Relationship Between Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

Nearly 5-10% of men in the New Orleans area have diabetes and many of these diabetic men will have erectile dysfunction.  Diabetes is known to cause heart problems, kidney disease, arthritis, blindness, and obesity.  There also one other problem associated with diabetes in men and that is erectile dysfunction or impotence.  This article will discuss the relationship between diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

Approximately 50% of men with diabetes will experience erectile dysfunction or difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection.

It’s estimated that 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and about 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to produce or properly use insulin, the hormone that transforms food into energy.

As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood.

How Does Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction

One of the main complications of diabetes is nerve damage, or neuropathy, which can cause a loss of feeling throughout the body, and also affect the bladder and the genital organs.

Another complication of diabetes is damage to the blood vessels, which can affect the flow of blood not only to organs like the heart and kidneys, but also to the penis.

Nerve damage and a lack of blood flow can directly affect a man’s ability to achieve – or sustain – an erection.

Diabetes damages the nerves, as well as impacts the blood vessels that enable blood to flow to the penis and as a result men will have difficulty in the bedroom.

But treatments are available, and, the earlier medical intervention is started, the greater likelihood of success.

Treatment Options For Erectile Dysfunction

Effective options for men with diabetes and erectile dysfunction:

  • ED drugs, such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. These oral medications are initially effective but often prove ineffective after several months or years
  • Pellets of a drug prostaglandin can be inserted into the opening of the penis and can create an erection in 10-15 minutes after insertion of the pellet
  • Vacuum erection devices can be used to create an erection by using the partial vacuum to pull blood into the penis and trap it in place with a thick rubber band at the base of the penis.
  • Medications that are injected directly into the penis with a small needle just prior to sexual intimacy.
  • Penile implants, which are surgically implanted, and may involve rods or a pump.

Lifestyle Changes For Men With Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

Lifestyle changes that can be effective in decreasing the risk of erectile dysfunction in diabetic men include:

  • Quitting tobacco use, which damages blood vessels
  • Reducing blood glucose levels through diet or medications, such as metformin
  • Losing weight
  • Regular exercise

Bottom Line:

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem affecting many men with diabetes.  Help is available.  Men no longer need to suffer the tragedy of the bedroom.

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