to inform your doctor of the problems you are experiencing. Your doctor may also know about alternative treatments that do not involve medication.   

 You may want to ask your doctor what you can do to better manage your diabetes. It may help to improve your blood sugar levels, if possible. Doing so can help you prevent blood vessel and nerve damage. Diabetic nerve damage can actually lead to erectile dysfunction, and may make it difficult to get and maintain an erection. Taking care of these problems can improve your life overall and may make it easier to maintain other aspects of your health.

There are many medications on the market that treat both diabetes and erectile dysfunction. According to WebMD, men with diabetes typically develop erectile dysfunction roughly 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes. As diabetic men age, their chances of developing ED are greater. Men over the age of 50 have a 50 to 60 percent greater chance of developing erectile problems. 

But why exactly do men with diabetes often have erectile problems? According to PubMed, roughly eight million people in the United States have some form of undiagnosed diabetes. This may make it hard to pinpoint the exact cause of erectile dysfunction in men. If you don’t know you have diabetes, you may not consider it a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. The presence of other symptoms could indicate diabetes and consequently, erectile dysfunction.

More research is needed to determine other risk factors that may contribute to the development of diabetes. Both diabetes and ED affect roughly 18 million men, and are becoming increasingly common. This is not a coincidence, experts say. In fact, diabetes and erectile dysfunction are closely linked. Poor blood sugar can permanently wreck sexual function at a young age.

This is why it is so important to pay attention to any symptoms that may pop up. Increased urination and excessive thirst, for example, are classic signs of diabetes. If you leave symptoms like these unchecked, the potential for extreme sexual problems increases. A study conducted in 2007 found that 90 percent of men with ED had diabetes or other risk factors for diabetes. These risk factors include cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. 

Studies also say that screening for diabetes and cardiovascular problems may keep many men from developing erectile dysfunction. Diabetes causes erectile dysfunction in a number of ways. ED is often caused by a reduced blood flow to the penis. Diabetes can also cause nerve problems in the penis, making it difficult for a man to get an erection. Additionally, a lack of sexual stimulation may also be responsible for erectile dysfunction.

Many men may believe that the cause of ED is psychological. However, that is not always the case. High blood sugar may be mostly to blame. Nerve damage is a defining characteristic of high blood sugar, and can cause neuropathy, a type of nerve damage. Nerves in the fingers and toes are the first to be affected, but small arteries are the first to experience nerve damage. Nerve damage eventually makes its way to arteries and blood vessels that deliver blood to the penis. 

The end result of this damage is reduced blood flow to the penis, a problem that causes many sexual issues in men. Without healthy nerves and blood vessels, it may be difficult to obtain an erection and orgasm. You can do a number of things to reduce your risk of diabetes and maintain healthy sexual function. If you find out that you have diabetes, it is a good idea to get your diabetes under control. This means improving your blood sugar. Doing this can reduce your risk of getting nerve damage. 

However, you must act quickly. Contact your doctor immediately, if you notice any symptoms of diabetes or nerve problems. If you have diabetes, it is best to get it under control as soon as possible. This could take time, especially if you’re implementing a healthy diet for the first time. There are a number of things you can do to get your diabetes in control. First off, it is important to eat a healthy diet. Eat whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Whenever possible, avoid refined carbohydrates. 

Simple carbohydrates found in sugary foods can cause your blood sugar to spike. If you are overweight, it may be a good idea to lose weight. Losing seven percent of your overall body weight can significantly reduce your risk of diabetes. Your risk of a diabetes-related complication is decreased when you lose weight. Staying active is another good way to keep diabetes from becoming a problem with sexual function.

According to Healthline, roughly half of all men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will go on to develop erectile dysfunction. However, studies have found that implementing a healthy lifestyle can reduce symptoms of diabetes and can improve your sexual functioning.  To do this, you must eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. 

It also helps to be aware of the risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Experts assert that stress, inactivity, and anxiety are risk factors for ED. Drinking large amounts of alcohol and taking medication for pain or depression can also increase your risk of developing ED. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, medications for high blood pressure and depression can cause erectile dysfunction. Medications for stomach ulcers and acid reflux have the ability to cause ED. If you need to take one of these types of medications, be sure to do your research. Doing so can help you maintain good sexual health.

Having high blood sugar levels for an extended period of time can cause significant sexual problems. Having high cholesterol with diabetes is a risk factor for ED. According to the American Diabetes Association, ED is a “complication of diabetes,” and is one of the most commonly diagnosed diabetes-related issues.   

Sildenafil or Viagra is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for men who have diabetes and erectile dysfunction. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, an excess of blood sugar in blood is one of the primary causes of ED in men with diabetes. Researchers have concluded that one type of simple sugar is largely responsible for erectile dysfunction in diabetic men. Researchers have found that erectile dysfunction in diabetic men is the result of an interrupted enzyme called O-GlcNAc. 

This blood sugar contributes to the development of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes. Worldwide, men with diabetes flood hospitals and seek care for erectile dysfunction resulting from poor blood sugar. While diabetes in diabetic men often goes undiscovered, experts stress the importance of treating diabetes as soon as it is found. One study in Ethiopia used systematic random sampling to collect data on male participants. The results of the study found that roughly 70 percent of participants had some form of erectile dysfunction.    

According to the Wiley Online Library, conditions like diabetes mellitus “are characterized by impaired carbohydrate metabolism. The number of diabetes mellitus cases has increased exponentially in recent years, a fact that has led to a number of new diabetes-related complications. 


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.