Jumping from diabetes to erectile dysfunction is not immediately apparent, after all what could blood sugar issues have to do with erectile dysfunction? While there is not always a direct cause and effect relationship between the two disorders, there is definitely a higher risk of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes.
What is erectile dysfunction? ED is the consistent or persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual contact. As you can imagine this is a very upsetting situation, particularly for younger men and their partners. Erectile dysfunction can cause major issues in relationships as the partner often thinks the problem is attraction.
Diabetes Risk Factors
What does all this have to do with diabetes? In order to fully understand the correlation between the two issues, you have to understand bodily functions, especially how nerves and blood vessels are involved. When you wish to move a part of your body, hands, feet, etc… the brain sends a message to the various nerves which control said movement. This same messaging system is used to tell the heart to pump, lungs to inflate and more, which involves autonomic nerves, you do not have to think about breathing and other organ movements. Sexual stimulus also involves these involuntary nerves and responses.
Diabetes can affect both blood flow, via hardening of the arteries and nerve functions. Damaged nerves and restricted blood flow can both have a negative effect on sexual function i.e.… the connection between diabetes and erectile dysfunction. Other facts you should know include but are not limited to:
- Men with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction
- ED in men under 45 is often one of the first indicators of diabetes
- Men with erectile dysfunction and diabetes can expect to suffer ED symptoms 10-15 years sooner than men who do not have both issues.
If you are a male who has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is vitally important to manage the illness to prevent ED and other complications. Peyronies Disease and Impotence do exist, but it’s always better to talk to your physician at the first sign of either erectile dysfunction or diabetes.
If your diabetes has resulted in nerve neuropathy your treatment could include surgical intervention, however your physician will likely want to start with oral medications and other less invasive treatment options. These could include:
- Penile injections
- Oral medication (Viagra)
- Manual penis pump
- Pellets inserted in the urethra
Diabetes and erectile dysfunction may not be readily associated in the minds of most people, but make no mistake there is a definitive link. Diabetes, particularly type 2, should be carefully monitored and treated to prevent premature ED and other complications. If you or a loved one is struggling with diabetes or reluctant to follow a treatment plan, this could be the motivation they need to take better care of themselves. Men particularly associate sexual activity with their masculinity, which is why ED can be so devastating!